How to Prepare Your Local Business for Voice Search in 2024

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By Tomislav

Key Takeaways

Rise of Voice Search: 72% of smart speaker owners use their devices daily, 43% shop online using voice-enabled devices, and 32% of people use voice-activated search daily.
Voice vs. Web Search: Unlike traditional web search, voice search favors conversational language and full questions.
Branding Importance: Strong brand recognition is essential in voice search. Local businesses must be specifically named to be chosen over default suggestions.
Major Voice AI Assistants: Understand the key players – Apple Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Microsoft Cortana, including their data sources and accuracy rates.
Optimizing for Voice AI: Ensure your business is listed on major platforms like Bing, Apple Maps, Yelp, Google Maps, and Google My Business.
Actionable Tips for Readiness:
Optimize for Rich Answers
Use Conversational Language
Create a Business FAQ Page
Master Local SEO
Ensure Mobile-Friendliness

What is Voice Search?

Voice search means using voice commands to search the internet, a website, or an app.

This method has existed for decades but only recently has technology allowed it to become mainstream.

Modern speech recognition and affordable electronics have led to widespread adoption.

Increasing numbers of devices now support voice search, from mobile phones to computers, and especially voice AI assistants in our homes.

These devices are rapidly gaining popularity and market share. Consider these stats:

  • 72% of smart speaker owners use their devices daily.
  • 43% shop online using voice-enabled devices.
  • 32% of people use voice-activated search daily.
  • Over a quarter of US households own a smart speaker like Amazon Echo.
  • 77% of smart speakers are in living rooms or kitchens; 25% in bedrooms.
  • 55% of teenagers and 40% of adults use voice search daily.

Is voice search the future? Absolutely. It’s already a significant part of the present, and its market share is growing.

Just as Netflix disrupted Blockbuster, voice search is poised to change the landscape. Future projections include:

  • $40 billion in voice-based shopping by 2022.
  • 18% of consumer spending via voice by 2022.
  • A $30 billion global voice-based smart speaker market by 2024.

Voice Search vs. Web Search

The main difference is that voice search is more conversational.

Traditional web search algorithms required rigid keywords, but people naturally use full questions and polite phrases in voice searches.

Voice search had to overcome significant challenges, like understanding natural language and interpreting queries accurately.

It’s not perfect yet, but it’s rapidly improving.

Branding in Voice Search

In voice search, branding is crucial. We often have brand loyalties – Nike shoes, Ford Mustangs, Samsung TVs.

This won’t change with voice search, but it poses a challenge for local businesses.

A startling fact: 85% of consumers choose the product Amazon suggests in voice orders.

For local businesses, this means being specifically requested by name is vital.

For instance, a customer might simply ask Alexa for a pepperoni pizza.

Without specifying, Amazon will choose the supplier.

Local businesses need customers to specifically ask for them by name, like “Alexa, order a pepperoni pizza from Joe’s Pizzeria.”

The shift to voice search means businesses must establish strong brand recognition now to avoid being overlooked in a voice-dominated future.

Meet the Four Major Voice AI Assistants

You’ve likely heard of these AI assistants before.

They’re not new, but their capabilities and accuracy vary.

Here, I’ll outline the four major voice AI assistants and their accuracy rates, along with where they source data for local businesses.

  • Apple Siri – answers about 70% of queries correctly.
  • Google Assistant – leads with 88% accuracy.
  • Amazon Alexa – has a 78% success rate.
  • Microsoft Cortana – trails at 52% but attempts more queries than others.

Which is the best? It’s tough to say.

While Amazon Alexa is gaining market share in the U.S., all these companies are still evolving.

Despite lagging in some areas, Microsoft Cortana tries answering the most questions.

Getting Recognized by Voice AI Assistants

Chances are, your business is already in the right place.

These assistants pull data from major websites.

For visibility, ensure your business is listed on these platforms:

  • Apple Siri – uses Bing, Apple Maps, and Yelp.
  • Google Assistant – relies on Google Maps, Google My Business, and other Google properties.
  • Amazon Alexa – sources data from Bing, Yext, and Yelp.
  • Microsoft Cortana – utilizes Yelp and Alexa’s resources.

Optimizing Content for Voice Search

Voice SEO favors conversational language and long-tail keywords.

Build an FAQ page with questions your customers might ask their AI assistants.

Keep answers concise, as voice assistants prefer short, useful responses.

Remember, mobile optimization is crucial, as AI assistants often display information on phone screens.

12 Actionable Tips for Voice Search Readiness

  1. Optimize for Rich Answers – provide concise, accurate responses.
  2. Use conversational language in your content.
  3. Create a business FAQ page for potential voice queries.
  4. Optimize for “near me” searches with local keywords.
  5. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly and fast.
  6. Master local SEO – consistent NAP citations, business directory listings, and customer reviews.
  7. Conduct NAP audits for consistency across the web.
  8. Pursue local backlink building opportunities.
  9. Start a local business podcast to establish thought leadership.
  10. Engage in local social media groups.
  11. Embed a Google Map on your website.
  12. Engage with your community – sponsor events and collaborate with local influencers.