5 Key Components for Building an Omnichannel Search Strategy

/ Thoughtspace - General, Strategy

 

If your search marketing strategy stops at basic Google SEM, you’re missing out on a wealth of opportunity. Paid search is no longer just a straightforward marketing tactic in your media playbook. New technological advancements and shifting consumer behavior are changing the user journey for search.

Sure, Google is a continuously evolving target that requires marketers to dedicate time and energy to evolve with it. But it’s also important to understand the value of leaning into search algorithms on social and e-commerce platforms to promote product discovery. 

So, as search marketing becomes both more multidimensional and omnichannel, how can you use it to your brand’s competitive advantage? 

There are five emerging components of search you can leverage to create a future-proof search marketing strategy:

  1. Social Search
  2. E-Commerce Search
  3. Zero-Click Search
  4. Visual Search
  5. Multisearch

#1 – Social Search

If your goal is to reach new audiences in the Gen Z or Millennial demographics, social media is a must-have component of your search strategy. Social media is Gen Z’s favorite channel to learn about new products, per Semrush survey data. In fact, 28% of Gen Z say the primary way they discover new brands and products is through social media ads versus the 27% who do so through search engines. Even after initial discovery, social media remains the top channel for additional product/service research among both Gen-Z and Millennials. 

Any social platform with a search bar can be a tool for brand discovery. Tap into the search engine optimization elements of social media by implementing a well-researched keyword strategy on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. Develop keywords to promote product discovery and increase conversions, and play to each platform’s unique algorithms. Explore ways to optimize your content – paid or organic – to match what your consumers are looking for. 

Social Search Tip

Optimize everything – your profile description, shopping pages, captions, closed captioning, hashtags, and location – for key search terms. 

#2 – E-Commerce Search

Although search engine marketing is traditionally viewed as a bottom-funnel, conversion-driving tactic, it’s also an excellent tool for initial discovery. What better way to tap into this potential than optimizing for search on e-commerce and retail sites where there is a shorter purchase cycle? 

A MediaPost article reports that, “Amazon, Google, and eBay have become the top three destinations to search for products in the United States.” In fact, 60% of online product searches start on Amazon alone – more than the total of all search engines. Plus, another 35% of consumers start their searches directly on retailer websites. 

Using these platforms, consumers are more likely than ever to discover a product for the first time and immediately purchase it. That’s the beauty of the speed and convenience of e-commerce today. You can tailor your content on shopping channels to rank for product-focused, transactional search queries and drive quick conversions. 

E-Commerce Search Tip

Use the space available on product and brand pages to include a blend of relevant branded and unbranded keywords. This will defend your footprint against competitors and introduce your brand to in-market consumers. 

#3 – Zero-Click Search

Zero-click search refers to search engine queries that do not result in any clicks to other links. Instead, the user is able to find the information they need in the snippets at the top of the search engine results pages. Zero-click search accounts for 25.6% of mobile search queries, per Semrush research. From Google My Business to Rich Answers, brands can provide a wealth of information to consumers without the need for a click, simplifying the user experience.

Google Search Click Thru Rates – Semrush

Let’s address the elephant in the room – losing website traffic sounds like a detriment for brands. So, how do you flip zero-click search to your advantage? Forrester’s 2022 report by Nikhil Lai, Implement Holistic Search Marketing To Win The Search Engine Results Page, states that zero-click search, “challenges marketers who ‘have measured success purely through clicks’ to accurately measure search’s impact, according to Ryan Green, VP of marketing and innovation at Coegi. Without relying on clicks, search practitioners become more like PR directors focused on awareness, visibility, and top-of-funnel strategies.”

So, lean into your content quality. Make sure your technical SEO is optimizing for transactional search queries, and your content and website schema are structured for rich results. If you’re selling a product, you want it to rank in the top Google Shopping results for relevant keywords. Likewise, if you’re trying to rank for informational queries, make sure you have highly useful content on those topics written according to SEO best practices. This will increase your authority and improve your chances of gaining featured snippets. 

Zero-Click Search Tip

Add FAQs on key topics to your website to boost your chances of showing up in Google Rich Answers.  

#4 – Voice Search

Google voice search became available to Android users back in 2012. By 2020, 63% of Americans began using voice assistants in their daily lives – whether it was Siri on iPhones, Cortana on Microsoft devices, Alexa on Amazon Echos, or others (National Public Media, 2020). Today, we are seeing an even greater consumer adoption of connected devices for voice search. This includes hands-free devices like connected cars, voice-activated CTV remotes, and, of course, smart speakers. 

Currently, local search is a leading driver for voice searches beyond basic weather, music, and news queries commonly used with voice assistants. However, the growth of mobile commerce and hands-free search is making voice search a more important player in the search and e-commerce ecosystem. As the technology becomes more responsive and user-friendly, the Internet of Things will help create a wealth of opportunity for more voice search and voice shopping applications. So prepare now – start exploring how to make your content adaptable for voice search and explore connected device integrations. 

Voice Search Tip

The average voice search is 29 words long. Write content in a conversational tone and lean into Q&A formats targeting long-tail keywords. Also lean into broad match terms to allow your keywords to evolve with user queries. 

#5 – Google Multisearch

Multisearch is a new tool from Google allowing mobile app users to search using a combination of text and image. Using this AI-driven technology, users can upload an image and then type an accompanying query into the search bar. A multisearch example Google shares is uploading a picture of a houseplant plus the query “care instructions’.” 

Similarly, you can snap a photo of an item, such as a rug or a sweater, and find it or similar options for sale online. ‘Multisearch near me’ even allows users to snap a photo of an item and then find where it is available nearby. This provides a unique way for local restaurants and brick and mortar retailers to reach new customers via search. Think of the beautiful food pictures you see on Pinterest or Instagram. With multisearch near me, you can upload one of those images and see if a local restaurant has a similar dish to try. 

By layering text and image, multisearch responses can be more relevant to the user, personalized to their wants and needs. Although still a new and evolving tool, it’s clear to see the discovery and commerce potential multisearch offers for brands. 

Multisearch Tip

Develop search content, whether written, video, or image, for humans – not just to appeal to the Google bots. The goal of multisearch is to be as relevant and useful as possible – ensure your content matches these needs. 

Search engines, social media platforms, and e-commerce sites are collectively enhancing what’s possible for search. This means you need to extend both your SEO and SEM strategies to all possible channels in the media mix. To succeed with your search marketing strategy, focus on your audiences’ user journeys and discovery experiences first and foremost, rather than gamification of the SEO system. 

Key Takeaways to Improve Your Search Marketing Strategy: 

  • Think human, while leaning into Google’s emphasis on relevance and usefulness with your content. 
  • Create and structure content for rich results such as images, videos, how-tos, FAQs, charts, and more.
  • Take an omnichannel approach and apply your search strategy to social media channels and digital marketplaces. 

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