Smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home are changing the way we search.
As of March 2017, 12 percent of U.S. homes have some sort of voice assistant, and Amazon sold 15 million Echo devices last year alone.
And, they’re good, but smart speakers/assistants are only getting better. Google recently announced a list of things Google Home can do for you, including the local guide feature, which allows users to search for local stores and information.
Amazon’s Alexa has more than 1400 skills (including searching Yelp and booking a ride with Uber or Lyft).
But, what does all this mean for local search?
We’ve been using voice search (the method people use to communicate with their smart speakers) on our phones for years, but it's not exactly the same.
On the phone when you perform a voice search, you get a list of search results. With your smart speaker, though, you get a verbal response. This is sure to shake up the local search marketing world since smart speakers tend to choose one correct answer for searches rather than allowing the searcher to choose from a list.
Why Do We Use Smart Speakers?
Let’s take a look at how people are actually using smart speakers.
As far as voice search usage, people use it mostly at home, partially because they don’t feel comfortable using it on their smartphones in public and probably partially because we aren't driving around with a Google Home in the back seat.
Here’s what people use voice commands for:
- Making a call
- Online searches
- Map navigation
So while voice search may not be inherently local, we as users are making it local. We use it to search for businesses and get directions. In fact, Microsoft reported that 40 percent of voice searches carry local intent.
This means your local search marketing strategy needs a solid foundation in order to even begin to be optimized for voice-activated assistants.
Optimizing Your Small Business Marketing Strategy for Smart Speakers
So, how do you optimize for voice searches?
You need to think about the way people use voice search. If I search, using my smartphone (typing) for a pizza place, I would just use the word “pizza” because I’m lazy.
However, if I’m saying it to my Google Home, I’m going to say something like “Okay Google, find me a nearby pizza place that delivers.”
So in order to show up for those searches, you’ll need to find the long-tail keywords people use to search for your business.
Here are a few ways to find keywords:
- Ubersuggest – a free tool that suggests long-tail keywords for you
- Ask your customers how they searched for you or how they would search if they used voice search
- Google Trends
- Google Autocomplete (go to Google, begin to type in your keywords, look at the options Google gives you—those are popular searches)
- Check out the “Searches related to...” section at the bottom of the search results page (see below)
What to Do With Long-Tail Keywords
Add those long-tail keywords to your website.
Your FAQ section is a great place for this, or turn those questions/phrases into a blog post if you feel there's enough content to write an entire article about the subject. This will help you show up for more relevant searches.
Just make sure that the long-tail keyword sounds natural.
Keyword stuffing is a no-no, and doubly so with long-tail keywords. (And not just because) it sounds awkward.
Add the long-tail keywords where they’ll sound natural, and don’t use any long-tail keyword too many times, because you’ll just sound repetitive.
Remember, you’re not just using these keywords for SEO purposes. You’re adding them to your website because people actually search for them.
You want to provide valuable content around those keywords so that the consumers who find your website/social media/listing through those keywords get exactly what they’re looking for.
People aren’t just finding your site through voice search, so you’ll need to strike a balance between showing up in voice searches and having helpful content for people who visit your site on computers or smartphones.
You can learn more about local search marketing here.