At Day 1 of the Google I/O conference yesterday, there was one piece of juicy news that affects our search world bubble. This nugget is the announcement of Google’s voice-based search assistant (and Siri’s newest competitor) Google Now, to be released with the Android OS 4.1 update Jelly Bean for both Android phones and tablets.
Google Now will use voice search on Android mobile phones and tablets and pull local results from Google+ Local pages. With this announcement, Google made a dangerous move that will force brands to devote more resources to Google+ and divert their attention away from alternate social profiles such as Facebook timeline and Yelp.
This was a big retaliatory move against Apple after Apple announced the end of its partnership with Google Maps at WWDC by developing its own in-house Maps functionality in order to increase Apple’s own mobile ad revenue.
As of April 2012, the Android platform had about 50% of the mobile market share, which means that 53 million people could suddenly have access to Google Now if they are able to upgrade to Jelly Bean. That doubles the number of people who may use mobile voice-assisted search instead of the traditional search engine.
How does this affect SEO?
Optimization for Siri was always a little gray because the iPhone pulls results from different sources such as Yelp, Citysearch, Foursquare, Facebook, YellowPages, and more. Because so little is known about Siri’s algorithm, it was easy for so many SEOs to push Siri to the bottom of their strategy lists and focus on other more familiar organic efforts.
On Android devices, we know that Google Now will pull results from their own Google+ pages. This means potentially 53 million users may decrease their use of the traditional search engine to find local results and depend more heavily on the Google+ Local graph. This greatly narrows down the number of social networks that marketers need to worry about. By concentrating on Google+ business pages, we can spend more time employing the SEO best practices that we know and love. This includes adding natural keywords, consistently updating pages with fresh content, uploading interesting photos and videos, keeping the business information current, and sharing your page across social networks, to name a few.
What are you waiting for?
Whether you have a kickbutt team of experts servicing your search needs, or if you’re a small business that heavily depends on local pages – restaurants, bars, retail stores, hotels, personal services – you need to get your butts on Google+ Local now!