By Joe Brown
Creative Director: Media Junkies
In the recently concluded Google I/O, there are two lessons that stood out that I want to share with you. First, Google highlighted the improvement of its machine learning and AI technologies across all its platforms. Second, Google Assistant is now smarter and more useful. How will these affect your processes, business and life? Well, there are changes that might be hard to swallow, so you better get ready and not get caught with your pants down.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Google has been using artificial intelligence for quite a while now in delivering search results. Their engineers, in fact, cannot give you a straight answer on how results come up nowadays. This means that from now on, AI and machine learning will be prominent in everything Google.
If you use AdWords for sales and customer acquisition campaigns, there are AI-driven campaign options for mobile app acquisitions called Universal App Campaigns. These are drivers or installers for both Android and iOS and are easy to set up. If you’re not using AdWords, do not think you can avoid machine learning. According to Google, they are expanding their Cloud platform and will include machine learning tools that can be useful to small businesses. Don’t worry about how much this will cost you because it’s practically negligible. If you want to go for a test drive, Google is offering a promotion where anyone who has a Google account gets a $300 credit for the Cloud platform. Go ahead, take advantage so you can grow together with these changes that are about to come.
Google is now focusing its spotlight on voice search and this will greatly affect how your customers can find you. Voice search is not new. You have probably tinkered with Apple’s Siri, Google’s Home device or Window’s Cortana. When they were newly launched, you would have been fascinated by their novelty but now, they are more than just a high-tech feature on your smart phone. What do I mean by that? It has been predicted that three years from now, 50 percent of Google searches will be will be done by voice. In fact, voice-related commands went up 35 times since the launch of Siri and Google Voice search. Yes, voice search is growing and has the potential to be so much more. Google opened Google Assistant to third-party developers. A voice app called Action was launched and this is just the beginning of changes that are about to happen.
Now, it’s time to consider how you can prepare for these changes. First, know that these changes will not happen overnight and can be an arduous process. But, if you want to get a leg up against your competition, there are things you need to do now.
1. Set up a Google Places page. If you already have one, clean it up. Do not forget that when a customer tries to look you up, the first place he will go to is the Google search box. At present, the Google Places has a prominent position in the search results page. When they do voice search, Google Places could be the only result. What should be in your Google Places page? Get reviews and reply to them. Upload pictures, videos and anything that can get your listing to the top of the search results and chances are, you will be easily found in a voice search.
2. Do a review of your SEO and content. Google issued a warning that we should be cautious of our meta descriptions. Taking the easy SEO route and half-optimising will no longer work. Google’s voice search will rely on how well you craft your content. The days of just winging it is over.
3. Familiarize yourself further with Knowledge Graph. In creating your content, work within the knowledge graph structure.
4. Tinker with the voice assistant and explore what it can do. Search for your product and see what comes up. The results may not be accurate yet but it won’t do you any harm figuring out how voice search results work.
5. Make sure you have Google Analytics in place so you can properly track your data. Keeping track of the changes in your statistics is a good barometer in making changes here and there.
In the time we live now, nothing remains the same for long. Everything is dynamic and subject to change without notice. We must be watchful of these changes so we can adapt to them as they unfold. The strategies that gets you to the top of the search result today may no longer work tomorrow. Do not be complacent in these changing times.