Localogy 2021: The Evolution of NLP

We speak in natural language. So why do we search in keywords? As AI and voice search continue to develop –driven by Google’s knowledge graph — consumer behavior is shifting with it. This is natural language processing (NLP), the focus of Yext Chief Data Officer Christian Ward’s talk today at Localogy 2021.

Key Takeaways

— People want answers, not links. This principle has been validated in performance data in Google search.

— Search has taught us that we don’t need to do linear customer journeys. You bounce in and out of stages of that traditional linear funnel.

— Google has exploited all of the above-the-fold SERP inventory. It’s gotten very good at keeping you within Google, including transactional functionality.

— There are two search paths – curated search and natural language. The first is more directory-driven. The second is stating a hyper-specific need. The first is essentially Yahoo in 2003… the second is what Google continues to drive towards.

— Google can provide hyper-specific queries… where the most intent happens to be. The endgame is a conversation with a search engine to find local businesses, book, transact, schedule, and invite friends.

— The challenge is that there’s nowhere to insert links in that voice-driven workflow so it’s an innovator’s dilemma for Google.

— Among other things, Yext is attempting to subvert this Google’s hegemony by building knowledge graphs so that searchers will be given snippets from a given business website by searching within that site.

The Evolution of NLP

Smart speakers, smart remotes, in-car assistants have all evolved due to advances in Natural Language Processing (NLP). But what is the role of voice in local commerce and how can businesses leverage the true power of conversation?

Christian Ward
Chief Data Officer, EVP

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