Apple is usually on top of the future far before anyone else even dreams of it, and such was certainly the case when the company unveiled the Siri app for the iPhone 4S. Siri is the first voice-activated “personal assistant” app available to consumers that serves as more than a novelty. Through it, users are able to ask specific questions covering a wide range of topics, to which Siri scours the web for answers. Everything from finding out the diameter of Neptune to the nearest vegetarian-friendly restaurant can be found by asking Siri.
That is, it can be found without using a search engine.
Current mobile web traffic trends combined with the relative minute use of Siri for searching means that the app is unlikely to divert a significant number of users away from search engines for the foreseeable future. But make no mistake about it, the current stasis of human search habits will change sooner than you think. Mobile web traffic is expected to increase by 400% by the middle of the decade. As more and more mobile-friendly online destinations make their homes in Digital Realty data centers and other remotely accessible networks, Siri will become more sophisticated and similar apps across varying smartphone operating systems will become more prevalent.
The elephant in the room for internet marketers is this: the ease of using personal assistant apps to conduct searches is apparent, and their eventual prevalence is absolute. Slowly but surely, people will start using search engines less and less and AI more and more when trying to find information. Thus, the singular obsession with search engine optimization will fizzle, as search engines themselves cease to be the only way in which people find information online. What then, is the future of Internet marketing?
The truth is that there’s no real way of knowing. But with that said, a few elements of a potential shift in focus from search engines to personal assistant apps are easy to peg: Pay-per-click campaigns will probably lose all their value due to a dramatic drop in online link clicking. Holding favorable online reviews and possessing high ratings will become an essential component for just about every business in operation. Local networking will once again become a top priority for any entity wishing to be found through a search that first and foremost zeros in on geography.
But it won’t be until Internet marketers have a clear understanding of the inner workings of personal assistant app software before new “Siri optimizing” strategies can be full implemented. Understanding how a particular app takes specific questions and creates specific answers will be critical when it comes to finding ways for businesses to be found through such services. More likely than not, this will be a defining objective of the latest generation of Internet marketers.