Google, I need an attorney

At Google’s I/O conference in San Francisco last week, they announced their plans to make internet search a little more conversational. With a little inspiration from Star Trek, Google wants users to search with casual verbal conversation.

Google Senior Vice President Amit Singhal said the search engine of the future will “answer, converse and anticipate.”

The presentations at the conference involved Singhal searching for pizza by asking, “What’s the nearest pizza place?” He then asked follow-up questions such as, “When does it close?” then “What’s its phone number?”

Google Vice President Johanna Wright showed attendees a preview by asking Google to “Show me things to do in Santa Cruz.” The search engine showed pictures, landmarks, and restaurants.

Like most early previews of Google products, this creates more questions than the company is willing to publicly answer. But, based on the examples provided at the conference, here is how your clients are going to find you:

“Google, I need an attorney.”
“I was hit by a cab driver while jogging.”
“Show me lawyers within 5 miles of my location.”

That looks very different from today’s queries which rely on terms such as “pedestrian accident attorney” or “personal injury lawyer” or “San Francisco personal injury lawyer.”

Of course, this will not only change the way people find a lawyer after an accident.

Google will eventually have to serve listings to people that say:

“My autistic child is discriminated against at school.”
“I need bankruptcy options.”
“I have been arrested for DUI and need a lawyer.”
“How do I protect my family from estate taxes?”
“My client breached their contract.”
“A competitor is using our invention.”

And that’s not all. Your website is going to have to be optimized for follow-up queries:
“I need an attorney.”
– “Divorce.”
– – “We own a business and two houses.”
– – – “We have three children.”
– – – – “One is in college, two are in high school.”

Multilevel verbal search is going to completely change keyphrase research and website optimization.

Is your website ready to have a conversation?

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