What does Voice Search mean for you Local Business
6 min read
Local Business Voice Search 2017
Virtual assistants like Alexa, Cortana and of course Siri together with advancements in technology, has led to an uptick in people using voice search while looking for local services in 2017.
For businesses that rely on local search traffic to generate leads and sales, this has important ramifications for their digital marketing strategy.
OK Alexa, Can you tell me some stats on Voice Search in 2017?
Without stats and data it can often be difficult to allocate time and budget to a particular form of digital marketing. So to give you he lowdown on voice search, predictions and stats from current usage. Some of which are worth noting if you have local business.
The Voice Search Stat You Should be Paying Attention too right now!
First off the voice search statistic that is worth paying most attention too. When someone is out and about on their mobile, voice search is 3x more likely to feature local intent, great news! Customer are on your doorstep trying to find services or products locally.
“Mobile voice-related searches are 3X more likely to be local-based than text” via Search Engine Watch
Voice Search Future Predictions
Much has been made about what the future hold for voice search, there are of course skeptics and ambassadors for moving to voice search over text.
“50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020” according to comscore
“About 30% of searches will be done without a screen by 2020.” via Mediapos
Current Voice Search Usage
Nothing matters more than what current voice search usage looks like. You may be wondering if there is any current demand or if being an early pioneer of vice search means you will be biding your time to see the return on your marketing investment.
Google voice search queries in 2016 are up 35x over 2008” according to Google trends via Search Engine Watch
“40% of adults now use voice search once per day” according to comscore
“60% of people using voice search have started in the last year” according to MindMeld.
Why is Voice Search Becoming more Popular?
It’s not hard to see why. Voice searches are fast (we can speak at 150 words per minute, whereas our type rate is only 40 wpm), convenient (instant, hands-free) and becoming reliable… well maybe!
“Humans can speak 150 words per minute vs type 40 words per minute” via Katherine Watier
“42% say that use while driving is a reason for using voice search” Katherine Watier
Voice Search is convenient, hands-free, and an on-the-go alternative to typed mobile and desktop searches. What’s not quite as obvious is how this latest evolution of search will impact local businesses and local SEO.
So how can businesses ensure they aren’t left behind when it comes to local Voice Search?
Voice search is a growing trend that has been on the radars of SEO Agencies for the last few years.
A recent trends report from Mary Meeker’s found that Google voice search queries in 2016 are up 35x from 2008, something to a local business should take not of for sure!
Wondering what you need to know about voice search as a local businesses? Here are a few of the most important ways voice search is changing traditional local search engine optimisation strategies.
The way People are Searching is Changing
Longer Search Queries
The way people type compared to the way the speak is very different. When people search online through type the search query is normally kept quite short. However when someone uses voice search to conduct a search, we tend to use longer more sentence like commands and phrases. Local businesses can take advantage of this shift by optimising their websites for long-tail local search terms that aren’t yet being heavily targeted by any of the competition.
Conversational Style Search Terms
As well as using longer search queries when we talk to a digital assistant instead of typing we also use a more natural language and tone. .
When you come to write content a key way to optimise this should be by writing in a conversational tone of voice and select the kinds of phrases that are most likely to be used when speaking to a personal assistant.
It’s a good idea to look back at the business’ recent analytics to see which natural-sounding keywords are bringing traffic to the website.
Because of Google limiting what you can see in analytics, you’ll also want to look in Google Search Console and consider using other third party tools like SEMrush (A tool we love and use every day at Digital Ethos). This will allow you to figure out what customers are saying when they use voice search and provides a great starting point for developing a strategy to target voice search as it gains popularity in the coming months and years.
People Want Answers Now
One of the most common current uses for voice search is asking informational type questions. Personal Assistants look to replicate search engines by providing the best and most relevant answer to your question.
This is more convenient than making users wade their way through a list of possible answers (unless the search results don’t match the user’s intent, which is another important issue to consider). However, this also makes it harder for businesses to rank in voice search results.
The solution for local businesses to preform well in voice search? Include the question and more specific information that answers questions unique to the business, niche and industry.
Figure out what your customers want to know and build a content strategy around answering those exact questions. Remember the key ingredient, focus long-tail keywords and write in a natural tone of voice.
How to rank your Local Business Website for Voice Search
When Google is deciding to rank your website for voice search there are 3 main ranking factors;
Relevance: Does your website answer the user’s question at great depth and knowledge?
Distance: Mainly used for locality, how close is your businesses location from where the potential customer is?
Prominence: How well does your page rank in organic search? Have you amassed good reviews?
If you consider each of these when optimising your website for voice search in 2017, you will have a higher chance of being presented as a result.
Understanding How Customers use Voice Search to find Local Services
Understand how potential customers are using voice search to find what they are looking for is pivotal.
Before you begin anything, you should completely understand the way in which voice search can be used and how your target audience is using it. This will give you a better insight into how you can optimise your website for their needs and rank in the voice search results.
Be Mobile Friendly First
This has been the case for a couple of years now but your website must be mobile responsive. Having a mobile friendly website is one of the key signals that Google will look out for when ranking your website for local voice searches, as most of these local voice searches will be carried out on a mobile device.
Local On Site Optimisation is a Must
As well as being mobile friendly, your website must also be local search friendly. This means that it is optimised for its location. This can be implemented rather easily by including your location, phine number, opening hours and local directions on the key pages within your website, ready for Google to understand and index.
Consider Key Search Queries, Think like the Best
Think about the queries to add to your page titles. These are the things that you know consumers will be saying into their devices when using voice search. For example “What is the best pizza place in Leicester”. Adding phrases like “The best” will be picked up on by Google and give your website a better chance of being included in voice search results.
It has been reported that websites get 4.8 times more engagement from intelligent searches (including voice search) compared to standard searches so it is well worth considering optimising your website for voice search as more and more people begin to look for local services through voice search.
What’s to come for Local Voice Search?
Local voice search and the strategies for local businesses to rank in these results will continue to evolve as Personal Assistants get smarter and as consumers’ usage and comfort level increases.
In the meantime, let us know what you think will be the biggest adjustment for your local business will be when it comes to targeting voice search in 2017 and the future.