Google UK MD Ronan Harris isn’t afraid to make bold claims. He says that everything starts with search. When you consider the proliferation of mobile search, the growing trend for voice search, the rise of micro-moments and the fact that Google handles an average of 65,453 searches per second (according to Internet Live Stats’ real-time data) it’s hard to argue with that statement.
For businesses large and small this makes getting the basics right incredibly important. Whether you’re targeting a millennial shopper with a fashion line, a gym-goer with a nutrition product, a family with a new house purchase or a decision maker with a major software investment, those big and little decisions all start with a search engine. With Net Market Share data giving it a 74.52% market share, that search engine is invariably Google.
The pressure is on for your brand to be there at the time of search and help those search users get from A to B with the least amount of friction possible. Harris says, “…it’s important to remember that consumers’ expectations have risen sharply. They expect the information they’re looking for, right then and there. For example, voice command is fast becoming the preferred way to use Search because it delivers faster results. In a recent survey, 75% of people said they search even more now that they can use voice search.”
So what does your brand need to do to ensure that it is showing up in search and meeting those consumer expectations? How can you use search to be there at the key moment?
Invest in great content relative to search queries
To provide an exceptional brand experience, your content should be carefully aligned with search queries. You can find out what people are using at the start of their search journey, before they land on your site, using Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
Great content is a cornerstone of successful SEO and provides new pathways into your site. Match your content with those search queries, answer them fully, be useful, informative and helpful and you can be assured of meeting customer expectations before they even land on your site.
Optimise for voice search
Search is no longer one-dimensional and consumers no longer head to Google from their desktop keyboard. Voice search is fast growing in popularity – according to the 2017 Mary Meeker State of the Internet report, 20% of all mobile searches are now conducted with voice and this is expected to increase further this year thanks to the proliferation of devices and tools such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, Siri and Alexa.
Understanding why consumers choose to use voice search will help you to live up to those expectations:
- 61% of users use voice search for convenience – particular when driving or when hands and eyes are required elsewhere
- 30% use voice rather than text search because they think it’s faster
- 24% of users opt for voice because it’s easier than typing on certain devices
- 22% favour it because it’s fun
- For 12% of users, it’s less confusing
Voice search satisfies four key consumer needs:
- To source local information
- General information
- Its function as a personal assistant
Think mobile first
The majority of consumers now turn to a mobile device when they want to search for something. That means your brand must be prepared and able to offer a mobile-friendly experience – and this begins with search.
Key to meeting customer expectations on mobile is having an accessible, responsive website. Consumers on mobile devices are impatient and the longer your page takes to load, the more likely it is that user will become frustrated and bounce back to the search results to find a more willing and able competitor.
Page load speed is a mobile ranking factor but over and above that, Google’s own research shows it is intrinsic to meeting customer expectations. The search engine says, “…as page load time goes from one second to seven seconds, the probability of a mobile site visitor bouncing increases 113%.”
If you need help meeting customer expectations of your brand through search, or want to improve your search presence, contact us for more information about our SEO and search marketing services.