Business faces a paradigm shift in search

Business faces a paradigm shift in search
(Image credit: Yext.co.uk)
About the author

Jon Buss is Managing Director, Northern Europe, at Yext

What makes Yext stand out from the competition?

Yext makes it possible for businesses to provide verified answers for consumers seeking accurate information about their brand. There’s a massive paradigm shift going on in the world of search from chaotic results to verified answers, and brands need to prepare themselves for this shift by ensuring their data is available and accurate for consumers to find, right at the moment of intent. They need to be front and center with a single source of truth online and Yext does this for businesses in a way that nobody else can. 

You've said you are seeing a paradigm shift in the world of online search - what do you mean by that?

People are asking for what they want as they perform searches in their quest for specific and relevant answers about companies, products, professionals, locations, and services. As consumers, we are being trained to ask questions in a more conversational way; where we used to search for ‘pizza’, now we are searching for ‘the best gluten free pizza near me open now’. We are starting to search differently, and in this era of misinformation, brand reputations are at stake with what consumers find online. 

Today’s customer journey starts with a question, and consumers expect answers. Yext provides a single source of truth for the facts about a business — like hours, services, locations, professionals, menus, and events — making it possible for a business to provide the right and accurate answer within search for consumers seeking the truth about their brand. 

Businesses choose Yext to drive digital discovery, engagement, and revenue. So when customers search in Google Maps for business hours, in Uber for a drop-off address, or ask Alexa “What time does McDonald’s stop serving breakfast tomorrow?” they find the correct information, direct from the source.

Yext talks about delivering ‘perfect answers everywhere’ – how do you ensure you keep this?

At Yext we’re committed to helping brands reach the right customer at the right time with the right information to incite an action that will likely convert to a sale. When a brand uses the Yext platform, they ensure that their business information is accurate, up to date and available where consumers search. It allows for (near real-time) updates of information from a centralized platform, meaning that when a fact about your business changes, you can update and ensure that the right answers are available to consumers who are searching across platforms. 

By working closely with brands, we help educate and inform about the importance of updating information across all relevant channels, ensuring that there’s a single source of truth online and customers are seeing brand verified answers to their questions as opposed to an answer – which may be inaccurate, wrong or subjective. If a brand’s website isn’t structured to take advantage of the changing search landscape, they cannot provide answers to these questions and their reputation is at stake.

How is technology changing the customer journey for brands online?

Consumer behavior and the customer journey has changed dramatically in recent years. With the rise of voice search, and as search engines begin to offer more sophisticated answers, consumers are being re-trained to search with questions rather than key words. 

For consumers, this means that the customer journey is now a series of questions or searches. People are no longer following a linear path from awareness to consideration to purchase, and often, they will not even land on your brand’s website. Research shows that 73% of high-intent traffic is happening off your website. 

Consumers are turning to their devices to use search engines, websites, blogs, review sites and voice assistants to inform their buying decisions. For brands, this means that if the facts about your business are not structured correctly to be discoverable by search engines, voice assistants and other AI services like chatbots, your business will not be found. 

Can you talk about any of your current partnerships which are helping you enhance this customer journey?

Yext partners with a number of key search platforms, which ensures that Yext clients are able to update their information everywhere consumers search. From traditional online search platforms like Google, Bing and Apple Maps, to voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Siri and Cortana, we work closely with these platforms and applications to ensure that the facts about our clients are up-to-date and structured to be optimized for search. 

What are your priorities for the next 12 months?

We continue to work closely with businesses and help them win in this new era of search, bringing consumers one step closer to brand verified answers everywhere, which deliver true insight and value.

 

Jon Buss is Managing Director, Northern Europe, at Yext.