The Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming an increasingly important and current topic to discuss, equally in our professional and private lives. But what does it mean?
The Internet of Things is a concept describing the technology that enables connectivity between computing devices, digital machines, buildings, even people or other objects, without the need for any human-to-computer interaction. Each of the items in the process are given a unique identifier and the technology transfers data between them seamlessly by analysing, understanding and addressing queries.
For example, there are; Smart Nespresso Machine with capsule stock management and scheduled brews, Smart Johnnie Walker Bottle greeting the recipient and sending personalised messages through an app on your mobile. There are also, Smart Air Quality Monitoring System analysing the quality of the air in your home that helps you link symptoms to the levels of specific allergens!
Although these devices may seem to be mystical and unearthly, they do exist and may be fast becoming part of our everyday lives. With this transformation, the need for brands to be close to customers and help them make their lives easier or more enjoyable is increasing important. Consequentially, SEO is likely to change significantly in the future as well. (Being able to address search queries with answers to questions and constantly returning relevant search results, content quality will be more vital than ever.)
A warning indicator to prepare for this revolution was when Google bought Nest Labs, Inc. (Nest) in 2014 for $3.2 billion, acquiring the technology for the “learning thermostat” and the smoke & CO detector. With this strategic step, Google has officially entered the smart home market. Since this milestone, both Google Home and the competitor, Amazon Echo were launched, speeding up the revolution towards the breakthrough of the internet of things to our everyday lives.
What changes can we expect in SEO?
1. Local SEO will become even more important
This trend has been growing stronger and stronger over the past few years. Since Google came out with the newest Pigeon update, local SEO has gained even more prominence. With the wider use of Google Home and other technologies alike, focusing on location specific keyword optimization will be a critical part of SEO.
If you ask Google Home to make a dinner reservation for you at the nearest restaurant, it will be expected that you will not have to travel extensively to get to the restaurant booked. This can only be achieved if special emphasis is put on location optimization by the nearby restaurant owners.
2. Psychographic data will become even more valuable
The fact that psychographic data is essential for delivering a successful marketing campaign is not new to anyone however, the Internet of Things technology can raise customer profiling to a whole new level. This is done by monitoring and analyzing big data from multiple devices more effectively and enhancing the opportunity to build successful relationships with potential and existing customers.
3. Content marketing will continue to dominate SEO efforts and personalisation will become even more important
As a consequence of being able to gather more psychographic data and gaining a more fine-tuned customer profile, marketing can be made even more segmented and filtered. With the technological advancement, the expectation of customers will also increase. Delivering relevant and personalised content is therefore going to be the key in future.
4. Voice Activated Search will gain momentum
Starting from the Humming Bird algorithm update, released in 2013, Google has been shifting focus from one or two strategically placed keywords to understanding the meaning of phrases, expressions and word strings, subsequently enabling conversational search. Much of this was a preparation for the launch of the recently introduced digital assistants (like Google Home), responding to vocally initiated user queries. As users adapt to the new technology, conversational engagement is predicted to drastically increase in the future.
5. Organic click through rates may fall
The launch of knowledge graphs have already impacted click through rates by showing answers to questions above the organic search results without the need to click through to a single website. Considering that users may be able to get answers to their queries through a conversation with digital home assistants, there will be less need for people to visit websites for information.
6. SERP may transform completely
As alluded to above, future SEO experts will have to focus on being found by IoT searches rather than simply concentrating on the appearance in search engine result pages (SERPs) and generating a click through to the website. Consequently, the SERP may change significantly or may even disappear altogether.
7. Mobile Friendliness and Usability will be key
With the increased need for information readily available whenever and wherever customers require it, mobile friendliness and user-friendly web design will play a key part of the user flow optimization process. Additionally, since the launch of Google’s newest Mobile-first index algorithm update, mobile friendliness is, and will be, essential in order to future proof your SEO strategy.
The exact way in which the Internet of Things will change the SEO industry will only be discovered as the new technology evolves and integrates into our everyday lives. However, since business owners must be pro-active to stay ahead of the competition, and according to Gartner, Inc. the number of connected things in use worldwide will reach 20.8 billion by 2020, the trend is definitely worth watching.