In the late 1990s and early 2000s, we mostly used search engines to ask questions; how many of you remember asking Jeeves a question on Ask.com?
However, over the last few years, searches have become less about solving our problems and more about benefiting our own personal needs.
The Rise of Hyperlocal Search
Not too long ago, if you wanted to find the “best pizza restaurant” in Columbus, Ohio, your search results probably would have been ranked lists on websites, sometimes with restaurants that may be miles outside of the city.
This made it difficult for consumers who wanted information about restaurants within a five-mile radius, and even more difficult for businesses to reach their local customers. Because of these frustrations, location services were created to make search results tailored to consumers’ specific locations.
Now, whenever you search for a pizza restaurant in your city on Google, you’ll see a map at the top of the first page that shows the nearest restaurants, as well as each one’s star rating and the address. Because of this, your customers expect their search results to automatically be within their location, and they don’t even use “near me” in their searches anymore.3
Since local search has become so popular, it’s crucial that your business’s online information is consistent and accurate.
This includes your:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Website URL
Also, be sure to keep your business hours accurate; your business hours and location are the most important thing to searchers.4
“Hey Alexa, how late is the grocery store open?”
Voice recognition has been around for quite some time, but it wasn’t until recently that voice assistants such as Apple’s Siri or voice-assisted smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo changed the way that we look up information online.
Your customers are using these smart speakers to order products online, such as items on Amazon or ordering food for delivery. In 2017, 57 percent of consumers bought an item using voice search,5 and 25 percent of them spent up to $199 per purchase with voice.6
How Do You Optimize Your Business for Voice Search?
One word: keywords.
Specifically, long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are longer phrases that often come from phrases your customers say into their devices during a voice search.
When your customers search for your business using voice search, they’ll ask questions such as “when does (your business) close?” or “how late does (your business) deliver?”.
These questions can help you find your long-tail keywords, so make sure you have enough of them throughout your website as possible to be found through voice search.
We recommend that you have a Frequently Asked Questions section in your website, along with a list of questions in that section that are similar to those long-tail keywords. Not only will this boost your website’s overall SEO, but it’ll make it easier for your business to be found by your customer’s voice assistant when they ask one of those questions.
Not sure where to find long-tail keywords? Use a tool like Ubersuggest to find them!
And, since 40 percent of adults use voice search every day,7 you can’t afford to wait any longer to optimize your business for it.
Consumers Will Research to Their Heart’s Desire
Consumers today are doing more research than ever before they make any kind of purchase decision, no matter how small or large the purchase is.
Sometimes, they have no intention of making a purchase and online shopping carts become abandoned; it’s like window shopping for the digital world. For example, while 38 percent of consumers are researching, 40 percent of consumers are simply browsing.8
But, when they do want to buy something, they want to find the best price and, more importantly, know that where they’re purchasing from or what they’re buying will leave them completely satisfied.
For example, because there are now so many ways to buy something both online and offline, many consumers will browse between multiple stores and purchase from the store that has the cheapest product or the best reviews.
The best way to compete in this new digital landscape is to be able to keep your product inventory up-to-date, keep tabs on your competitors’ prices and, overall, just be completely transparent with your business.