Will there be a search engine in the voice first world of Alexa and Siri ?

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Searching has been evolving over the years, starting with message boards and forums to Google’s magical 10 first page results and now the social era of Twitter and Facebook. But what will be next, and will we search in a voice first world.

As we all know Google wasn’t the first search engine, but it was the one that won, being able to provide us with fast results that we could access without banner ads everywhere or an over-complex UI. You just had to know how to search and write computer compatible search terms to get what you wanted.

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Then search developed on the web and started to understand us and get us the information we wanted fast and easily. We could now move from searching like a robot, we’ve started to ask questions rather than issue commands, and these questions have become longer. Instead of “Pizza restaurant Bournemouth” we started asking in question format “What are good Pizza restaurants in Bournemouth”, this was why the Google search bar got physically longer.

When mobile came along, we had search in our pockets, all the worlds information in our hands, no more losing at the pub quiz. Google’s simplistic style also made loading fast and straightforward. Though as mobile grew our search terms got worse, we got lazy with incorrect spelling and notputtingaspacebetweenwords.

But then Google learnt, being able to understand our mobile typed randomness and poor spelling, prioritising the result to those places nearby by using GPS. More recently we have even since Google extracting the key information from web pages and showing it directly in the search results.

Search was good.

Then voice started to hit the mainstream, with a purely voice experience no screen, no ability to display ten results, a map, images, videos. Just audio, to an audience who have engaged with voice due to being highly busy and have a short attention span.

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If you try and perform an action using Alexa right now and you don’t have a skill for that utterance you say Alexa will advise you a skill that will help.

ONE SKILL — they will present to you a single skill which you can install with a one-word response. If you’re that single skill , that is a game changer.

Discovery in a voice world is different, in the Google search world, you could compete with page rankings with SEO and AdWords. With voice there isn’t space, at RARELY we found reducing a five-word response down to three words resulted in a 50% engagement increase showing how short attention has become.

How to be prepared for voice discovery

1. Brand name, can it be easily spoken?

2. Podcasts, audio advertising is how you can train your audience on engaging with your voice experience.

3. Landgrab, get voice experiences out, tailored to the customer segments you market to, don’t try and cram ten features into one app, focus on short and positive execution.

4. Markets, where are your products/services being used, what is the native tongue, can you speak that language/engage with the culture through audio.

5. Sponsored voice experiences, say your Bournemouth football club, I am not a direct football fan, so they need to find a way to reach me. What if they created a voice tool that tells me the local weather, every month I hear the weather in Bournemouth is 18c brought to you by Bournemouth FC.

Where are you going to start with voice in your brand?