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Is Your Business Ready for Voice Search?

October 30, 2017

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There is no denying that mobile search is taking over. If you’re still debating that point, you can go ahead and start Googling all of the stats. I’ll still be here when you get back. What we’re forgetting though is that, within those device searches, are another growing segment: voice search. From Siri to Alexa to Google Assistant, voice search is becoming a more commonly used function. Here’s what that means for businesses.

Control Your NAP & Beyond

If you’re a local business, you should already be looking at your citations and NAP (Name Address Phone) listings. That’s even more important in a world full of voice search though. Voice searches don’t yield multiple results for a customer to wade through. They yield a single answer and you better make sure that it is the right one. Get inside of your Google Business Manager. Add your company to Bing Places for Business. Double-check everything else inside of a citation service like MOZ Local or Bright Local.

Besides the basic NAP issue, you’re going to want to make sure that your listings and structured data reflect everything that your business represents. Personally, I like to hardcode my own schema to make sure that I take advantage of every single data point that can be placed inside of my website. Making sure to control items like your business hours and multiple contact details is a great place to start.

If you’re a business that gets business through Yelp or a similar service with voice search integrations, make sure that all of your subcategories are filled out. Are you “good for brunch” or pet-friendly? Make sure that you’re listings reflect that.

Stop Looking at Google Only

Do you know why I feel it’s important to get your mind off of the Google-only philosophy? There is no guarantee that Siri sticks with Google this time around and Alexa is still not a Google search user. We know that Google and Apple don’t like to play together that much. While September news showed that Siri will use Google, I will always have my doubts about that partnership. As such, I’ll be looking after Bing and external apps for all of my clients.

My intuition is that Alexa will continue to be a stronger player for in-home searches so, if you’re looking to be featured in a search from home, I would recommend really paying attention to Bing. (Amazon and Microsoft seem to be working on an Alexa/Cortana integration.)

Google has dominated search and is likely to do so for the foreseeable future. I’m not denying that. What I am arguing is that voice search opens A LOT of reasons for widening your gaze.

Answer More Questions

This concept seems both like common sense and completely dumb to write. When you think about it though, this is an especially handy piece of advice if you’re a service provider. (LIKE US) If you’re a service provider, you should seek to answer questions to queries related to your specialty. Are you an accountant? Write and post about specific deductions or policies relating to topics like being able to write off vacations as a travel expense.

For a concrete example, we looked at our own industry. Many people that are told about SEO hear terms from agencies like Page Authority. If they didn’t know anything about Page Authority, they can find the answers. Look who gets a shout-out in the answers. You can’t tell me that being so closely attached to an answer hasn’t helped with Moz’s authority and traffic…and by extension: business.

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When it all comes down to it, our advice boils down to this:

Let everybody know who you are as a business and answer the questions that your customers are likely to ask.