Voice Search Optimization for Local Businesses

Due to changes in local search platforms in response to COVID-19, some information on these pages may be temporarily out of date. For the latest information, please visit our Covid-19 updates page.

Many business owners are surprised to learn that 58% of consumers use voice to find local business information. With more than 100 million smart speakers now in U.S. homes, we've reached the tipping point, and voice is often the first choice for mobile search. Regardless of whether voice ever eclipses desktop and mobile in share of search audience, it’s clear that local businesses need to take voice into account as they plan their search strategy. 

With voice search, there’s only one chance to take first place. Whereas a person searching for a business on a desktop computer sees a list of 10 organic listings, the same search on voice will usually result in just one answer or a much shorter list of options. When someone asks Siri for a nearby pizza restaurant, you want to make sure your business is the first one that’s named. 

So, how do you ensure your business ranks highly when people search on Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa? The answer is voice search optimization.

Listings management now extends to voice interfaces. Because each voice assistant relies on its own set of data sources for answers to local search queries, it’s a smart idea to take an active role in managing your data.

Voice search optimization for local businesses hinges on four main data sources. These are:

  1. Google My Business: Businesses should have completed listings with detailed information designed to capture long-tail search traffic.
  2. Apple Maps: Listings on Apple Maps should be claimed and up to date.
  3. Yelp: Yelp listings are a main source of local content for a number of platforms, including the local content on Amazon devices.
  4. Bing: Businesses should make sure their Bing listings are up-to-date for Cortana.

If you want to do even more, you should submit your business listing information to Here and Foursquare, as well. This is a necessary step if you want to be found in Samsung’s Bixby interface. Yelp is a key component of many voice search engines, not only providing listing content to Amazon but adding reviews to listings in Apple Maps, Cortana, and Bixby.

Larger brands with multiple locations may also want to introduce branded skills and actions as a way to get more deeply involved in voice search. Developing voice skills can place a brand front and center in voice search, especially when voice experiences are designed in a way that showcases products and services to drive customers in-store.

Voice search is rapidly evolving, and the voice platforms with the largest market share are maturing. Regardless of whether voice ever does manage to surpass mobile, it’s important for every local business to have a voice search optimization strategy in place. 

To learn more about best practices in voice search, read this article.

Got a question or a topic suggestion? Let us know!