Historically, SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) have been primarily made up of text based web pages. Google dramatically changed the relevancy of search results with their Page Rank algorithm:

PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites.[2]

Today, voice search queries are 35x times larger than they were in 2008. Comscore predicts that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be done via voice.

Voice search queries are 2 to 3 times longer than text queries.

Most voice search queries tend to be more question oriented using who, what where, when, why and how.

To complicate things a bit more for search result rankings, Gartner predicts that by 2020, 30% of all searches will be done without a screen. Think about that for a second. With Google alone, that would equate to about 1.6 billion voice activated searches per day. If Google is unable to monetize these searches, this could equate to roughly $34.8 billion in lost advertising dollars a year for Google.

Advertising revenue of Google from 2001 to 2018 (in billion U.S. dollars)

Enter the new world of SEO. In the very near future, SEO will be primarily made up of audio, voice and podcast optimized search results. Google is already starting to serve podcasts within their search results. Here is what shows when someone types in Rentbits Rental Talk into Google:

In the future, the questions we will be asking our Google Android, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana and Siri, will yield back personalized results we can only dream about today.

Here is an example from Pacific Content.

“There’s this great episode of You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes, where [Green Bay Packers’ Quarterback] Aaron Rodgers talks with Pete about all sorts of things, including that he tried ‘The Impossible Burger’ and thought it was very tasty.

Pete Holmes and Aaron Rodgers

“Suppose you’re a Packers fan and you asked a smart speaker, ‘How does The Impossible Burger taste?’ What if you actually got Aaron Rodgers telling you what he thinks of The Impossible Burger? Right now most smart speakers have computerized voices, which are getting better and are already much better than they used to be, but hearing it from a voice that you recognize and a personality that you’re familiar with and trust could be a really cool experience.”

The future of search results will be less about how many links your website has but rather the quality of the content you produce. The type of content you produce will matter greatly. Text based production and consumption will never go away but it will soon be surpassed by new types of audio content and the ways we consume this type of content will change dramatically.

Audio production will become much more democratized, allowing anyone to produce high quality audio content for a fraction of the cost today. The way we search for and listen to this content will change dramatically as well. Don’t be surprised if within the next 5–10 years, when you enter into a Starbucks, the audio blaring from the speakers will be personally customized to you. You won’t even have to be wearing any audio devices, the sound will just follow you.

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