How to Optimize Your Business for Local Voice Search

Q: “Hey Google. How popular is voice search?”
A: 20% of searches from the Google app are done by voice.

Who hasn’t used some form of voice search recently? Whether you want turn-by-turn driving directions, the nearest coffee shop, store hours for your doctor’s office, or the year that the original Jurassic Park (awesome) was released.

The popularity of local voice search is here – and that’s where your business should be. Voice search comes in many forms these days as megacorporations battle for dominance; Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana are the big players wanting to “improve your life” through touch-free convenience.

I visited a foodie friend to validate his claim of preparing the most delicious tomahawk steak ever prepared by man (ha). While it was a fine steak, his new “smart fridge” stole my attention. A tinted glass touch panel screen keeps track of the groceries stored within its cold embrace. He laughed and said “ watch this”. With a voice command, his order was placed and I envisioned the grocery elves frantically putting together his order of freshness.

While you are probably not in the grocery business, nor want to be, this clearly illustrates that we are still on the upside of adoption as consumers. If I can speak to order broccoli, why wouldn’t I also find a new chiropractor, daycare, or HVAC repair company using some sort of voice search?

So, who holds the highest share in voice search devices?

For the little hockey puck or coffee can-shaped home speaker market; Amazon’s Alexa holds a 70% market share, followed by Google Home with a 25% share and Apple with a 5% share, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP).

When all voice-enabled devices are taken into account, mobile phones have a far larger market share. According to a recent Microsoft survey, Google Assistant and Apple Siri each hold a 36% market share for voice assistants. Amazon Alexa is third with 25% and finally, Microsoft Cortana is last with 19%.


Google Assistant


Apple Siri


Amazon Alexa


Microsoft Cortana

When searching for local businesses, the most popular devices for voice search are smartphones, then desktops/laptops and tablets. Smart speakers are the least used for local business searches. *Bright Local Study

When these consumers are searching, does your business show up?

Nerd Stats: There are 3 types of local voice searches:

Voices search queries can be broken into three different types: Discovery, Direct and Knowledge.

A discovery voice search is for a local provider: “What are the best pizzerias near me?” or “Find an electrician in Dublin Ohio.”, or “Top rated estate lawyer in Columbus?”

A direct command requests information or contact such as “call Thomas Marchese Law” or “Make a reservation at Marcella’s Restaurant for 8 o’clock tonight party of three”, or “Driving directions to the Conservatory of Piano in Worthington”, or “Call mom”.

A knowledge search example is “Who did that ridiculous song called Gangnam Style?”, or “Where can I mine crystals in Ohio?”, or “How old is Mitch McConnel?”.

As a local business operator, you can see the value in having your business earn the top response from these devices. You just need to produce the data that will provide the solution.

Four business listings you must claim and optimize for local voice search:

  1. Google Business Profile (GBP) powers all local business results in Google Assistant. This is the simplest voice search ecosystem because as a Google product, it gets all of its local business data from Google Business Profile (fka Google My Business), including reviews and photos.
  2. Apple Maps Business Listing feeds all local business information to Apple Siri. Everything except reviews and photos; they’re primarily fed from Yelp and Foursquare. So, in order to best optimize your business for Apple Siri and Apple Maps, it’s important that you also claim and optimize your Yelp business listing. The basic process is to go to Apple Maps Connect, sign in with an Apple ID, then claim your business listing and optimize your information. With Yelp it’s the same process, claim your business listing and optimize your information.
  3. Bing Places powers local search results for Microsoft Cortana and is preloaded on Android devices. This accounts for its hefty 20+% market share in voice search, compared with just 2.47% market share on mobile, and 5.85% on desktop.
  4. Yelp and Yext powers Amazon Alexa. Yelp provides most of the local business information, photos and reviews for Alexa local search. And in mid-2018, Yext began feeding aggregated business info from over 70 web directories. For existing Yext customers, business information is sent directly to Alexa and you don’t need to do anything else. If you’re not a Yext customer, make sure your Yelp business listing has been submitted and optimized.

Now you’re optimized for local voice search!

After submitting and optimizing your Google Business Profile, Apple Maps Connect, Bing Places, and Yelp business listings, you will be in a great position to appear in both discovery search and direct/branded voice search.

Here at VentraLocal Digital Marketing, we include a Local Voice Search Optimization service with every client at no additional cost.

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