As local SEOs continue to make predictions for changes to local search in 2017, a prevailing theme has been the idea of a single answer to search results as opposed to the traditional list of options. Recently, David Mihm predicted that the critical nature of appearing the first page of Google search results will shift to the need to on position one. Specifically, “if you’re not the first result on Google, you’re invisible.”
However, there has been a false assumption that personal assistants must provide only one answer to questions because an interface with no visual component is incapable of providing a user with a list of options. Yet, most users actually prefer a wide range of results from which they may choose the most agreeable option or one that meets the general consensus of a group of people who are all choosing a location together.
Informal research has demonstrated that most AIs provide a plethora of results for local users. Specifically, all local results provided by Amazon’s Alexa are powered by Yelp and displayed visually in the Alexa app in response to a voice query. Thus, it seems that, for the time being, AI-powered local search will operate in the traditional sense of providing users with a range of relevant options, even when organic search is trending toward a single best answer.