July 10, 2017 ByCheryl Dykstra
The rise of virtual assistants such as Siri, Cortana and
Alexa is changing the game when it comes to local search engine optimization
with one little thing… your voice.
If your business relies on local search traffic, this will
definitely impact your strategy.
What is Voice Search?
Voice search is a growing trend that has really started to
take off with widespread adoption of virtual assistants like Siri, Cortana,
Google Assistant – all of whom perform web searches automatically if they’re
unable to provide an answer natively.
In 2016, conversational AI company MindMeld surveyed
smartphone users in the US, finding that 60%
of users who used voice search had started using it in the last past year –
indicating rising adoption rates. This is backed up by Mary Meeker’s 2016
Internet Trends Report, which found that Google
voice search queries in 2016 are up 35x over 2008, now making up 20%
of searches made with the Google Android app.
Voice search has been refined since its early days. Today,
Google’s word accuracy rate is over 90%.
With its increasing reliability and convenience of being
easy and hands-free, voice search is rising; and your business needs to be
For now, voice search still utilizes the traditional search
channels, though some favor particular sites. For example, Google Assistant
prefers Google search results, Siri uses Bing, and Amazon Echo utilizes Yelp’s database for
local service providers, retail and restaurants, as well as reviews to formulate its responses.
How Does Voice Search
Impact Search Traffic?
More “natural language” searches
The biggest change with traditional searches and voice
searches is how they are formatted.
Traditional typed searches usually include keywords, such as
“Best Buy hours.” Voice searches tend to be full, grammatically correct
sentences, such as “When is Best Buy open on Saturday?”
In fact, Google is currently working to better accommodate
these so-called ‘natural language’ queries. At the Google I/O developer
conference last year, Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed Google Assistant’s
ability to handle follow-up questions without the need to re-state the context.
More mobile searches
Although the functionality exists for desktop voice search,
it doesn’t make as much sense as it does for mobile.
Voice search is best utilized when you need to be
hands-free, which is why Higher Visibility found that over
half (53%) of those that used voice search used it when driving, and
another 21% used it when doing another activity.
More searches with
Along with more mobile searching, people who are utilizing
voice search have also been found to be searching locally more often. In fact,
according to Meeker’s Internet Trends Report 2016, mobile voice-related
searches are 3X
more likely to be local-based than text-based queries.
How to Adjust Your
Marketing Strategy for Voice Search
There are a couple steps you’ll need to take in order to
tailor your local SEO efforts to accommodate voice searches. These include:
1. Target long-tail and natural language
In order to optimize your website for voice search, think of
how someone might phrase questions people may have about your business or
industry and how you can answer them.
Creating an FAQs page is an easy way to optimize for this,
as it both asks and answers the most relevant queries for customers.
2. Optimize for
We know we talk all the time about how important having a
responsive website design is, but seriously… we mean it.
Mobile-friendliness has been a ranking signal since 2015,
but it’s particularly important for businesses who receive local search traffic
from mobile users.
relevancy for local SEO
Beyond any fancy SEO advice, Google needs to know where you
are and that you’re real. To establish relevancy with Google (and other search
engines) here are a few basic musts:
your Google My Business listing. Include long, unique, and
correctly-formatted descriptions that include links to your website. Make sure
to fill it out as much as possible including photos, hours of operation, a
phone number, and a business address that matches your website.
consistent NAP (name, address, phone number) across the web. Use the exact
same business name, phone number, and address as it displays on your website
and Google My Business listing on any listing on the web. It must be exact.
- Work to
gain positive reviews. These reviews not only affect your search rankings,
but also your brand reputation. Both are influential in getting new customers.
If you’re interested in learning more about optimizing your
website and online presence for voice search, call us at (407) 682-2222
for a free consultation with one of our marketing experts.