With 77% of all American adults owning a smartphone, and the prediction that voice search will make up 50% of all search by 2020, clearly indicates that the landscape of search is rapidly changing. Businesses need to account for this and prepare for the next wave of disruption: intelligent search.
Search can no longer be defined by keywords and 10 blue links on a search engine results page. Intelligent systems like Google's Knowledge Card and Amazon's Alexa now provide single, direct answers about your company to searching consumers. For example, if a consumer searches for a new car they are now presented with a Knowledge Card that has information like the prices, configurations, and features. Similarly, if someone searches for groceries or banks, the search result returns maps, as Google now assumes people are looking for a place if they search for something present in the physical world.
With over a 130% increase in voice-activated and connected device usage from 2016 to 2017, intelligent search is not something businesses can ignore. Intelligent search is a new network of systems that produce direct answers. Examples of intelligent search systems are voice searches, like Apple's Siri or Amazon's Alexa, Google's Knowledge Card, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Search Engine Land recently reported that 1 in 4 Google searches produce a Knowledge Card. This means that 25% of all Google searches result in intelligent answers. This also means that users are more likely to rely on these intelligent results, rather than clicking through to a business's website to find information about a company or location. A recent Yext analytics study revealed that brick and mortar online listings receive 2.7 times more traction on maps, social media, search engines, and apps than they do on their own websites. These new mechanisms are continuing to evolve and alter the way consumers interact with search results, as well as brands.
Intelligent search may just be taking off, but soon, your brand will also live in other intelligent systems, like self-driving cars from Uber and Tesla, and later down the road in technologies, like drones, sensors, VR, and smart clothing. The emergence of intelligent search and intelligent systems has created and will continue to create an unprecedented level of need for digital knowledge management. You can only imagine the headache it would cause your customers if the answers given to them by these systems about your company are wrong, and worse yet, that inaccurate digital knowledge will reflect poorly on your company — not the search system. Consumers now rely on intelligent services to provide them with relevant results across the digital ecosystem. As the search landscape evolves, a brand's website is becoming less important to consumers, who are becoming more mobile and demand answers immediately.
While enhanced content is critical for SEO, structured data is even more important for intelligent search. Structured data is highly organized information that lives in fixed fields, and includes things like business and category specific attributes, such as gluten free options. These intelligent answers are often informed by snippets of granular data; thus making structured data all the more critical to the way your brand performs in search. Structured data allows search engines and intelligent search services to determine if your company's digital knowledge is relevant to each query. The more structured data you are able to provide the more visible your brand will be in intelligent answers. For example, if you ask Siri "what is a tombstone?" she will pull up the Wikipedia definition showing pictures and describing gravestones, but if you ask her "where is Tombstone?" She pulls up a map pointing you to the city, Tombstone, Arizona. As search becomes more intelligent, intelligent services are fed by structured data and use AI to interpret what you're searching for. In order to appear as a result in intelligent answers, your business needs to provide structured data to match up with your customers' search intent.
As smart as intelligent services are, they are only as good as the data that you put in. Improve your performance in intelligent search, by understanding your business' share of intelligent search and position relative to competitors with Yext Analytics. The Intelligent Search Tracker, Yext's proprietary approach to rank tracking, lets you assess your true impact in today's new age. Yext's competitive intelligence & search tracker makes it possible to measure not only your listings search ranking, but also the control you have over the data consumers see in search results. The competitive intelligence & search tracker allows you to track up to seven keywords, each across up to four query templates, based on the data you store in the Yext Knowledge Graph, like your name and category. Or create custom keywords that represent the traffic you hope to capture. Then, measure your performance across several metrics.