Local Search has been the thing that has been replacing the phone book or yellow pages slowly since the 90s and voice has really made this shift at an even higher rate as the older generations are using it more and more. The process of doing the voice search “find a business near me” is the same process to find a business as using the yellow pages. The customer is motivated, has a need for a service, product, or business type, and wants to locate one in their location.
Here is the version from our older co-founder Dean on how he looks at voice search.
Here is the version of how our younger co-founder Rob looks at voice search.
Networks Your Business Needs To Be On To Be Optimized For Voice Search
See a full list of networks that matter to your Local SEO and all of the ones we connect.
To-Do List To Better Optimize Your Business
- Post Updates once a week to the networks that allow (this should even include your blog)
- Publish Photos once a week to the platforms that allow
- Generate lots of reviews and reply to new ones (we have an awesome way to make this easy on Simply Be Found)
Ranking On A Voice Search Is Determined By Business Profile Activity Not Alphabetical.
Unlike the yellow pages, today’s businesses cannot position themselves alphabetically to be first seen on the page listing the business types. I am sure many of us remember the “A” game for a names designed to be seen first, A Plumbing, AA Plumbing, AAA Plumbing etc. You could also make your listing name bold or red to try and capture the attention of the customer. Additionally, to find local customers in your service area you had to list in multiple phone books.
That became an expensive process for businesses, and you never knew how many people were looking at your name in the yellow pages if they didn’t call. Also, if your name wasn’t at the top of the page was that the reason for low customer contacts.
The phone book yellow page process was static and could only be updated once a year. That is a long time for a business to survive if you made a mistake or needed to update your information.
Today you can be dynamic and make the changes to your business profile as often as necessary to get you to the top of the business listing that a customer is looking for.
Why Do You Want To Be Seen At The Top?
So why is it so important to be at the top of the list? Well, we as customers are all wanting to do the least amount of work possible to find a business, so we start at the top of the list in the business search process. Voice doesn’t put you at the top based on the size of your business, how long you have been in business, or the alphabetical organization of your name. Again activity and consistency of your business information and profile determine to rank.
The internet algorithms connect the customer to your business based on the geolocation of your business to the customer’s voice search and how much information you have provided to the search engine for a match to happen. So how does that work?
- First, you have been active and placed photos, and posts about your business. Google recommends one to three per week. The more this function is used the more the algorithms will pay attention to your business.
- Second, you need to make sure that your business information is correct and consistent on all networks and search engines. This information is your business name, address, and phone number as marketing and advertising firms like the acronym NAP. It will be imperative that you use “Street” in your address on one network and then “St.” on another, search engines see the inconsistency and reduce the confidence of your business to match you with the customer’s voice search.
- Third, make sure your business hours are up to date showing any changes in special times for holidays and flex hours during the week so that a customer does not become frustrated in contacting you. If you are closed and contact is attempted, you will probably never get another chance to sell to that customer.
- Next, pay attention to reviews and respond to them. This needs to be done for positive and negative reviews. This is one of the major points the customers of the 21st Century base their decisions on if you rank on the front page of the search.
- The last part is if you have a website where the information is current and up to date. It is the online business card that provides more confidence to the customer to make the connection with your business.
Who Are These Networks?
All this can be done for free by a business by updating to all the voice search networks, search engines, and internet networks. It does take time and you need to ensure that it is done often enough to ensure consistency. Here are just a few of the networks needing your business information: Google My Business now called Google Business Profile, Google Maps along with Bing, Facebook now Meta, Apple Maps, and Foursquare get information also.
All these networks provide higher confidence to the search algorithms matching the customer to a voice search on: Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Bixby, and Google Assistant.
Simply Be Found provides a platform for its members that has a proprietary to-do list that will guide you in all the steps necessary to complete all the tasks listed earlier. Every time you log in as a member you will see the to-do list specific to your business and industry type. It will change as needed every time you log in. We do all the communication with the networks and ensure that your business is updating to get you to the top of the search list.