Why Small Businesses Need to Be Voice Search Ready in 2022 and Beyond

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    Voice Search Ready Key Takeaways:

    • Voice search is becoming increasingly popular and is changing the way users conduct local searches.
    • Small, local businesses need to be voice search ready to ensure they are not left behind in marketing efforts.
    • Voice-activated technology has been around for a while, but recent advancements and user comfort have led to its widespread adoption.
    • Voice search is not limited to millennials; users across different age groups are utilizing voice search regularly.
    • Approximately 20% of all queries are voice searches, and this number is expected to rise to 50% in the near future.
    • “Near me” searches have increased nearly 900% since 2015 due to the rise of voice search.
    • To prepare for voice search, businesses should ensure their local business data is complete and consistent across various platforms.
    • Google My Business is a crucial platform to be listed on, along with other trusted business directories.
    • Accurate and up-to-date information about the business, such as address, phone number, and hours of operation, is essential.
    • Content on the website should be optimized for voice search by using conversational language, being easy to read and understand, and addressing users’ queries.
    • A keyword-heavy strategy may need to be updated to align with voice search preferences.
    • Creating helpful and informative content that answers customers’ questions is important, and adding an FAQ section to the website can be beneficial.
    • Voice search is already impacting local business marketing and is expected to have a greater impact in the future.
    • Small businesses should start thinking about their voice search readiness and take steps to optimize their online presence.
    • For more information and assistance with voice search readiness, businesses can reach out to Approved Providers Network.

    The increasing popularity of voice search might be the most influential factor affecting small business marketing in 2022. Data shows that users are quickly adopting voice search capable devices and, more importantly, are allowing those devices to change the way they conduct local searches.

    In this post we’re going to talk about why voice search has become so popular, why small, local businesses in particular should be thinking about their voice search readiness, and finally, what you can do to prepare your website to be voice search ready in 2022.

    The Rise of Voice Search

    Despite its more recent growth, voice-activated technology has been around for quite awhile now. In fact, the very first voice-enabled control software, speakable items, was launched by Apple in 1993!

    But if we think about voice-activated devices in their more modern iterations, you could say it began with the launch of Apple’s Siri in 2011. Siri was a “digital assistant” that came preloaded on iPhone 4S devices, and unlike voice-control technology that preceded it, it used advanced machine learning to determine the user’s intent.

    In the following years, several similar voice-activated “digital assistant” technologies were launched including Microsoft’s Cortana, Samsung’s Bixby, and of course, Amazon’s Alexa devices in 2015.

    Voice search, as well as other voice-activated features, weren’t widely adopted immediately but have seen growing usage as the technology has improved and users have become more comfortable with it overall.

    Nowadays, every smartphone has voice-search functionality by default and smart home devices like the Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and others are achieving record sales. I might not have any data to support it, but I also believe that more bluetooth-enabled vehicles and more users becoming familiar with using their devices hands-free behind the wheel has has contributed, at least in part, to an increase in voice search adoption.

    How Voice Search is Affecting Small Businesses

    What I certainly do have data to support is that users across multiple demographics are taking advantage of voice search to find the information they need – especially when it comes to their local area.

    First, let’s talk a little bit about demographics. If you think it’s only millenials taking advantage of voice search – think again. 32% of smart speaker owners are in the 37-52 age group, and 15% are 53 or older. 65% of consumers age 25-49 use their voice-enabled devices at least once every day.

    This means that all business owners should be concerned about their voice-search readiness in the coming year – not just those trying to reach a younger and more tech-savvy customer base.

    According to Google, 20% of all queries are voice-searches. This alone is impressive enough to be worth marketers’ and business owners’ attention, but some research suggests that might be up to 50% in 2020.

    In addition, “near me” searches are up nearly 900% since 2015. This qualifier which had begun to trend downward has seen a massive surge with the rise of voice search.

    To summarize, voice-enabled devices and by extension, voice search, are seeing wide adoption and usage across a variety of demographics. In addition, consumers seeking information about or directions to businesses in their local area is on the rise.

    How to Prepare for Voice Search

    If your goal is to be voice search ready by mid-2020 you need to start preparing now. While nobody has a formula for guaranteed success, there are some best practices that have been identified to boost voice search performance.

    Local Business Data

    First, your local business data needs to be complete and consistent across every platform on which it is listed. One of the ways that Google finds and qualifies businesses to show to users making local queries is by pulling information from more than five dozen trusted business directories. Some of these are widely known such as Yelp, YellowPages, Manta and Foursquare.

    Naturally, the first one you’ll need to be on is Google My Business. Beyond that there are dozens more which should show accurate and up-to-date information about your business including your address, phone number, hours of operation, and other information.

    Think about it – if Google’s goal is to help its users find what they’re looking for, are they going to show a business which its address can’t even be confirmed? What if Google’s algorithms can’t even determine whether they’re currently open for business?

    Ensuring that your business information is accurate, available, and most importantly, consistent is vital to voice search readiness. It’s important to note that this isn’t a set-it and forget-it process. Where your business information exists across the web and what information is provided needs to be monitored regularly to ensure it stays accurate and consistent.

    Content

    The content on your website also needs to be easily found and interpreted easily by Google’s algorithms. For those who already have a digital marketing or SEO strategy in place, this one should be pretty simple.

    Google has preferred the type of content that performs well in voice queries for years now. Content that uses conversational language, is easy to read and understand, and is helpful to the user making the query is going to have the best performance in both traditional and voice-activated searches.

    If you’re using a more outdated keyword-heavy strategy on your website, you might need to give your content an overhaul – especially if you’ve noticed declining search engine performance lately.

    Otherwise, just keep creating helpful, informative content that answers you customers’ most common questions and concerns. Since Google loves FAQs for quick answers to voice-queries, maybe consider adding and FAQ segment to your website that answers some of the most searched questions related to your industry.

    Voice Search is Here – is Your Business Ready?

    Voice search is already having a major impact on local business marketing, and it’s positioned to increase even more in the coming year. The time to start thinking about your voice search readiness in now.

    We’ve talked about how voice search has arrived where it is today, why that matters to small business owners in particular and talked about two ways you can improve your businesses voice-search readiness today.

    If you have any questions about voice search, or want more information about how you can position your company to take full advantage of its growing popularity in the coming year, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Approved Providers Network today. We’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.

    Businesses Need to Be Voice Search Ready FAQs

    What impact does voice search have on small business marketing in 2022 and beyond?

    Voice search is becoming increasingly popular and changing the way users conduct local searches, making it a significant factor in small business marketing.

    When did voice-activated technology gain significant growth and adoption?

    Voice-activated technology, starting with Apple’s Siri in 2011, has driven its growth and adoption in recent years.

    Is voice search limited to millennials?

    No, users across multiple age groups are taking advantage of voice search, with 65% of consumers aged 25-49 using voice-enabled devices daily.

    What percentage of queries can be attributed to voice search, and what is the projected increase by 2022?

    Currently, 20% of all queries are attributed to voice search, and this percentage is expected to increase to 50% by 2022.

    What has driven the significant surge in %22near me%22 searches?

    The rise of voice search has driven a massive surge in “near me” searches, which have increased nearly 900% since 2015.

    How should small businesses prepare for voice search?

    Small businesses should ensure their local business data is complete, accurate, and consistent across various platforms, including Google My Business and other trusted directories.

    How should the content on a website be optimized for voice search?

    The content should use conversational language, be easy to read and understand, and provide helpful answers to user queries to optimize for voice search.

    Why is it important for businesses to regularly monitor and update their business information and content?

    Regular monitoring and updating of business information and content is crucial to maintain voice search readiness and ensure accuracy and consistency.

    What type of content does Google prefer for voice queries?

    Google prefers content that performs well in voice queries, such as helpful and informative content. Including an FAQ section can also improve visibility in voice-activated searches.

    When should small businesses start considering their voice search readiness?

    Small businesses need to start thinking about their voice search readiness now because voice search is already impacting local business marketing and is expected to have an even greater impact in the future.

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