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OK Google - Changing The Face of Search

Google are about to change the way we search forever with the introduction of OK Google – A “conversational search” function that will turn our desktops, mobile and tablets into data and algorithm driven devices that understand the nuances of the human language.

This “Star Trek” like technology is astounding and, as you can see from the video above, will be able to understand the context of your search query and understand follow questions as part of that context.

Amit Singhal, senior VP at Google, explained the way it would work at Google’s I/O Conference recently. Singhal forecast the three primary functions search will need to evolve. In his presentation, he stated search will need to:

  • Answer
  • Converse
  • Anticipate

This new functionality will utilise Google’s knowledge graph, which you would have seen on the right hand side of certain search results; effectively an encyclopaedia that feeds answers to certain queries.

Importantly this function will work across devices through the Chrome browser. So whether you’re on your phone, desktop or tablet you’ll be able to talk to your device to search.

Google will now anticipate your needs

Anyone who uses a device running Android 4.2 or newer will be aware of Google Now – an application that syncs with your Google account across devices prompting the user with reminders and other useful information.

This means my Google Now informs me of the Liverpool results, recommends YouTube videos based on what I’ve search for and shows me the weather in my current location.

What does this mean for SEO?

We’ve been saying this for a while now but SEO is changing. The results you see are different to the results I see and Google Now will further this personalisation of the search results.

Now when I Google the name of a local business from my phone or desktop, whilst logged in to Chrome, Google Now will pop up with a card telling me how far away I am from that business based on my GPS location.

It has never been more important to rank for local terms, with 60%* of users using a search engine to find information on their smartphone before heading to a physical location.

Ranking for these local terms can be done in numerous ways but perhaps the most important is a well optimised Google+ Local presence. This will ensure your business appears for local search queries, the user can get clear directions to your business and, if they’ve got an iPhone or modern Android phone, they’ll get a Google Now Card pop up reminding them to visit you!

As well as G+ there are a number of other local ranking factors such as the number of citations you have across different websites (such as Yell, Groupon, etc), your social media presence and the normal on-page SEO stuff.

This article by Search Engine Watch is a useful resource for local ranking factors (which is where I pinched the lovely graphic above from) but for more help with your SEO please visit our organic search page, or contact us on 0845 456 1022.


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