Voice, Mobile and Local Search: What They Do and Why You Need Them

You’ve rushed out the door, buckled yourself into the driver’s seat, but en route to that important meeting you realise you’re about to run out of gas. A quick finger touch on your mobile, ask out loud “Google/Siri, nearest gas station”, and within seconds you’re being directed to the nearest pump. Sound familiar?

Voice search for local services on mobile phones is a modern day convenience an estimated 27% of people around the globe routinely use to connect with nearby products and services via their mobile phones, according to Google. With that number growing by the day, it’s clear why any business wanting to connect with more customers on a local level needs to have search engine optimization (SEO) hyper-geared for voice and local search.

Local and voice search aside, with mobile search volumes finally overtaking desktop search in 2020, we know that smart phones are the device from which the majority of searching happens today. So much so that in mid-2021 Google made mobile-first indexing a priority for websites to receive good Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) ranking.

It follows that in addition to optimizing for voice and local search, optimizing both the front and back-end of your website for mobile is now a non-negotiable in any solid SEO strategy. So let’s dig deeper to see how mobile-first optimization can be geared to get the best out of voice and local search too.

3 Ways To Harness The Power Of Mobile-first SEO

1. Choose Mobile-First Design

We live in an age where smart phones are pulled out at any free moment to pass the time – quite literally for the 75% of Americans who admitted to bringing their mobile phones into the bathroom. This high volume usage makes designing a website to function smoothly across mobile phone platforms absolutely crucial. Some older websites, however, do need to be re-engineered to work well on mobile. A free resource to test how mobile friendly your website is provided by Google here.

‘An in-home eye-tracking study Facebook IQ commissioned in the US  revealed that 94% of participants kept a smartphone on hand while watching TV, making mobile nearly as common a TV companion as a remote control’

When signing on with ATRICA, one of the first things we do is work with the client to make sure their website is truly mobile-first. As the majority of ATRICA’s clients are small, medium- and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs), our support team is geared to guide clients step-by-step through any mobile-first upgrades that may be needed.

2. Write For Voice Search

With smart phones comes the somewhat Star Trek Enterprise level of futuristic technology – voice search. Voice search uses the same principles as typed search in that it’s all linked to keywords, but there is a key difference between typed and voice search. Google, Alexa, Siri – they all perform the function of searching, but in a far more interactive and human-like way. Because of this personable exchange we are more conversational and polite, and the search terms are different compared to typing them out.

For example, when typing in a search phrase it’s common to be short and succinct such as ‘Starbucks operating hours’. Whereas if we voice search it is more likely to be the politer version of ‘Siri, What are the operating hours for Star Bucks?’.

‘20% of queries on Google’s mobile app and Android devices are made with voice, while 31% of smartphone users use voice at least once a week’
Search Engine Watch

This means the keywords a website is using need to include common long-tail keywords found in conversational style text bodies (i.e. the polite, conversational search phrases as opposed to the impolite typed search phrases).

A great way to work on upping long-tail keywords on a website is to head to the FAQ page and add in questions that a potential customer may use in voice search. Create questions around the ‘why, who, what and how’ of a business and then structure great, conversational-style answers to these. Ideally write a short succinct answer in one or two lines under the question that Google will be able to identify and use as a SERP snippet, and then go into more detail below.

A simple example of a good voice-orientated search phrase would be an FAQ like “What time does Mike’s Hardware open and close?”, with the answer, “Mike’s Hardware opens at 7am Monday to Friday and closes at 5pm. On weekends Mike’s hardware is open from 8am to 11am”. Even if the information is repeated more factually elsewhere on the website, this is an easy way to include the information to suit voice search.

3. Optimize For Local Search

Optimizing for local search in the voice- and mobile-first context is particularly significant if a business runs from a physical location or has a shop front. This is because most local business searches are performed on smart phones, especially using voice search.

When customers need a quick answer, it generally means they are ready to make a purchase ASAP and therefore need answers pronto. Think about needing to find a suitable restaurant for lunch, or a shop to buy a spark plug or a bunch of flowers for a friend’s birthday – you need that information immediately to solve an issue. In these cases, you need to make sure that your business is jumping straight to the top of the local pack.

‘Surveys have found that following a local search on a mobile device, 88% of consumers will either call or visit the business within 24 hours’
Local IQ

One way of making sure your web local search is optimized is setting up Google my Business and keeping all contact details (name, address, and phone number) up to date. If any of these details change and a potential customer either tries to call a phone number that no longer exists or arrives at an incorrect address, the business instantly loses credibility and trustworthiness, not to mention a potential sale.

Does ATRICA Optimize For Mobile?

The short answer is yes: ATRICA’s artificial intelligence (AI) software, backed by a team of human SEO experts, ensures that every client’s website is fully optimized for mobile, including voice and local search.

The long answer is: as part of the client onboarding process, ATRICA’s team of experts analyses the client’s website to check for mobile compatibility and related SEO functionality, such as page load speeds and UX (user experience) design. If the tech team finds any mobile-first optimization that needs to be changed or upgraded, the client will be notified immediately. Should these issues be within the tech team’s mandate (i.e. basic SEO functionality that can be adapted on the back-end), ATRICA’s tech gurus will automatically get everything ship-shape for mobile – all at no charge. Should the analysis pull up issues beyond the tech team’s mandate (i.e. the website does not have any mobile-first design, requiring an entire re-design), the team will guide the client through what needs to be done.

Does ATRICA Optimize For Local & Voice Search?

The short answer again is: yes and yes.

The long answer: the 200 Anchor Keywords (AKs) ATRICA’s AI needs to get started are generated based on the client’s location, industry, target audience, business objectives and other variables.

What this means is that geographical region is pivotal to how ATRICA operates. If the client comes from Ottawa in Canada, for example, ATRICA will optimize for Canadian Google search and focus on Ottawa and surrounds as a location.

Likewise, ATRICA’s AI generates Performance Keywords based on the AK’s. Performance Keywords are better performing keywords based on machine learning, and this includes self-optimize for voice search over time. So the longer the AI is on the job, the better it gets at predicting and suggesting long-tail keywords suitable for voice search (i.e. the ‘polite’, conversational search phrases commonly used in voice search).

ATRICA constantly researches and fine-tunes Performance Keywords, including mobile, voice and local search keywords, and implements these on the back-end of a client’s website. At the same time, clients are provided with the best Performance Keywords for mobile, voice and local search to work into new content for their websites in a natural way. Together, this ensures localised search for voice on mobile is included on both the back- and front-end of the client’s website.

All this leads to a clear end result: when your next potential customer asks their mobile ‘Google, find this business near me’ via voice search, your website will come up top of search and that customer will head straight to you to convert their search into real business.

Need more info on how ATRICA can boost your website’s local, voice and mobile SEO? Contact us here

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