Why Small Businesses Need to Optimize for Voice Search SEO

Voice search optimization for small business

We’ve come a long way from the rotary phone. With our mobiles, we can text and call anyone from anywhere, but even more revolutionary is the ability to search for real-time business information. You can find store hours, if a new book is in, and even order food with the press of a button. Now, we’re entering a new age of mobile functionality and SEO optimization thanks to voice search.

Small businesses everywhere are starting to add voice search for local SEO to prepare themselves for the near future where 50 percent of all searches on Google will be voice and image searches by 2020, according to ComScore.

People are using voice more every year as leading mobile devices increasingly develop proprietary voice assistants like Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant on Androids. The opportunity voice search SEO optimization provides is incredible for driving traffic to brick-and-mortar stores. Now you know you why Amazon is opening physical stores…

Voice search for local SEO is your best bet to take on Amazon and the big box stores by leveraging mobile voice search to create the most convenient and intuitive user experience that drives foot traffic to your store.

Voice Search SEO Facts:

[caption id="attachment_49073" align="aligncenter" width="613"]voice-search-businesses (source: @PurnaVirji)[/caption]

  • Voice labs found that there were a total of 33 million voice-first devices in circulation
  • In a keynote speech, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that one-fifth of the queries on Google are voice searches
  • Teenagers are savvy users of voice search, but Thrive Analytics found that people in all age groups use mobile personal assistants
  • In 2015, 1.7 million voice-first devices were shipped. In 2016, that number increased to 6.5 million devices. VoiceLabs predicts that in 2017, 24.5 million voice-first devices will be shipped.
  • Google disclosed that “near me” searches have grown more than 130% YoY
  • Recent data from NPR and Edison Research shows that 16% of Americans now own a smart speaker
  • 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, according to BrightLocal

What is Voice Search?

[caption id="attachment_49072" align="aligncenter" width="547"]voice-search-local-seo (source: Moz)[/caption]

“Hey Google, what’s the best Indian restaurant near me?”

Voice search lets you be conversational with your search queries and is contextual with the information your business has included on its Google My Business listing. Location, store details, and business hours is just some of the information Google will quickly crawl to provide the most relevant answer to a user’s search query. The algorithm will also take into account reputation. This is done by accessing your reviews and star in order to provide credibility for voice search long tail optimizations that include keywords like “best.”

Voice search utilizes the full power of artificial intelligence. Algorithms like Google’s RankBrain can identify the nuances in your speech without the user having to rely on “computer language” SEO to find the most relevant answer. Since it’s artificial intelligence, it also becomes smarter with every conversation.

You might optimize your pages to rank for keywords like “hardware store Toronto” or “cheap clothes for sale Toronto” but with voice search, you need to optimize the copy above the fold to be long tail and sound conversational – usually five words or more. They’re also 30 times more likely to be action queries than typed searches, which plays a big role in user intent.

To create the optimal online reputation, here is what the ideal local business should have online:

  • have continually good or quick-growing review ratings
  • regularly get online articles linking to their websites
  • get talked about on social media
  • have listings in town directories

How to Optimize Voice Search for Local SEO

[caption id="attachment_49074" align="aligncenter" width="613"]voice-search-seo (source: BrightLocal)[/caption]

Voice search optimization in 2018 is about including questions and answers to relevant questions about your business. The effectiveness of your voice search depends on how easily Google and Bing can crawl your site so optimizing with rich snippets so it’s in "position zero” on SERP. That way, it’s the obvious answer for voice search both on mobile devices and on at-home devices like Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa.

  1. Structured Data Markup

By applying the correct schemas, search engines can better understand your site and its content. Use Schema.org to find the crucial markups for your site, because beyond keyword optimization, you need to provide search engines with context.

  1. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Page

Your FAQ page can be used for more than a reference for people on your site. Use your FAQ page to drive voice and organic traffic by optimizing with long tail keywords. Tools like answerthepublic.com are great for compiling exact keyword match phrases that you can markup with schema to answer voice search queries. Be sure your answer to each question is one to two sentences long. You may also need to create several pages in order for algorithms crawling for voice search queries to better pull information from your site.

  1. Rich Snippets

Perhaps one of the beneficial aspects of voice search for businesses is that devices like Google Home will actually cite the source of the information they’re pulling. It will even send the user a link to your site on the Google Home app. In order to create a powerful trust factor like being cited in the answer for a voice search query, you must add rich snippets that put your page in position zero on SERP. Optimize long tails to include keywords like “store hours”, “near me”, and “price” so that you can take advantage of a mobile user’s GPS to drive foot traffic.

Mobile Optimization

Most marketers aware that mobile searches have surpassed desktop searches which is why it’s more important than ever to be optimized for mobile. This means compressing images and creating pages that provide a seamless mobile user experience. If a page is too slow to load, a user will bounce and hurt your keyword rankings and lose your snippet in position zero if you drop off the first page of SERP.

You should also keep in mind Google’s E-A-T (stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) core algorithm update back in April 2018. Essentially, it means the credibility of your site is based both on the credentials of the author and the site. Factors that influence your rankings include reviews, education and job experience of the author, and a natural, growing backlink profile. All of which can impact your success in voice search SEO rankings.


If you would like to learn more about what cutting-edge SEO and CRO can do for your small business, then call TechWyse today at 866.208.3095 or contact us here.

It's a competitive market. Contact us to learn how you can stand out from the crowd.

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