Being a small business owner can be tough. If that small business is dependent on local clients, the challenges can be enormous. Trying to stand out as a local small business requires savvy marketing and skilled communication to reach your target audience and attract potential customers to your business. As voice search becomes a more prevalent part of local search marketing efforts, many businesses are asking how can voice search help local businesses, and how can their company benefit. Let’s take a closer look at voice search and what it has to offer local small businesses.

What is local search marketing?

local searchAccording to Moz, local search marketing is anything you do on the web to promote a physical business that makes face-to-face contact with its customers. If a company meets with its customers directly — either through a storefront or service area — it’s termed a “local business” and a unique set of techniques and skills can be used to increase its visibility on the Internet. This may also be referred to as “local SEO,” or local search engine optimization. Local search marketing is all about putting your business on the map in local searches when customers are searching for a business like yours. 72 percent of consumers who perform a local search visit a brick and mortar business within five miles of their location.

How does voice search tie in with local search?

Voice search has grown significantly over the years.  It is a speech recognition technology that allows users to search by saying terms aloud rather than typing them into a search field. Voice search can be done through a mobile device or on your computer if you have a microphone. Basically, a query is spoken, and then the device starts the query based on the spoken word.  Google’s voice recognition accuracy rate now exceeds 95% for the English language. By nature, most voice searches are asking a question or in search of facts. Many of those are queries about local businesses. Local companies need to understand the impact of voice search and target their marketing strategies accordingly. In fact, mobile voice-related searches are three times more likely to be locally based.

How voice search can help local businesses

If small businesses are cognizant of voice search and how it can drive targeted traffic to their brick and mortar location, the opportunities are numerous. Savvy business owners that ensure that their digital presence is voice search friendly will find that the exposure for their small business can increase exponentially. Being easier to be found via voice search can not only provide greater exposure for a local small business, it can drive new customers to their brick and mortar location that are better aligned with their target audience, increasing the potential for business. More foot traffic can mean more potential customers and ideally more business.

How can small businesses better align their marketing efforts for voice search?

voice searchThe best place to start is to understand how voice search works. Voice search is conducted conversationally. For example, someone may ask, “what are the best small business marketing consultants near me?” or “best Chinese restaurants in Phoenix”. Take a moment to think about what someone might search for when they’re looking for a business like yours. Make sure you keep in mind that, again, voice search is conversational so make sure that language appears on your website.  Since a large portion of voice search consists of questions asked, be sure to use content that asks and answers questions relevant to your business and the services or products you offer. This can be a FAQ page or blog posts.

At least 20% of all voice searches show intent, which makes sense considering 61% of voice searches are conducted while someone is preoccupied with a task such as driving. To address this, use localized keywords in your site content, and make sure your business has a Google My Business page to improve your ranking. Optimize long tail keywords to include terms like “store hours”, “near me”, and “price” so that you can take advantage of a mobile user’s GPS to drive foot traffic.  Here’s a handy list of 8 ways to optimize your website for voice search:

  1. Create an FAQ page
  2. Provide quality content that answers questions local prospects seek
  3. Provide easy to consume content for mobile searches
  4. Keep content simple and conversational
  5. Leverage social media
  6. Make sure your site is https (SSL)
  7. Optimize page speed on your site
  8. Focus on high search rankings for relevant keyword phrases

Voice search will continue to grow in popularity. If you’re a local small business owner, understand how it works, how it impacts local search, and what that means for your business can help you benefit from voice search. Reach out to a small business marketing pro if you’re unsure how to incorporate voice search tactics into your overall marketing strategy.

Patty Hughes
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