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Voice search for local SEO

Over the past five years, voice search usage has skyrocketed by 146%, from 3.25 billion users in 2019 to 8 billion users in 2023. The number of people using voice search has led to marketers and small businesses dedicating resources to voice search marketing to capitalize on the rewards and stay one step ahead of their competitors. One fact we can’t deny is that the digital world has been irrevocably altered by the rise of voice search, driven by ubiquitous voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. 

In this write-up, we will take a closer look into the intricate relationship between voice search and local SEO while examining its impact on local businesses and outlining strategies for optimization. We will also analyze the distinct characteristics of voice search queries, the importance of “near me”, “okay Google”, and “Hey Alexa” optimization. We’ll explore effective methods for managing local listings and business information to capture valuable local voice search traffic.

Voice search for local SEO

Understanding Voice Search

Voice search queries differ significantly from their text-based counterparts, requiring businesses to adapt their SEO strategies accordingly. Key characteristics include:

  • Conversational language: Users employ natural language, framing queries as questions like “What’s the tastiest pizza place open right now?” or “Where’s the closest urgent care center?” This conversational style necessitates optimizing content for natural language understanding and long-tail keywords.
  • Local-focused: Local intent reigns supreme in voice searches. Studies by Moz reveal that up to 70% of voice queries incorporate local keywords like “near me,” “around me,” or “closest,” highlighting the crucial role of optimizing for local search intent.
  • Information-seeking: Voice searches often target immediate, concise answers, focusing on essential business attributes like opening hours, location, distance, and contact information. Optimizing content and online profiles to provide clear and easily accessible information is crucial for ranking well in voice search results.


Voice search for local SEO

Optimizing for “Near Me” Local Search Queries

Capitalizing on the local intent prevalent in voice searches is paramount for success. Here are key strategies to consider:

  • Claim and Optimize Google My Business (GMB) listing: GMB acts as a central hub for local information, influencing voice search results significantly. Ensure your GMB listing is claimed, verified, and complete with accurate business details, high-quality photos (including storefront and interior images), positive customer reviews, and engaging descriptions that highlight unique selling points.
  • Build Yourself with Local Directories: Create profiles on relevant local directories and highly searched most renowned Yellow Page sites where you are most likely to be found by people looking to buy your particular services.

Example: A ‘restaurant in Salt Lake, Utah’ should showcase mouthwatering food photos, emphasize its unique ambiance, and highlight its specialties in the GMB description. Include keywords like “authentic Utah cuisine”, “outdoor seating available”, and “family-friendly restaurant.”

  • Target long-tail keywords: Incorporate “near me” and other location-specific keywords into website content, GMB descriptions, and online directory listings. For example, the Lagos restaurant could benefit from targeting keywords like “best pizza near me Utah,” “affordable sushi restaurants near Salt Lake City,” or “seafood restaurants open late Utah.”
  • Focus on structured data: Implement schema markup to provide structured information about your business (address, opening hours, menus, etc.) to search engines and voice assistants. This enhances search engine understanding and facilitates more informative voice assistant responses. A well-structured schema can dramatically improve the chances of your business appearing in rich snippets and featured voice search results.
  • Mobile-friendliness is essential: As most voice searches occur on smartphones, ensure your website is mobile-friendly with a fast loading speed, user-friendly navigation, and optimized for local search. Consider offering click-to-call functionality and a streamlined booking process for enhanced user experience.

Local Listings Management

Maintaining consistent and accurate information across various online directories (e.g., Yelp, Bing Places, Apple Maps) is crucial for local search visibility. Utilize local listing management tools like Yext or Moz Local to automate updates across multiple platforms or manually update each directory with accurate business details, including address, phone number, website URL, and category information. Inconsistency can create confusion for search engines and potential customers, hindering your ranking and traffic acquisition.

Building Reviews and Citations

Positive online reviews and citations from trustworthy websites significantly influence local voice search ranking. Encourage customer reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and Facebook, and respond to both positive and negative feedback promptly and professionally. Actively engage in local community initiatives and build relationships with other businesses to acquire organic citations from relevant websites. Online Reputation Management has become a THING of the necessary! Remember, high-quality citations from local news outlets, industry associations, or government websites carry more weight than generic business directories.

Harnessing the Power of AI Tools

Several AI-powered tools can analyze voice search trends and provide valuable insights for keyword optimization and content creation. Utilize tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Moz to gain insights into popular voice search queries in your local area, identify relevant keywords with high search volume and low competition, and track your ranking progress over time. Every tool has integrated the use of AI these days and tracking plus ranking in your targeted niche is now comparatively much easier if you know a tad bit of SEO basics yourself. You can always contact G4G for the SEO needs!

Beyond the Basics:

While the tactics mentioned above form the foundation for effective optimization, consider these advanced strategies for a competitive edge:

  • Integrate with voice assistants: Develop voice actions for platforms like Alexa or Google Assistant, allowing users to interact directly with your business through voice commands. For example, a restaurant could create a voice action that allows users to book reservations, order food for delivery, or access the menu directly through their voice assistant.
  • Focus on voice schema development: As voice search technology continues to evolve, understanding voice schema development principles will position your business for future opportunities.


Voice search for local SEO

Why voice search is essential for local SEO

While user comfort with voice-based shopping may not be mainstream yet (PwC report notes 24%), a staggering 71% now prefer voice search to manual typing. This shift signifies a crucial need for local businesses to adapt.

“Near me” queries dominate voice searches, making local SEO mastery synonymous with voice search success. Imagine customers on the go, seeking immediate answers. Are your listings complete, accurate, and boasting positive reviews?

Voice assistants like Google Assistant rely heavily on Google Business Profile (GBP). Don’t let outdated information or a lack of shining reviews be your downfall! Optimize your GBP, ensuring it’s current, detailed, and rich with positive testimonials. This paints a welcoming picture for voice search users encountering your business.

 Here’s the takeaway: Forget just being seen online, be heard loud and clear by potential customers using voice search. Embrace the future of local SEO and reap the benefits of being readily accessible when users speak their needs.

 Want to go further? Consider integrating with voice assistants, allowing users to interact directly with your business through voice commands. This elevates convenience and positions you as a tech-savvy leader in your local market. 

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