The search market is constantly changing and evolving. This ranges from new technology changing users behaviour to search engine algorithm updates. These changes are always keeping people on their toes, and for professionals in the marketing industry, the opportunity arises to ensure that their client has the edge over all the other competition on the market. The most recent new search trend has been said to change SEO forever, and this is voice and visual search. Voice and visual search have come to the forefront in industries such as e-commerce. If you take the time to understand these new trends and how they are impacting the way customers are shopping, you can help your clients to use these changes to their advantage.

Voice Search

We first saw speech recognition on mobile devices in 2008 with a voice search app on the iPhone. Since 2008, voice search has increased quite substantially. Using voice search is far quicker than using the usual text-based searches. A benefit of this is that the user can search for something while they are engaging in some other form of activity. As voice search proved to be so popular on mobile devices, smart speakers were the next tech to be released, and they were a hit. First released in 2014, 10% of households now own one. Due to this, voice transactions are currently estimated to be worth approximately £0.2bn. It is thought that by 2022, 50% of households will have a smart speaker. This will then impact how much voice transactions are worth, and it is thought that this will rise to a massive £3.5bn, which is certainly going to benefit the e-commerce sector. How can companies optimise their sites for voice search?

  • Questions – Voice searches usually come in a question format. Your content should be structured to answer specific questions.
  • Featured snippets – These are the first organic result that will appear and will be read by a virtual assistant. This is important for smart speakers as the user will hear the featured snippet.
  • Long-tail keywords- Consumers use conversational language to voice search. Long-tail keywords are more specific phrases and can, therefore, be effective in obtaining a high ranking in voice searches.

Visual Search

Visual search is newer than voice search, and people are still trying to discover the full capabilities of this. However, some of the most popular e-commerce companies such as Amazon and ASOS are already using this new trend and showing how effective it could potentially be. ASOS added a visual search tool in 2017 in the hopes that it would improve its customer experience. This allows users to upload a photo of the item they are looking for, this can be something they found online, and they will be given a variety of similar product. Visual search is a good way for brands to show their customers items that they may not have come by through the traditional filters. Below are three strategies that can be adopted:

  • Assign text to all images – Items should have a descriptive name that provides information to search engines to help them recognise what the image is. Images should also have text that has the relevant keyword to aid search engines.
  • Pinterest – Retailers need a presence on Pinterest if they want a chance of being discovered by buyers through visual search. This is because Pinterest Lens is leading the way when it comes to visual search.
  • Launch an app – If a retailer wants to follow ASOS, they need their own app. Visual search can be incorporated into a native app using an API.

These are just two of the new search trends that can be used to benefit industries such as e-commerce.

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