Voice Search May Put You Out Of Business
Think that voice search is a fad or that all this technology is just voodoo? Well, you may find yourself closing your doors if your competitors embrace it.
Alexa, Google Home and Echo are making their way into homes and help do a number of great things.
However, many of the search capabilities for phones right now are a joke. Try Bixby (Samsung) and see if you don’t want to kill yourself or throw your phone out of the car window.
I get it. Up until now, voice searches are about answering questions rather than actually performing voice commands with a real-world effect.
At this year’s Google I/O conference, Google CEO Sundar Pichai unveiled a brand-new voice assistant, Google Duplex, that introduces a new way to carry out “real-world” tasks over the phone, like booking a hair salon appointment or making reservations at a restaurant.
This new world of search continues to push the boundaries for searching on consumer phones.
The introduction of Google Duplex highlights for me one of the directions Google is headed, namely, the proliferation of tools, algorithms and functionalities designed to improve interactions with local businesses.
When consumers can tell their phones what they want in plain English and have it “Do” something, there will be a revolution and the change will be so fast it will be like the original Wild West of the Internet.
“Hey Google, call the closest Home Depot”. *Phone starts ringing*. When consumers can do this, you will see the current search world burn down.
Your business needs to start optimizing for the first baby steps to make sure you don’t spend half of your operating revenue for the year catching up on the web. But first, let’s take a closer look at why it’s important to get serious about voice search.
Local business searches using voice search are up
Recently performed research that shows that 75 percent of smart speaker owners perform searches for local businesses on a weekly basis, and an astonishing 53 percent say they perform these searches every day.
This frequency of voice search use for local businesses shows just how relevant this technology is to brick-and-mortar locations, but it’s worth noting that elsewhere in the research it’s clear that consumers are using voice search to get information on businesses they’re already aware of, rather than discovering new ones.
Create content for position zero and voice search
Google’s featured snippets (also known as answer boxes) have revolutionized the search experience, allowing Google to position itself between consumer and business website with ease. This is particularly true when it comes to voice search, as assistants answer queries with only the contents of the top, “Position Zero” search results.
Obviously, these positions are search gold and therefore heavily competitive, but for local businesses, they also present an opportunity to truly own a niche.
If you want your local business to appear in position 0, you should research and discover the kinds of low-intent questions users ask Google that doesn’t currently result in a feature snippet appearing and create website content that satisfies those specific questions.
To find these questions, perform keyword research as you normally would, but focus on questions relevant to your audience’s needs.
- Write down topics you can think of that are relevant to your business.
- Next, use a free tool like AnswerThePublic to discover the popular questions searchers ask about these topics.
- Enter every question into Google and note the questions not found in a featured snippet.
What do you do when there are no niche questions that don’t return a featured snippet? Well, it’s time to look at the content the snippets came from and create better content on the same subject!
Many Google featured snippets are incomplete, not 100 percent accurate or relevant. If you make better content and include structured markup that makes it easier for Google to understand and present the content in the correct format, you stand a good chance of hitting that top spot and appearing in voice search results.
Get the tech
In our office, we have 4 Alexa, 3 Echos, and 2 Google Homes, along with about 6 knock-off brands we got from China. I don’t say this to brag. I say this because when the revolution starts, we want to be on the right end of the learning curve and make sure some of our clients who are paying us lots of money to be at the top of the search engines stay there and make the Internet an investment.
We also have some great laughs at ordering lunch with the different platforms!
There’s no point investing time and effort into optimizing your site for a particular technology like voice search without getting your hands dirty and actually using the technology for yourself. You need to understand the consumer mindset before you can act to satisfy it.
It’s not just about downloading a voice assistant to your phone; smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home are experiencing growth.
If you’re optimizing your local business website for voice search, you need to use the tech yourself on a regular basis in order to get the real experience.
Jump In On Google Duplex
Although this isn’t strictly an online tactic, it’s certainly something that’s worth doing as the release of Duplex blows up. Soon your staff, especially those that take bookings and appointments, could be fielding calls from impressively realistically voiced Google assistants, and the better prepared they are for it, the less likely they are to become irked at dealing with a robot, or hang up because they think it is a robo-caller, completely losing you a sale instantly.
For Google Duplex to work in the way it aims to, there needs to be education around what this assistant means for those picking up the phone. When you can, test out using Duplex to call your business and see how your staff respond. Train them on whatever limitations Duplex has and try to ensure they speak in a way that elicits the appropriate response.
Voice Search is Still an Infant
Prominence in voice search is only going to ramp up in competition. In times like these, it’s important to be realistic and focus primarily on what works for you while keeping yourself informed and updated on search trends and technology. The best SEO professionals always keep one eye on future-proofing their websites and content.
Optimizing for voice search is a very steep mountain to climb, and it won’t work for or be needed for every local business. However, I hope I’ve shown above that consumers use voice search for local businesses a great deal, and this use is only going to increase as new technologies like Google Duplex are introduced.
Ultimately, if you or your local business clients have been shrugging off voice search as a fad, it’s time to start taking it seriously.
Want to learn more about SEO and Voice Search? Contact us for a free Strategy Session and we can talk. 813-200-8795.