Comic book nerds rejoice: “The Avengers: Endgame” is almost here, meaning you can finally get some closure on this whole Marvel Cinematic Universe thing. Will it provide a satisfying ending and give a proper sendoff to heroes like Thor and Captain America? Personally, anything less than Galactus making a surprise appearance to eat an entire planet – doesn’t matter which one – will be a massive disappointment.
How will you bide your time in the days leading up to this seismic cultural event? May I humbly suggest digging into another installment of the Content Marketing Weekly? It has all the drama and intrigue of the “Dark Phoenix Saga,” only with slightly less cosmic mumbo jumbo.
This week, we’ve got updates on voice search, images and (of course) Google to tide you over until Thanos finally gets his comeuppance.
We’ve heard so many predictions about the inevitable domination of voice search in recent years that it’s almost become white noise. Well, thanks to the widespread popularity of digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, those prognostications may actually come true soon enough.
A new Microsoft survey found that 72 percent of people used a digital assistant to conduct a voice search over the past six months. You could slog your way through the entire report, but luckily, the fine folks over at Search Engine Journal have dug out some of the survey’s most noteworthy gems.
Seeing as Microsoft expects three-quarters of all households to have at least one digital assistant-enabled smart speaker by the end of the year, voice search is poised to hit the big time.
Those kinds of queries are dominated by informational and shopping-related searches:
- 68 percent of people use voice search to find quick facts about a subject.
- 52 percent search for information on specific products.
- 44 percent research products in more depth.
- 31 percent compare different products to one another.
For consumer-focused brands, ignoring voice search could be a potentially devastating mistake, as shoppers take the path of least resistance and simply ask Alexa or Siri or whatever digital assistant crawls out of the woodwork to make their purchases rather than deal with their digital shopping carts themselves.
Here in the U.S., we sometimes take Google’s ubiquity for granted. Apologies to Bing (and to a much lesser extent, DuckDuckGo), but Google clearly dominates the American search engine market. While most people in the U.S. have come to accept that we’re living in Google’s world, the tech giant tends to face a little more resistance on the other side of the Atlantic.
In fact, Google has been the subject of antitrust complaints in the EU in recent years, driving the search engine to take some interesting steps to assuage those concerns and comply with the region’s regulations.
As Search Engine Land contributor Greg Sterling reported, Google has been prompting users in Germany to try taking their queries to other online directories when conducting local searches. Sterling speculates that Google could be trying to comply with antitrust regulations in what may very well be the laziest way possible.
Will Google’s efforts drive competition in the European search engine market? Critics say no. Will it successfully avoid a formal antitrust complaint and the millions of dollars in fines that potentially come with it? Time will tell.
Google’s continued encroachment into the most visible SERP space isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Digital marketers already have to contend with answer boxes, featured snippets, tables and number lists horning in on their valuable SERP real estate, but now they’ll likely see more images crowd that space, pushing search results farther down the page.
According to Search Engine Land, the number of searches returning images in their SERPs has surged in recent weeks, with seoClarity spotting a marked increase from 24 percent to 34 percent between April 12 and April 19.
Other tools recorded similar results, indicating that this could be a concerted effort on Google’s part to include images in more SERPs going forward.
So prepare for SERPs to become even more crowded as Google devotes more space to relevant image search results. And if you want to take advantage of these changes, consider optimizing your own images to rank better in Google search.
To find out more, read the entire story.
And with that we close the books on another edition of the Content Marketing Weekly. Stay tuned for next week’s installment, which will almost assuredly be filled with major Avengers spoilers. Fair warning, people.