Hint: It May Not Be Traditional SEO
4 Tips to Get Your Local Business Found on Voice Search
Traditional SEO of loading up keywords in your meta and articles may not cut it if you have a business with a local presence, no matter whether that business is a traditional brick and mortar location, selling product, or even a business that provides services at the customer’s residence or place of business.
I know, you’ve heard a lot of advice about how you need to make sure to put your keywords in your website, and your social media profiles. This is still solid advice (as long as you don’t keyword stuff). But search is changing, and your strategy needs to change with it.
I’ve already shared articles and even some videos about how search is changing, which the fact that you need to make sure your site has some appropriate Calls to Action before delving deeply into keywords, and that you need to consider the customer journey as you’re developing information on your website since Google’s search results are moving towards a more transactional approach.
Another big area of search is also changing, and you need to immediately start taking this into consideration if you have not yet.
That’s voice search.
Latest research shows that about 60% of consumers used voice search to get information on a local business in the past year. Having your online presence set up to take advantage of these search patterns is key.
While these tips also work for businesses with a more national or even global presence, they are critical for businesses that provide services only in their local area.
Tip #1 Optimizing for Voice Search: Online Maps
The first tip for having your business optimized for voice search is to claim your listings on local maps. These should include:
These are the big two for voice search, but you will also want to consider some others, including:
- Bing Maps: https://www.bing.com/maps
- Yelp (used often by Siri): https://www.yelp.com/
- Any others used commonly in your specific niche
Tip #2 Optimizing for Voice Search: Consistent Listings
It’s important to make sure that your information is consistent and cohesive across all of your online platforms.
Your business may have changed hours, or moved into a larger location. These items need to be updated across all of your listings.
Even updates such as changing your logo should be applied consistently across platforms.
I highly recommend that you make a list, in Word or Excel or elsewhere, with a link to each directory where you add your business. This way, you have a quick list you can work through if and when you do need to do updates. (And I recommend you store this list in the cloud! Google Drive can work well.)
This helps in two ways – if someone is searching for your business hours, and they find two conflicting pieces of information, that can be confusing. Also, some of the search engines that pull information from multiple sources may also not know which information is accurate.
Tip #3 Optimizing for Voice Search: Conversational Content
As you are updating your website and working with keywords, you also want to do some editing to make your site more conversational.
For example, if you have a page with FAQs or your shipping information, you may want to change “My Store Shipping Information” to instead include some questions (and answers) more like “Does My Store provide free shipping?”
Think through the types of questions that customers have asked, or may ask, and edit the appropriate website pages to reflect this more natural way of speaking, since voice search uses this more conversational approach versus how we use the keyboard.
I actually have a perfect example of this, a screenshot I pulled from a client’s Google Ad account as we were optimizing their keywords in their account. As you can see, people voice search a bit differently than they type:
Tip #4 Optimizing for Voice Search: Google Guarantee
If you are already using Google Ads and are a local service business, then you definitely want to apply for this program. If you are not using Google Ads, you may still want to consider applying.
The Google Guarantee is for Local Service Ads. This is a Google program that has been around for a few years but that not everyone is aware of.
Businesses that want to become “Google Guaranteed” have to go through a strict screening process by Google including a background check, license and insurance check as well as a screening of reviews and ratings.
You can find out more information at https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/7549288?hl=en.
Have questions about optimizing for voice search? Comment below!