Hey Siri, Where’s the Nearest Coffee Shop? – 72% of Americans Embrace Voice Search

Photo by Patrick Tomasso

As we become increasingly reliant on voice technology in our cars, homes, and mobile devices, businesses need to consider how to optimize for voice search, writes marketing expert Eric Ritter. In this insightful article, Ritter explains what voice search is, why it’s growing so rapidly, and most importantly, what you can do to make sure your business pops up when customers ask their devices for help. 

You’re on the road. And you really need a pick-me-up before your next stop. Why not ask your phone or your car, “where’s the nearest coffee shop?”

That’s the convenience of voice search — the technology that combines speech recognition and AI to understand what you say and respond in kind. You’ve been using it every time you talk with a smart speaker, but it’s much more than that. It’s your smartphone and tablet. It’s also in a lot of cars. How big is this phenomenon? Consider this data from Voicebot.ai:

  • 62% of smartphone voice technology usage occurs while driving.
  • There were more than 70 million monthly active in-car voice assistant users in the U.S. alone last year.
  • 60% of users say voice assistant features influence their decision when buying a car.

It’s no wonder why 70% of vehicles are expected to be connected to the internet this year. So how can your business benefit from this emerging trend? Let’s start at the beginning.

What is voice search marketing?

Voice search marketing is essentially search engine optimization (SEO) for voice searches. And it’s become a force to be reckoned with for two big reasons:

  1. Precision — Voice search has a 95% accuracy rate (in English), which has led to a 72% adoption rate among US residents who are aware of the functionality.
  2. Ease of use — You simply ask a question like “What’s the best coffee shop near me?” and you get answers. It’s completely hands-free and a lot more personable than finger-tapping a robotic query like “coffee near me.”

For the past 20 years, people have been gravitating more and more to this simpler, steadily improving option. So if you want your business to stay relevant, your information needs to be ready for voice searches to find it.

Get optimized for voice search.

While those who type a text search are content getting a simple list, people who ask voice search a question want a thoughtful response as if a person was answering their question. For that reason, you want to populate your site with long-tail keywords.

What is a long-tail keyword? Most people are accustomed to brief keyword phrases (e.g., local coffee shop) that go hand in hand with text searches. Long-tail keywords are more drawn out in line with the way people talk (e.g., “What coffee shop is closest to me?” or “Where can I find the best coffee in downtown Tampa?”). Also, they’re always longer than three words — much longer. According to Semrush, 23 words is the sweet spot across all assistants, and Google Assistant usually returns 41 words on average.

With that in mind, you want to make your content reflective of questions your audience might ask when they’re looking for your business. And remember to be conversational. Use words they use as if you’re a friend or acquaintance ready to help with something they need.

Also, don’t forget the fundamentals, like making sure your website loads fast and is mobile-friendly. And get set up on Google Business and other local directories if you aren’t already. Voice results look to online profiles to pull results, so the more complete and relevant your online presence, the more likely you are to rank for local voice searches.

As you work on each of those things, remember that the main thing to focus on is the consumer experience — demonstrating how easy it is to do business with you by making it easy for prospective customers to find you and get the information they need.

These, of course, are just a few of the basics. They’re all things you can do yourself or with a little help from an expert, so don’t wait. You got this! And if, along the way, you find yourself needing a little pick me up, you know what to do.

Now…where is the best coffee shop around here…?

About Eric Ritter

Eric Ritter is the owner and CEO of Digital Neighbor with 20+ years of experience in advertising and marketing. His neighborly agency stands out as results-driven and proves kindness goes a long way in B2B and B2C. Eric’s passion and expertise are in SEO, for which he acts as a “sommelier” or advisor for clients seeking the best digital solutions.


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