Voice Search Is Here. Is Your Small Business Ready?

voice search smart speaker vertical

Voice search is taking over.

“Hey Google, find me the nearest auto repair shop.”

“Alexa, order a large pepperoni and mushroom pizza from Papa John’s.”

“Siri, give me directions to Olivia’s Olive Bar.”

With the rise of voice-enabled devices, people are talking nearly as much as they’re typing. In fact, some in-the-know marketing gurus suggest that as soon as next year, a full 50% of search queries will be done via voice search rather than keyed in.

This means that if your small business website isn’t optimized for voice search, you’re missing out on half of your potential customers. Are you willing to take that risk? If not, here’s what you need to know to make sure Google, Alexa, Siri, Cortana and any as-yet unnamed AI devices can direct their very real owners straight to your small business.

Focus on Long-Tail Keywords

You’ve probably put a lot of thought into the keywords you use to help drive traffic to your small business website. But voice search is a whole new ballgame that requires a whole new set of keywords. And in this case, size really does matter.

Imagine you’re craving sushi in San Francisco. If you were typing in your search query, that’s probably exactly what you’d type: “sushi San Francisco.” If you were feeling particularly clever (or picky) you might include a certain district: “sushi San Francisco Nob Hill.” You’re then free to scroll through the thousands of pages of results at your leisure, read the reviews and make your decision.

But voice search works a bit differently, mostly because humans don’t speak the way they type. Your voice search would probably sound a lot like “Hey Google, find me a sushi place in Nob Hill that serves fugu.” Long-tail keywords allow you to get more specific and help you find the people who are looking for a business just like yours.

Create a FAQ Section for Your Website

A ton of voice search traffic comes in the form of a question. “Where can I find X?” “Who serves Y?” “What time does Z close?”

One easy way to get your voice heard is to create a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page on your website. You can include things like your address and operating hours, information about your top products and services or even a basic price list. This makes it super easy for your site to deliver specific answers to specific questions as quickly as possible.

Think Local

If your small business has a local presence, a Google My Business listing is an absolute necessity.

Most people using voice search are looking for a local business — which means local businesses will be among the first results to be delivered. And Google My Business is the first place a savvy AI assistant will search. The listing is free; you can add photos, information and reviews; and it only takes a few minutes to get up and running.

This is one marketing tool you definitely want to take advantage of!

Speed Up Your Page Load Times

It’s not rocket science: If your page is slow to load, a searcher (real or AI) is going to get frustrated and bounce to the next result, costing your business a potential customer and possibly earning you a demerit from the Google gods.

Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to boost your load times, from the uber-technical (asynchronous loading) to the easy-ish (reducing image sizes). You can find more information here.

It’s Time to Participate in Voice Search!

Voice search isn’t going anywhere. Before long, we’ll all be walking around talking to our phones or wearable tech and asking the speaker that sits on our kitchen counter to order us dinner. The sooner you optimize your website for voice search, the sooner you’ll be able to start enjoying the extra business it sends your way!

Change can be scary, but Mischa Communications is here for you. Get in touch today with all of your marketing needs and let us show you how we can make running your small business much easier!