- By Colleen McNamara
You have the long-tail keywords. You have the website copy that reads like a real person, speaking real words, using real (tested) questions. Your 2019 search marketing KPIs also speak to your new, voice-friendly objectives.
All signs are pointing toward a marketer that knows voice search is forever changing the way consumers look for products and services around them. But, can you confidently assess how advanced — or behind — your voice search tactics are at this very moment?
We already know that 50% of searches will be voice by just next year, but the real power of optimizing your local presence to align with voice queries is only starting to rear its head. 22% of these voice searches are location based; in other words, rich with buying intent — and worth the time and effort to ensure your local content reflects the uniqueness of every community.
Building a localized voice search strategy at a national scale is no easy feat: multiple websites, social pages, listings descriptions and landing pages will need to be optimized. But if you don’t lay the groundwork now, that 22% of search will be going to your competitors.
Take a look at our 3-part checklist to see if you’re on the right track.
VOICE SEARCH CHECKLIST :
THE THREE KEY THINGS NATIONAL BRANDS NEED TO DO TO SUCCEED
1 – Think beyond long-tail keyword and start thinking ‘question phrases’
Up until recently, SEO specialists stated long-tail keywords were solving for voice search needs of consumers. This idea has evolved significantly, and experts are now saying that ‘question phrases’ more accurately describe the type 1 billion per month voice queries that Google receives each month.
The good news? The information is hiding in plain sight! Look to your organic data and PPC data to see what types of questions are being asked, and what consumers are curious about and/or value on your reviews. We can almost guarantee that queries are different based on demographic, so taking the time to understand demand on a per-community basis is the key to success.
If you need a quick refresher on solid keyword practices, check out this guide from Search Engine Watch.
2 – Start your voice search refinement journey for the busiest locations
Like traditional local SEO, voice search is a long-term investment. Depending on the number of locations you have, your roadmap for implementing smart voice search practices could be anywhere from two months to 12.
A good way to save time, however, is understanding your data at scale. You can use Sentiment Analysis to evaluate your successful locations based on how they answered questions for their customers. Use their search data and organic traffic to try and find commonalities – are people searching for “the best” in their area? Then you may need to consider reputation management as a key focus for all your locations. Have you found a pattern that in suburban areas weekend searches for “groups” or “teams” go up? Ensure each location that categorizes as such is staffed, set up and ready to cater to that demand.
It’s more than just ensuring your site’s metadata and content is “question-friendly”; you need to understand if your business model across locations answers those needs as well! No matter what, always keep in mind that this isn’t a one-and-done tactic, so you won’t see result right away. Like a garden, it needs to be tended to constantly to really flourish.
3 – Voice search is a vital tactic in your larger goal to drive more sales through personalization
If you’re one of the team members that needs to argue in favor of search budget (we sympathize with you!), remember that voice search isn’t simply about getting more visibility for your brand, or driving consumers to your website. Localized voice search is key to intelligently personalizing your marketing strategy. While your competitors (and you) are personalizing communications, content, and ultimately products – remember that ensuring relevant information is being served to customers — in every zip code — is one of the “basics” that can’t be forgotten.
If you can connect your local search budget to long-term revenue – the budget comes a little more easily. Localized voice search is the foundation of smart personalization for customers looking to convert in-store. Without investing in it, you’re likely missing out on valuable in-store sales.
Want to learn more about how voice search and local marketing can work together to drive more in-store sales? Reach out to us today.