Voice Search and Local SEO. Is Your Site Properly Optimized?

voice-searchMore and more people are using mobile devices to connect with the internet. The SmartPhone, the iPhone and the iPad have all changed the way that online users access the world wide web. Many people are now using voice instigated searches to find websites and businesses, especially when they are on the go. This presents a new challenge for SEOs and webmasters, particularly when it comes to optimizing a site for local searches, something that Cube do for their clients. With voice search, internet users are starting to use advanced search criteria, and more naturalistic key phrases. For local businesses to remain visible to search filters, and to reach their potential customers, they will have to begin optimizing their websites to meet the demands of voice search and its reliance on the use of natural speech patterns.

Keyed Search vs Voice Search

Over the years, people have grown used to providing concise information in their manual online searches. When people type out a query for a search engine, they instinctively resort to the use of one or two keywords, or at most a simple phrase. For example, a traditional search for a local pizza parlor might look something like this: pizza dayton ohio. With the rise of voice search, however, people have returned to using normal everyday speech patters when making an online request. So a voice search for a local pizza parlor might sound more like this: Where can I find a pizza joint in Dayton, Ohio?. The more naturalistic voice search is made possible by the increased sophistication of Google and other search engines. Voice searches are subjected to the same search engine algorithms as text searches, they are merely translated to text. This has little direct effect on the online user, but for SEOs and webmasters it means a change in optimization strategy. To successfully optimize a local business page for voice search, SEOs will need to prepare for more sophisticated, question-based, online queries.

Voice Search for Local Businesses

Voice search is having the biggest impact on local search queries. People on the go use their mobile devices to search for local stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues more than they do for esoteric information. This makes it imperative that local businesses scrutinize their SEO strategies, and begin to optimize their websites for voice searches. Begin by checking your business’ online citations. Listings in all online directories, such as Google Place and Yahoo Business, should all be updated and kept consistent across the board. If you find that any information on your citations is out of date, now is the time to make any necessary corrections. If your citations do not include a review option, now is the time to add one. Customer reviews are an important part of any business’ online citations, particularly when it comes to voice searches. Since most people performing a voice search are on the go, they are more likely to make a quick decision about which shop or restaurant to choose. Business listings with featured reviews are more likely to get the nod than those without any reviews at all.

As search engines become more sophisticated, and are better able to understand the subtle nuances of spoken language, voice searches will become commonplace. It is likely that the use of more naturalistic search queries will ultimately spill over into the traditional keyed search as well. To be ahead of the curve, local businesses should begin optimizing their websites and online citations to reflect this trend. Adapting your SEO strategy today will put you in the driver’s seat tomorrow.

The author of this article, Leslie M. writes on his blog about online marketing and SEO.

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