As the holiday season is well underway, the shopping frenzy is upon us to find the perfect gift. While that is unique to each person, there is a gift that’s appealing to all ages this year: voice assistants. Whether it’s Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana or others, the usage of voice-enabled devices are on the rise. A study by Adobe Analytics revealed that after this holiday season, smart-speaker ownership will hit 48 percent.
This is due to the increasing desire to always have answers at our fingertips. Today, we are going to explore why and how search is changing as voice-enabled devices evolve with consumer expectation.
The Increase of “Near Me” Search
Now more than ever, with a typed search or voice search, consumers are adding the qualifier “near me” to hone in on location-based results – a game changer not only impacting the “mom and pop” businesses, but all markets that lie within a geographic area.
When consumers add “near me” to a search, they are seeking instant results to what they need at that moment. Whether it’s a plumber, doctor, restaurant, department store or other place of business, correct information on listings across the board has never been more crucial. If the name, address and phone number (NAP) on a particular business listing is missing or incorrect, it will likely not surface in a “near me” search.
“Near me” is up 900 percent, and business owners need to start reframing their digital strategies with this in mind.
The Impatient Consumer
This is the age of what can be dubbed the “Impatient Consumer.” The impatient consumer, which can also be referred to as the “Super-Empowered Consumer,” exists in all of us; we are accustomed to the modern world we have created and like the instant gratification of having the answers to our queries in seconds. Enter, the appeal of voice search.
At first thought, one would think that voice search is something that would primarily appeal to the younger generations. While it certainly does, in 2018 the largest age range of consumers utilizing voice search technology was between the ages 35-44, as reported by Stone Temple Consulting.
This technology has expanded beyond basic microphone-enabled mobile search into whole-home connection capability, like with the Google Home Hub that is topping Christmas lists everywhere this year. The impatient consumer has never had more access to information; all they have to do is ask and they shall receive in today’s world.
Why Being Ready Is Necessary
Voice search is a new standard for both large and small businesses. No matter what the person is searching for, they want to find it in minutes, and correctly. This means that it’s our responsibility as marketers, business owners and strategists to make sure that every bit of information about the businesses we represent is correct. This goes beyond just business listings; it expands to the business’ website, social media and local profiles. Additionally, there need to be processes and practices in place to monitor this data in real-time. There are companies, such as Advice Local, that take on this task for businesses and brands.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to start optimizing your digital and marketing strategies to accommodate for the demand of voice search. It’s here to stay.
Bernadette Coleman is CEO of Advice Local, an award-winning local search technology and local presence management company focused on improving client visibility across the local digital universe. Known as the Queen of Local SEO, you can find her speaking nationally on local SEO and search strategies for businesses and brands.