The Role of Voice Assistants in Local Search: How to Optimize for Voice Search

Local search Local SEO AI

Voice search is rapidly changing how we interact with the internet. From Amazon Alexa to Google Assistant and Apple Siri, voice assistants are becoming essential, making it crucial for businesses to optimize for voice search to be easily discoverable. Understanding and implementing strategies for enhancing voice search visibility can significantly boost your brand's online performance, drive organic traffic, improve user experience, and this article explores how.

How to Optimize for Voice Search

What Are Voice Search Assistants?

Voice search assistants are software programs designed to recognize and respond to voice commands. Integrated into devices like smartphones, smart speakers, and even cars, these assistants simplify daily tasks and access to information. The rise of artificial intelligence has expanded their capabilities, making them an increasingly common feature in our lives.

Popular Voice Assistants

  • Google Assistant: Uses Google Search and Google Maps. Available on Android and iOS devices and Chromebooks. Known for its integration with Google's ecosystem, it can perform tasks like setting reminders and controlling smart home devices.

  • Siri: Uses Apple Search and Apple Maps. Available exclusively on Apple devices like iPhones or MacBooks and is praised for its natural language processing abilities.

  • Alexa: Uses Bing Search and Here Maps. Found in Amazon Echo devices and other Amazon smart devices, it supports a wide range of functions from playing music to smart home management

  • Cortana: Used Bing Maps, but was discontinued in fall of 2023. Although less popular, it was integrated with Microsoft products like Office and Windows.

Why People Use Voice Search Assistants

Voice search assistants offer a hands-free way to interact with devices, especially useful while driving or when hands are occupied. They provide quick answers, support managing smart devices, and can set reminders or send messages. The convenience and rapid responses make voice search a preferred choice for many users.

Growth in Use of Voice Search

Voice search is growing, with over one billion voice searches conducted each month. 

In 2023, there were 125.2 million voice search users, and this number is expected to drive over $40 billion in sales by 2024. 

Over 50% of adults worldwide use voice search daily, highlighting its widespread adoption and importance.

Benefits for SEO

Optimizing for voice search improves user experience by making information easier to find. It increases mobile traffic and overall SEO, as search engines favor websites optimized for voice searches. This can lead to higher visibility in featured snippets, often used in voice search results, driving more traffic to your website.

Key Differences Between Voice Search and Typed Search

User Behaviour and Query Phrasing

Voice search queries are more conversational and natural, often full sentences or questions, unlike the shorter keywords used in text searches. For example, a voice search might be "What's the weather like today?" compared to the text query "weather today." This conversational tone requires content to be optimized for natural language.

Search Engine Preferences of Voice Assistants

Interestingly, the choice of search engine by voice assistants can significantly influence optimization strategies. While Google remains the primary choice for most text searches, Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana, which account for over half of all smart assistant use, default to Bing. This shows the growing importance of Bing in the landscape of voice search, especially as smart speakers continue to gain popularity and Amazon maintains its market dominance.

Types of Searches and User Intent

“Near Me” searches are the most popular uses for voice assistants revealing that voice searches are highly local-based and immediate. For instance, "Where's the nearest gas station?" highlights the importance of optimizing for Local SEO. Text searches may include location-specific queries but often need additional input.

How to Optimize for Voice Search

Use Conversational Language & Long-Tail Keywords

Adopt a conversational tone in your content, reflecting how users speak. Incorporate long-tail keywords, which are more specific and descriptive, making them more likely to capture niche markets.

Optimize for Local Search

Ensure your Google Business Profile is updated with your business’s hours, contact information, and address. Use location-specific keywords in your content to further optimize for local voice search.

Improve Site's Technical SEO and Mobile Friendliness

Ensure your site is mobile-responsive, loads quickly, and is easy to navigate. Improve technical SEO by enhancing site performance and securing your website with HTTPS.

Implementing Schema Markup

Use structured data or schema markup to boost your site's visibility in voice search. This helps search engines understand your content better, increasing the accuracy of voice search results.

How PinMeTo Can Help

PinMeTo simplifies local marketing for multi-location businesses by centralizing management of location data, reviews, and social media. This ensures consistency and accuracy across all digital channels, enhancing visibility in AI-driven search results.

To Sum Up

Voice search is transforming how users find information online, making it essential for businesses to adapt their SEO strategies. By learning how to optimize for voice search, using conversational language, focusing on local SEO, and continuously monitoring performance, businesses can enhance their digital presence and stay competitive.

For more detailed insights, read our AI report on how these changes will impact local marketing in 2024.

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Lily Adamyan, June 6

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