Voice search and local SEO are two of the most important tools you can use in your digital marketing efforts. Millions of people conduct voice searches in the United States alone each day, asking Alexa, Siri, and other voice-activated programs for information. According to Search Engine Watch, there were more than one billion voice searches in the month of January 2018. More importantly, 40% of those were mobile searches with a local purchase intent.
Local SEO is a tactic that promotes your brand within a target area to capture the attention of nearby customers, putting your brand in front of local buyers and (ideally) ahead of the competition in searches. Given the connection between voice search growth and the local intent of voice searches, it’s only natural for the two to work hand in hand in your digital marketing. How exactly do the two go together then?
Mobile Devices Connect the Two
The majority of local searches are conducted on mobile devices, with 18% of those searches converting within a day. If you focus specifically on local mobile searches, there are studies that suggest mobile searches are based on strong local intent. Data suggests that the figure is around 78% of local mobile searches. How does this connect to voice search?
Well, a large share of voice searches are conducted on mobile phones. Few people are conducting voice searches on desktops or tables at home, suggesting a significant portion of those voice searches occur on mobile devices. Google found that 55% of teens and 41% of adults use voice search at least once per day and that 38% of teens and 40% of adults use voice search to get directions to a local business.
Why Voice Search is Important to Local SEO
There are three main areas in which voice search has a vital impact on local SEO: urgency, on-the-go use, and quick answers. Consumers conduct most local searches with a sense of urgency. They need help finding a local restaurant or want to find reviews of local services in a particular sector. These types of searches come from consumers looking for immediate and actionable information. Voice search effectively complements these queries by providing the answers they need at the moment.
Another primary area voice search plays a big role in is on-the-go use. When consumers are driving they prefer to use voice search over typed queries. Consider a tourist looking for hotels along an interstate. Unaware of their surroundings, they are likely to use Google to find results. In this scenario, voice searches again have a powerful impact on local SEO.
Finally, local searchers want specific and straightforward answers. At the same time, voice searchers want specific answers. Implementing voice-search optimized keywords helps boost your conversion rates by fulfilling the needs of local searchers using voice searches.
How Can You Optimize Local SEO for Voice Search?
Given the clear and powerful connection, it’s important that you optimize your local business for voice searches. Fortunately, the steps are simple to integrate and include:
Optimize for longer queries
Voice searchers use complete phrases and sentences rather than one-, two-, or three-word keywords
Adopt an FAQ strategy – many voice searches are phrased as questions, so compiling a list of common answers to customer questions for your business listings and website can help boost visibility
Make content authoritative – create short, but thorough content that provides definitive answers to possible queries your target audience commonly search for using voice search