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Optimize a Small Business for Local Voice Search

When someone asks for the best florist, cafe, butcher, or accountant, do you want your business to be the answer from a smart speaker device?

Would-be customers are walking and driving around, usually with their smartphones, searching for businesses like yours. With voice search, instead of the traditional approach of typing a query into a search engine, people verbally ask a question on a smartphone, smart device or a computer. 

If you own a small business with a physical location, local voice search engine optimization (SEO) should be an extremely important part of your marketing efforts. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to optimize your content and site so your business will be the one they hear over your competitors.

How People Use Voice Search To Find Local Businesses

Voice search queries are answered by a digital assistant. You can search in your home, in your car, or when you’re on the go. 

What are the things people search for? A lot of voice searches are local. People are using it to find information about businesses close by such as: 

‘Ok Google, where is a mechanic near me?’

‘Hey Siri, where can I get the best pizza slice in New York?’

‘Ok Google, which is the cheapest fuel garage?’

‘Alexa, Is so and so open on Sunday?’ 

“Make an 6PM dinner reservation for…’

How Voice Can Benefit Your Business

If you haven’t yet embraced the idea of voice search, these statistics might convince you that you need to do so soon. According to a Study by Brightlocal:

  • 58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information within the last year.
  • 46% of voice search users look for a local business daily.
  • 27% visit the website of a local business after conducting a voice search.
  • 76% of smart home speaker users conduct local searches at least once a week — with 53% performing daily searches.

These stats reveal how much a local business can gain from featuring in a voice search query. The benefits of optimizing for voice assistants include more site traffic, more foot traffic to your store, and a better chance for conversion and sales. 

325 million people are already searching through the Internet using voice search. How do you attract these people through voice search? 

3 Ways to Optimize Your Local Business For Voice Search

It’s important to understand voice search is another part of the SEO scene. SEO experts point out that smart devices return results that are in the top position in search engine results pages. 

Before we take care of local SEO, you need to make sure you’ve stamped out your local footprint in search engines. 

1. Mark your Territory

Voice assistants scan the web and take any information that’s available to them about a business. The more complete your local listings are, the better chance you will show on local results. 

For example, if someone asks when your business is open, this information should be available to them. What’s more, if you have listed your opening times and someone asks which business like yours is open right now, chances are, the voice assistant will read out your business name.

To show up locally in search engines, be sure that you tend to the following:

  • Make sure your business is listed in local business listings such as Yelp and Apple Maps. Each voice assistant draws its data from different, and sometimes multiple, sources to answer local search queries. Make sure your business is listed in the main directories:
  • Keep your local listings active and updated. That means responding to reviews promptly, upload images and creating Google local posts

Besides claiming your business, you need to optimize your website for local SEO, to ensure maximum visibility. Don’t skip the next steps.

2. Focus on Featured Snippets

When you search for something and Google delivers a full description at the top of the results, that’s the coveted featured snippet. Some people call it ‘position zero’. It’s the answer Google has decided offers the best response to a particular query. 

Hitting this spot is especially important for voice search because devices read out the first result. It’s almost as though they were designed with voice search in mind, as it tends to get pulled out from the featured snippet

How can you win a snippet in the search results?

  • Your content needs to answer the questions your readers ask clear and concisely. Take a look at Answer the Public to find questions or related phrases for your niche and create content that specifically addresses the search term or at least what the intent of a search term is. For instance, your running shoe website might feature content answering: “What are the best running shoes for wet weather?”.
  • If you sell products online, each product page should feature an FAQ section (similar to the Amazon Q&A). 
  • Find what’s missing. Specifically, low intent keywords, the ones that are informational or navigational in nature. Brainstorm the low intent terms that don’t have a featured snippet already and create content to serve the intent of those search terms.

3. Optimize for Mobile 

The majority of voice search is performed on mobile devices. For the best chance of attracting voice search queries, you need a mobile-optimized and responsive website. 

If you aren’t sure how your website fares, free tools like Google Mobile-Friendly Test can help with that. Simply enter your domain to see if your site is optimized for mobile or not.

4. Make Sure Your Site Loads Fast Enough

Speed is another huge factor. If your site doesn’t load fast, you won’t appear in voice search results that rely on immediate real-time results. To make sure your site is fast enough, run it through Web Page Test Speed. This helpful tool will let you know if there are problems with speed on your page and ways to fix them. 

WordPress users can get an extra speed boost through caching plugins such as WP Fastest Cache can take precious milliseconds off yours. 

Roundup

That’s all for how to optimize your website for voice search. Statistic after statistic is showing us that voice search is now another part of SEO. If you don’t move fast, you may be losing customers to competitors who already have optimized content. 

Is your website ready for voice search? How are you planning on adapting your site to voice command compatibility? Share your ideas in the comment section below.

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Isobel Weston avatar

Isobel Weston

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