Google Allo was officially launched this month, and many of us in the search community are wondering how it’s going to affect search, as you can use @google to search by command or text question right within your conversations with one or a group of people.
With over 150K downloads so far on Android devices, a 4-star rating, and 48 percent in an Android Authority poll saying that they use and love Allo, it’s time to contemplate how it could affect organic and local search.
Optimize For Local Search With Reviews
Using the Google Assistant right in Allo allows you to search for specific results on things you’re interested in, like your travel plans, news, local businesses, and more.
To get a better chance of being shown in search results for local commands (or where people are looking for service), it looks like reviews and distance to certain businesses are King. Many of my attempts to find local services either near me or my metropolitan area always brought up businesses that have more than 4-star reviews (out of 5).
This means that local reviews are more important than ever. Be sure to verify all your profiles on sites like Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and other review sites for your industry.
To learn more about optimizing for local search, check out this podcast I did with Brian Harnish:
Optimize For Voice Commands
You can also search in the Google Assistant conversation (not in the conversations you have with others, that is only through text commands) with voice, like you do with Google Now. Aleh Barysevich does a good job of summarizing how to properly optimize for voice search in apps like Google Now, Siri, and Cortana.
The main point in Aleh’s article that is still applicable to Google Allo is that people search for things differently in voice than they do when typing into their regular search engine. It is much more conversational, while also more focused on keywords at the same time. For instance, a voice command is much more likely to be “Where is a Chinese restaurant near me?” versus a text search that might just be “Chinese food.” This is why it’s important to use conversational keywords in your website content.
To elaborate on the Chinese food example, phrases like “Chinese Buffet in Leawood, Kansas” is going likely do better in text over voice search. Additionally, adding more conversational phrases like “China Star serves Chinese food in Leawood, Overland Park, and Shawnee” may better fit voice searchers’ needs.
Use Rich Snippets
To further elaborate on this, it’s crucial to use rich snippets in your Google Allo SEO efforts. Verve Search has a good overall guide on Microdata and Rich Snippets, and Hall Analysis has a good schema creator tool that’s easy to use. While Rich Snippets aren’t a requirement to good SEO (e.g. you aren’t going to get penalized for not using them), they can help your site’s content get better displayed in search results, which may lead to better Google Allo SEO.
To learn more about what rich snippets you can add to your website, check out schema.org. Once you’ve added it to your site, you can use Google’s free markup verification tool to make sure it is correct. Rich snippets allow you to add additional information that can be displayed in search results, such as menus, reviews, location, hours, and more.
Will AMP Get Preference?
With the news that AMP is now part of organic search results, we can only speculate that Google Allo (a mobile messaging app), will give AMP results preference. AMP results are easier to read because they load faster and have a cleaner interface.
I ran a test on Allo and asked a question I knew would generate me search results: “how to plan the perfect birthday party” after I asked about partying in general (hey, Allo suggested that I should!). Google Allo gave me its top result right in the chat window: a Wikipedia article.
When I clicked on the “search results” option as the next action, it took me to a list of search results. The WikiHow article that was shown in the app was also an AMP article:
Of course, more testing is needed but from using the app, it does look like Allo usually offers AMP articles at the top of their search results when users use Google Assistant.
Optimizing for Google Allo Search is going to be a long road. More time will tell on whether or not Allo is going to become as mainstream as WhatsApp, but for now, focusing on AMP and local SEO can help you get more visibility in user’s mobile searches, no matter what app they are using.
Screenshots taken September 2016.
Featured image created by author on Canva.