Google Assistant is the latest entry into the search and information voice delivery systems that began with Siri, an Apple invention for voice recognition search that was launched in 2011. Siri has struggled with accuracy, often misunderstanding requests and delivering results that are completely unrelated, creating frustration and amusement. That hasn’t inspired people to rely on Siri, but the ability to interpret requests is getting better, and as it does, the popularity of voice search will grow.
Enter Google Assistant
Google Assistant, while lacking a human name, is poised to go head-to-head with Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa. Using Google assistant, you will be able to order tickets, book a restaurant or get answers to your questions. Google Home, the home-based voice recognition assistant, will have Google assistant built into it and functions the same way as the mobile device, only at the user’s home. That’s just the beginning.
As voice recognition assistants continue to evolve and improve, it’s expected people will be turning to them more and more to get information. While they may not replace screen search, they could become equally important.
It’s anticipated that Google Assistant will be a significant player, as Google can draw on its extensive database for search, and provide results similar to those returned from a screen search. However, there are questions about how the results will be selected and presented. People search differently on the screen and verbally. The verbal searches tend to be more action-oriented, such as making appointments or ordering products, while screen searchers are gathering information and tend to click through to websites.
What does Google Assistant Mean for Businesses?
To prepare your brand and website for Google Assistant, you’ll want to follow the same best practices as you are doing right now.
- Good content.
- Easy to find contact information.
- SEO optimized content, images and video.
It’s clear the Google Assistant will rely on information available about your brand that it finds on your website, so it makes sense to optimize the content and ensure there is plenty of excellent content with keywords and relevance. Since many searches are local, it’s important to have your business up-to-date on Google My Business so it can be located and directions can be delivered.
Consistency in branding across platforms will be crucial, so you want to make sure the information you provide, from your business name to the phone number and address, is identical on all channels.
Since Google Assistant will provide answers verbally instead of directing the user to a website, the initial impact on businesses will be different than it is for a Google website search. However, Google will eventually need to do the same for these search results as it does for the current results that are delivered through your computer or mobile device. There will need to be a way to monetize them.
While much is still unknown about the exact methods and specifics about Google Assistant, businesses can position themselves for best results by making sure their online presence is accurate, consistent and complete. This means not only on Google but, depending on your type of business, on review sites like Yelp or other search engines like Bing. Check your competitors and make sure you have included the features and descriptions of your products and services so you are part of the relevant results in a voice recognition search as well as a screen search.
Being prepared for Google Assistant will also position your business well for screen search and social media promotions, so it’s a win any way you look at it.