Voice search is growing at an accelerated rate. I am talking about the consumer taking their mobile phone and conducting their Internet search using their voice.
Research states that most adults uses voice search at least once per day.
Voice Search: First – An Education
I want to start by first providing an education and telling you exactly what this process is and how it works.
Mobile phones are now equipped with AI intelligence called assistants to help you with your voice searches.
You are probably familiar with one of them. If you have an iPhone you have Siri, if you have a Samsung, it’s Bixby.
If you have a Google phone obviously you have their assistant. If you use Amazon a lot perhaps you have an echo and you use it to talk with Alexa to reorder anything on your Prime list.
Alexa can now control most everything in your home from your garage door, to your grocery shopping, even turning on your faucet in an effort to be hands-free.
If you have a Microsoft computer you are probably familiar with Cortana.
You can also use Cortana, and Alexa on an Android Phone. You just have to download the app and install it.
Now let me make something very clear.
Voice assistants are NOT the Internet.
They simply take your request and search the already existing information on the Internet in an effort to grant your query.
However, they can take commands to do different things for example, Alexa can tell you a story or sing you a song if you’re feeling down. (Don’t do this, she is a terrible singer and needs to focus on her assistant job.) 🤣
She can also educate you on the various levels of love and how they are different between a romantic relationship and a mother and daughter relationship.
Voice Search: Types of Searches
Another important thing to take into consideration when it comes to a voice assistant is there are 3 types of searches.
A general question search:
“Hey Alexa what’s the longest mountain range in the United States?”
A suggestion or opinion search:
“Google tell me all the restaurants near me?”
(BTW a popular question I get asked is can they tell you how many reviews a restaurant has and as of today, no they cannot. But their search result won’t be returned unless they are higher than most.)
A direction question or request:
“Hi Siri call Mom.”
Voice Searches: Where Does the Assisants Get Their Information?
If you have an iPhone you have Siri as your voice assistant. Apple’s Siri currently has 36% market share of voice search. So where does Siri get info?
General question information comes from Google and Wikipedia.
Just FYI there is some very interesting drama here. Maybe more interesting to me than you but hey I will enlighten you just the same.
Siri used to have an exclusive relationship with Microsoft’s Bing. However, in 2017 Apple dumped Microsoft’s Bing as the default search platform for their platform and decided to go with Google.
They said the reason why they made the switch was to create a more “consistent web search experience” for its users, since Google is currently the default search engine on its Safari browser.
But just so you know about 3 billion dollars changed hands on their deal and that is about what Google pays Apple each year.
Where does Siri get data? For local business data Siri searches Apple Maps, Google My Business Places, and Yelp.
The Google Assistant has 36% (So Siri & Google are tied for market share as of now.) of the voice search market share and I am pretty sure you can guess where it gets all of its information from. If you guessed Google you would be correct! Where does the Google Assistant get data?
So, to optimize for Google Assistant make sure all your information is correct on Google maps, the Google search (Chrome) and Google My Business.
Let’s talk about the underdog Cortana for a bit. Cortana does have about 13% of the market (1 in 5 voice searches are conducted with Cortana) share BUT the reason why is because it’s a bit of a forced application. It is embedded in a computer if you buy Microsoft or Xbox.
Cortana gets general information from Bing Business Places and Yelp.
I have read that Bixby has 3% of the voice assistant market share, but have found conflicting data so it has to be somewhere around that number. I happen to have a Samsung smart refrigerator and use Bixby to help me find recipes etc.
My husband has it on his phone and says he does not like it, he prefers to go right to Google for searches.
Bixby is a bit of a different animal, it is more like a true virtual assistant and it seems Samsung really wants it to be great at taking commands and being a hub for your home – not searching the Internet.
It puts searching your phone for info ahead of searching the Internet. However, Google is the default search engine for information gathered by Bixby outside of your phone.
I saved Alexa for last for a few reasons. First, it’s the most complex and secondly there is a lot of controversy surrounding Alexa due to an upswing in marketing scams which I am about to fully explain so this DOES NOT happen to you!
First off Alexa dominates the smart speaker market with a 70% share. However, when it comes to voice search only has 25%.
Alexa gets local business data, photos and reviews from Yelp. When asked a general search question Alexa goes to Wikipedia, Answers.com and many other websites along those lines.
Alexa Scam Alert
For the last 2 years businesses are getting slammed with robocalls and solicitations by marketing companies selling the service of “being listed on voice search with Alexa”.
They are being incredibly misleading and prefacing their service as actually BEING Alexa and even going as far as to say your company won’t be listed without their service.
THIS IS A SCAM.
Now here’s what’s really happening.
If you haven’t heard of them there is a company by the name of Yext.
Basically, they are a business that sells a service of submitting your business to tons of online directory sites.
In 2018 Yext entered into a partnership with Amazon that allows them to submit their business listings to Alexa.
Just so you know you CANNOT pay to be listed on Alexa however you can pay Yext for their services and your name, address and phone number to be sent to Alexa and also in the process 100 other random business directories.
Basically, you are paying a yearly fee of around $250 (and upwards depending on the package you buy) a year for a dashboard that sends your business information to about 100 business directories in one swoop.
You can also use their dashboard to update your listings if you ever close your business or move.
Here is an example of the type of verbiage a scammer uses to sell you web directory services:
Have you remembered to activate voice search for your business?
Activate it here in 30 seconds:
Without activation, customers may not be able to find perfectmarketingequation.com with voice searches on Google, Amazon Alexa or mobile phones.
Notice how they mentioned “activating” voice search – you do NOT activate voice search.
It is not a button you push. You simply optimize all the appropriate Internet pieces that voice search uses and THAT is the process.
Notice how they also use a scare tactic like without activation customers may not be able to find your business? There is NO ACTIVATION!
I did call this person and when she found out who I was and that I was knowledgeable she hung up on me.
Go figure. 🤔 🤣
They use these tactics on uneducated business owners successfully which is why I am so passionate about education!
Why I Don’t Think the Average Business Owner Needs Yext
Let me tell you why you DO need a marketing company or a marketing person like me.
You DO need me if you want to get more leads and grow your business.
However, if you simply want to be listed in voice search or business directories for that matter you DO NOT need me or any marketing company for that matter.
You are a very large business that has many locations for example the Hilton Hotels or a McDonald’s restaurant. Managing directories on that scale needs an automation process. There are lots of moving pieces and lots of changes on a regular basis.
However, most of the businesses they are targeting do not really need this service. There are literally only about 5 to 7 online directories that have ANY value in being listed in for any given business model.
As a small business owner in a matter of a couple of hours you could have that DONE and save yourself a bunch of money you could put toward something that will actually grow your business like Google ads for example.
Once you have listed your business in those few directories unless you move or close what are you paying a monthly fee for? You’re already done!
You can manage that process YOURSELF and not have the headache.
Most directories they list your business on is unnecessary, unsearched, and has NO search engine optimization value WHATSOEVER.
I also stumbled across articles that suggest if you sign up with Yext and decide to cancel, all of your listings get deleted. I have no idea if that is actually true and I did not have the time to dig that deep into it.
If you’re considering signing up with Yext you should first do your research. Also look at their reviews.
I found very mixed reviews for Yext and many of them were very bad. So just do your research and learn from the mistakes of others before you sign any contracts and lose money.
How to Get Your Business Listed on Voice Search
Now I will tell you how to get your business listed on voice search and it won’t cost you anything but some time. No monthly fees. No contracts.
Google My Business – (Siri & Google Voice Search)
This is THE MOST important piece! I personally feel like Google My Business is becoming more important that your website. Make sure it is optimized well and you should have an ongoing effort when it comes to acquiring reviews.
I will tell you that making this piece a priority will MAKE YOUR BUSINESS MONEY.
Also, keep in mind if you do an organic search for any business model only the top 3 business results are seen in the search and then the searcher has to click to see more.
Voice search is the same, it will return 2 to 3 results and that’s it. If you want your business listed in those results you have to be optimized and have the most reviews.
By the way all the people complaining they paid Yext for their service and their business is still not being returned in the results THIS IS WHY and what they DO NOT educate you on.
Being listed is NOT enough you have to rank high enough for your result to be returned to the searcher. Alexa is not going to send to the searcher 20 results she is only going to share 2 or 3 tops.
Bing Business Listing (Cortana Voice Search)
Most everyone misses this one. It’s definitely not going to bring your business leads like Google My Business but it is very important to voice search. So, if you haven’t done it head over to Bing and claim your business listing there.
Yelp (Siri, Alexa, & Cortana Voice Search)
Yelp is NOT a search engine by the way. It is instead a very elaborate web directory. However, due to its importance to voice search it has relevance in your endeavor. So, head over to Yelp and use all the bells and whistles that are free to your business.
Historically you had way more free opportunities with Yelp when it came to your listing. BUT when they started becoming so crucial in the voice search movement and realized they were needed they started charging a fee for a “profile upgrade”.
Here’s a little secret, you don’t need it to rank on voice search you just need lots of reviews and that is FREE. Also, just FYI the Bing search engine doesn’t have a review process like Google they pull theirs from Yelp.
So, make a good effort to get your customers to visit Yelp and review your business. Pick about 10 or 20 of your best customers and offer them a gift card or something to review your business, trust me the pay-off is worth it!
Your Voice Search To Do List
- Make sure your Google My Business is optimized to the NINE’S! Make sure you don’t have any duplicate listings that really hurts!
- Create an ongoing effort to get reviews from Google My Business. ($$$)
- Claim and optimize your Apple Maps business listing.
- Claim and optimize your Bing business listing.
- Claim and optimize your Yelp business listing.
- Create an ongoing effort to get customers to give you reviews on Yelp.
If you have any questions about this feel free to email me just click here. I hope you find this useful to your voice search efforts!