Back in 2009, Bill Gates spoke at a private event where he said that “The future of search is verbs”. Gates wasn’t referring to the words that people type into search engines but was talking about the why behind it all.
But, before we can delve deeper into why search is so important, we need understand why people search. Let’s get to it.
Why People Search
Many years ago, people strictly searched to find documents, or pages, that contained the words that they searched for. However, this is no longer the case.
Users now search to accomplish tasks, educate, solve problems, and uncover essential information that improves their lives. When a user initiates a search, they’re essentially starting a journey.
This journey is playing an increasingly popular role in search. Whether people search for lyrics to their favorite song, browse dog photos or search to book accommodation – these are all verbs that indicate how the old customer journey has become outdated.
How The Consumer Journey Has Evolved
The modern-day consumer journey no longer depicts the traditional funnel where we have set stages wherein the customer moves from awareness to consideration to purchase. The modern customer journey looks more like a twisty road filled with blind rises.
To accommodate this new model, search has been forced to evolve from words on a page to understanding search intent at every turn. As such, search is no longer just about keywords, but about providing the right content, in the right format, at the right time in the user’s journey to help them accomplish their tasks.
Search is no longer limited to phones and computers. There are a variety of devices, and ways, people can search; from kitchen appliances to smart watches, marketers need to be cognizant of how different devices play a part in enhancing or hindering the user’s search experience.
Why is SEO Important?
In today’s hyper-connected world, SEO has morphed into something far more than tactics, tricks and attempts to reverse-engineer algorithms.
Today’s Search Engine Optimisation focuses on:
SEO is important because it involves not only understanding the searcher, but the competitive landscape as well. It encompasses wearing multiple hats, connecting development, information architecture, user experience, social and content marketing.
SEO attempts to create something that works for both search engines and users.
At the end of the day, search matters because users matter. Although one day we might be overrun by AI, until such a time, we need to solve problems and accomplish tasks – and there will always be some form of search involved in that.