Search is changing thanks to artificial intelligence.
It’s not just that search engines are using AI to categorize and deliver results (though they are).
It’s that the power of AI is making new, better types of search possible.
Location and context are becoming more important, too. We’re searching more on-the-go. We use smartphones to discover results in real-time, just before we act or buy.
Voice search is on the rise, thanks to advancements in AI. Natural language processing helps systems like Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant "understand" what you say. Natural language generation helps them "respond" to your queries.
On top of all this, the usefulness of search is improving.
Says search expert Duane Forrester at Yext:
“If we look at pure search results, AI is deep in the mix, helping to sort the results we do still read. It’s not deciding what makes the cut to be in the answers we get back (yet), but it’s working to sort the order in which we see those results, effectively acting as a filtering layer based on the search engine’s collective knowledge about us.
“Did you visit X website in the last Y number of days? Google’s system knows — and seeks data on whether that visit was positive for you. If it looks to have been a good fit, the AI may decide to push an answer from that same website higher in the stack hoping to replicate your positive experience for others.”
This is all good for consumers. After all, we get even better results tailored to our particular needs, across text and voice.
It will be good for brands, too. They'll show up more often at the right time when consumers look for topics related to their business.
But, brands need to prepare for this future to capture the benefits.
Especially brands that rely on blogging to drive awareness, leads, and sales.
As search moves towards voice, how people discover and consume content is changing.
How to Prepare Your Blog for AI-Powered Search
So how do you make sure you’re creating blog content for this new age of AI-enhanced search? Forrester at Yext says to look at your “content and its context.” He recommends several action steps to prepare your blog for this future.
- Make sure your content is built the right way. It needs to be factual, accurate, and conversational. Says Forrester, “There is a lot of nuance and subtlety here, but this document from Google explains how their Quality Raters are trained to evaluate voice answers, for example. If you want insights into normal organic results, this Google training document helps.”
- Use long-tail, conversational phrases for content keywords. Keyword research isn’t dead. But you’ll want to target more conversational terms. Speaking to a voice assistant is quite different from typing into a search bar. This is why HubSpot recommends a topic cluster approach to SEO. You want to own broad relevant categories around a topic, so you're the go-to result for voice queries.
- Answer lots of questions—even the uncommon ones. This has always been good advice for content creators, but it’s more important than ever now. People talking to voice assistants ask questions of them like they would a person. “Your content should resemble an answer to a question,” says Forrester. “You could even list the question at the beginning to ensure clarity and relevance.”
One thing is clear: If you’re not doing the above, it’s time to start. Artificial intelligence is here. It’s transforming search. And this is all happening faster than expected. To position your brand, big or small, for AI-powered search, now is the time.
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