For years, we’ve all worked on SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, to get our names out there and associated with specific words and phrases we knew our customers would type into a search engine to find us. Now that customers are saying their searches out loud, how does that change things?
Today’s voice searches happen via smartphone tools like Siri and Google Search, and via home assistants like Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod.
What words do customers type?
It still matters because many searches still happen on tablets, laptops and even by typing searches on phones. To pick the right keywords, you have to know what people search for. What is your customer thinking when they type a search for the solution you offer? They don’t know your name or your business yet. All they know is their own problem.
For my liquor store, we saw a lot of search phrases like “liquor store” and our town name.
What words do customers say?
It’s a little different when you speak a search instead of typing it. They may be shorter and more to the point.
Think of starting with this phrase, “Siri, find me…” and what would they say next? They still don’t know your business name, but they know what they’re looking for.
For my liquor store, we saw searches in our analytics that looked like they were probably done via voice. Searchers asked for phrases like “liquor store near me” and specific products like “tequila.” (I can just imagine people saying to their phone, “Find me tequila!”) Customers weren’t just searching for the type of business but also the specific thing they wanted.
Especially as small town stores diversify their product lines, customers aren’t sure which particular store they need. They search for the item.
My local sewing machine center carries adult coloring books and handcrafted gift items. Customers aren’t going to guess that from the name of the business.
Small town stores have to write a lot more online about all the unusual and unexpected product lines they carry so they show up in terse voice searches for specific products.
You can do this on your own website, your social channels and on search profiles like Google My Business.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.