Voice assistants are everywhere now. With a Homepod in your family room for music, Alexa in your kitchen for recipes, and Google Home in your office for emails and calendar management, these artificial assistants are becoming more and more part of day-to-day life.
That means it's becoming part of your customers' lives more too. By 2020, it's estimated that half of all web searches will be by voice when counting both dedicated voice assistances, smartphones, and other internet-of-things devices. 30% will be on devices without a screen by then too, which means the info that these assistants find and read aloud really matters.
Are you locatable by voice search yet? Can customers quickly find the info about you that they're looking for just by asking? Because if not, that's a lot of potential searches you're missing out on. While web giants create endless lists for any search term you could imagine, these voice assistants curate much smaller lists and narrow down the listings to just the details that are specifically requested. This means your optimization for the details that they can find is extremely important, and if you don't take it seriously you risk being skipped over immediately if the user isn't overly specific.
Most businesses take the wrong approach to optimizing for voice-search. This is usually because they're too focused on ensuring they convert users (either to real world traffic or to voice orders), or by not doing enough to ensure there's details for these assistants to provide. Many purchasing decisions take a bit more than a simple "yes or no" question, so optimizing for immediate conversion like you would on your website likely means your plans are going to fall short, while providing details for various pricing options and service specifics might make them want to hit the mute switch - not a good response, either.
Many others simply don't take the time to ensure records for their business are up to date across the web. Outdated phone number? Broken links on your site? These simple issues may seem small, but they add up quickly, and when there's so many listing websites that you need to place your business on, this task may get forgotten relatively easily. Most commonly, incorrect info tends to be hours of operation, street address (especially for those in a marketplace or shopping center), or images of your store or place of work.
Forgetting or missing these details not only makes it more difficult for users to find the info they're looking for ("When does xyz close today?") but it also causes assistants to de-prioritize your result when asked for a list of businesses nearby using certain criteria. If they can't tell the user everything about what they're looking for, why would they mention it?
How do I fix these problems?
Keep up to date with your business listings on sites like Google Maps, Yelp, Facebook, etc. Voice assistants crawl these websites to populate their results, and ensuring you stay on top of your listings in general will usually yield you more positive results overall - for voice and even for traditional searches.
If you need assistance keeping tabs on everything and ensuring you have information available in the cleanest and most assistant-friendly way possible, get in touch, we'd love to help out!