Internet of Things (IoT) and SEO

What SEO means in the IoT era

This is a post related to “Internet of Things” and "SEO", the topics for weeks 8 and 9 respectively of the “Digital Marketing” course that I’m currently undertaking at RMIT.

I created this Spotify Playlist for this article, feel free to give it a go while you read the following lines:)

SEO is the acronym for Search Engine Optimisation and a word that probably drives crazy many business managers: “We need to do SEO, we need to do SEO!”. Everybody wants to rank number 1 on Google, but with the high competency that can be found in the wild world of Internet it has been proven to be a challenging goal nowadays. However, the World Wide Web is an evolving space, and being up-to-date with trends and innovations might position yourself ahead of your competitors. In this article I talk about how the Internet of Things (IoT) might impact the SEO world, which can be important to take into consideration in order to stay ahead of the game in this matter.

IoT is changing the way people search

After going through some research on how IoT could affect the Digital Marketing landscape I was surprised to discover that one of the potential impacts could be indeed on SEO strategies. When I thought about it I realised it made complete sense, as search engines focus on providing the most relevant results as a consequence of a user’s input, and these technological innovations are changing the nature of this input: people are starting to search in a different manner.

How do people search?

With the rise of smart assistants such as Google Home or Amazon Echo –which are considered IoT devices–, the amount of voice-search, for instance, is increasing notably. In fact, back in 2014, Andrew Ng (Google Brain’s founder and Baidu’s Chief Scientist at that time) forecasted in this interview that “by 2020, 50% of all searches will be either through speech or images”. Although current data shows that the previous prediction might be a little too optimistic, there’s no doubt that more and more people are getting comfortable with using voice search. For instance, in this report conducted by PwC we can read the following:

  • 65% of 25-49 year olds speak to their voice-enabled devices at least once per day.
  • 61% of 25-64 year olds say they’ll use their voice devices more in the future.
  • 71% of wearable device owners predict they’ll perform more voice searches in the future.

Welcome to the voice revolution!

How will the voice revolution affect the current SEO strategies?

The traditional SEO model is based on keywords: we have been told we have to insert in our website those words that our target audience will likely type on a search engine when they aim to find what we offer. However, think know about how you would ask something to Siri or Alexa. You probably won’t say: “Alexa, 153 AUD in EUR” –this is a kind of query I type quite often during my stay here in Australia– but instead you will say something like “Alexa, how much is 153 Australian Dollars in Euros?”. Therefore, as we can read in this article titled “5 SEO Strategies for an IoT-Driven Future“, the new SEO strategies will likely have to prioritise voice search by focusing not only on keywords but also conversational queries.

Although I believe that it’s a fact that the amount of voice searches will increase in the years to come, to me it’s still uncertain whether this behavioural-shift will have a major impact on the current SEO strategies. For instance, perhaps Google manages to find a way to analyse the conversational queries that the users input in order to obtain the main keywords of the sentence, which would allow to perform the searches pretty much like in the traditional way. However, I think that these potential changes are a good reminder of the importance of keeping ourselves informed on the technological innovations that are taking place, so the new shifts don’t catch us flat-footed. What we learn today might have changed by next week, so we have to be constantly learning. Although it’s certainly a challenge, we should take it as an opportunity to improve.

What do you think about this topic? Do you think that as marketers we should be concerned because of the potential changes in the SEO strategies due to the rise of IoT, or we should actually embrace these changes as they will be beneficial for our customers? Or perhaps you think we shouldn’t worry at all because, as I suggested in the previous paragraph, Google might find a way to eliminate the need to apply changes in our SEO strategies?

~ by Elies Delgado Tamarit

Which kind of search do you think it's more convenient?

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5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Jasmine Beli says:

    Hey Elies, as marketers, i don’t think we should be concerned about SEO strategy changes, we should embrace them and improve upon them to set us aside from other companies who are still doing the same thing. As quickly as technology is changing, companies must realise that they cannot keep doing the same thing year after year, they must adapt to the changes in our world.
    As convenient as it is to search something via voice search, there are still many problems with that because voice recognition is not perfect; it still makes mistakes and doesn’t undertsand or hear something correctly sometimes. I think that typing out a question to Google will always be a popular method of searching for something.

  2. Erin says:

    Very interesting blog with a lot of information! It’s interesting that you mention the voice search, I actually never use it on my phone for google search. I find that google never fully picks up what I say, so I always type my search in. But if it improves , I will use it. I use Siri on my phone sometimes, I find that is generally better and of course it’s very handy! In terms of Seo for voice searches, yes it’s definitely something google will need to improve as the quality of their voice search improve! Great blog!

  3. John says:

    Very interesting article, Elies! I wasn’t aware of this situation. It feels a bit frustrating because after some years learning about SEO techniques, knowing that the current tips and methods might not be effective anymore in the future feels like a “waste of time”. However, I still think that it will take a while until these changes are implemented –if they actually become a reality at some point, as you mention, perhaps Google finds a way to make it easier for marketers to adapt to new trends–.

  4. Victoria says:

    Hey Elies! Very interesting blogpost with some new information I wasn’t aware of before. To be honest, I’ve never really been into voice search before, but I’m curious to see how it will change our lives in the future. I think, as with any groundbreaking technology, it will take some time to get used to it.

    By the way, really cool idea that you can listen to your choice of music while reading 🙂

  5. Vicki says:

    Hey Elies, another really informative post! I think this is a really interesting topic and obviously extremely relevant. As you mention, the conversational aspect of search is going to be the differentiating factor for SEO going forward and I think it is important that marketers and brands remember this. Additionally, as a consumer, I don’t think I’d ask my Google Home or Alexa super complex questions, however asking where the nearest convenience store might be something I would ask. I think this is the element of voice search that marketers need to consider, whether they will be included in the simple questions and how to then improve their ranking or whether what they are marketing is something that that is too complex to be asked in a conversation with a speaker…

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