Why Voice Search is Changing the Future for Local Businesses in the UK
Love them or loathe them, voice activated search engines are here to stay – and they are big business! With the recent release of the Google Now app for iPhones and iPads this April (the voice activated search engine’s first appearance outside of the Android platform), the levels of smart phone users utilising Siri are expected to drop as more people turn to Google Now for its wealth of information on local businesses in the UK.
Who’s benefiting from voice engines?
Who really benefits from voice search? Users installing the Google Now app for iPhone (or already using it on Android) can expect local information which is smarter and works harder – Google uses the individual’s location as well as information gleaned from earlier searches to provide smart answers to everyday questions, such as ‘Where is my nearest hairdressers?’
Sadly, local information on Siri in the UK is still quite limited and aimed at the US market – ask it where your nearest Pizza Express is and it will tell you it can’t look for restaurants in the United Kingdom. This is frustrating at the best of times…
So local businesses are not really benefiting from Siri alone but thanks to Google Now app for iPhone and with more than half the UK’s population now owning a smart phone and using voice search technology, this is a huge market that local businesses could be cashing in on, if Apple would only update the technology! Google are giving Apple a run for their money with the release of Google Now, which comes hot on the heels of Google Maps replacement of the much maligned Apple Maps in the iOS update last year. Google Voice Search is a reliable way to look for local businesses, and there are some steps that local companies can take to ensure that they show up in voice activated search results.
Ensuring your business gets noticed
By making sure your company has an accurate Google Places page in place, you can increase your chances of Google Now and other Voice Engine Optimisation software finding your business. Make sure to include keywords that describe your business that people will use when activating a voice search. Adding multimedia content and positive customer reviews to your Google Places page will ensure that when your company shows up in voice search results, it will be at or close to the top of the page – Google Now often sorts results by rating and popularity. For instance, if you’re searching for the ‘best Vietnamese restaurants in London’ Google Now will bring back a list sorted by proximity and customer ratings. You really can’t afford to not spend time creating the best Google Places page possible for your business – the future of searching is definitely voice activated, as the recent release of Google Now for Apple products clearly demonstrates.
As Siri grows more advanced and benefits from future updates, users in the UK will hopefully be able to search for local businesses in much the same way as Siri searches in the US (it uses Yelp). This means that by creating a Yelp profile including customer reviews and multimedia content, local businesses will be able to increase the likelihood of showing up in the first few search results when a Siri search is carried out. Currently, Siri users in the UK can’t search for local businesses, so many people who rely on voice activated search engines will be driven to download the Google Now app for easy voice searching locally.
As voice search continues to grow in popularity thanks to its ease of use and the ability to find the information we need quickly and easily, local businesses need to jump on board the bandwagon by ensuring that they have a noticeable presence not only on their websites, but also on Google Places and Yelp – voice search is changing the way we search forever, and those companies who do not update the way they market their business will be left behind.Voice Search is Changing the Future for Local Businesses