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don’t get fooled: the truth about ‘voice search directories’ and your local business

Naturally, every small business owner wants to be seen and heard. Many of you have no doubt encountered companies claiming that your company is not “listed” in a special voice search directory. They tell you that to be found by potential customers using voice search (with their smart phone, voice assistants, etc.) you need to pay a certain amount or you’ll be missing out.

But is this really true? Let’s set the record straight once and for all and then explore the best ways to position your local business for success in front of the ever-growing voice search market.

The Myth of the Voice Search Directory

There is no magic “voice search directory” that guarantees you’ll be the answer when someone asks their phone, “Find the best [your service] near me.”

Voice assistants like Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana rely on information from various sources to deliver the most relevant responses. Sources that you are probably already listed in and are at least aware of.

Beware of the scammers scaring small businesses into giving them their hard-earned money.

Understanding how these sources work empowers you to take control of your online presence and attract customers through voice search, without falling victim to misleading claims.

Voice search is on the rise. How can your company be found?
More and more people are using voice search. Besides using a smart phone, popular voice search devices are called voice assistants. The largest brands come from giants such as Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft.

Where Voice Assistants Find Their Information

So, where do voice assistants get their business information?

Here are the key players:

  1. Search Engines (Especially Google): Think of voice search tools like Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa as extensions of Google Search. If your business ranks well in Google Search results for relevant keywords, you’re already on the right track for voice search success.
  2. Local Business Listings: Platforms like Google Business Profile, Yelp, Apple Maps, and industry-specific directories are crucial. These listings provide vital details about your business, like address, phone number, category, and customer reviews. Consistent and accurate information across these platforms is essential.
  3. Reviews: Positive reviews on local business listings build trust with potential customers and can influence search ranking. Actively encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews, and respond promptly to all reviews, especially negative ones. A professional response to a negative review can demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction.

How to Make Your Local Business Shine in Voice Search

Now that I’ve debunked the “voice search directory” myth, let’s delve into actionable steps you can take to improve your voice search visibility:

1. Claim and Optimize Your Google Business Profile Listing:

This is absolutely essential. A Google Business Profile is a free tool that allows you to manage how your business appears in Google Search and Maps (including voice search results).

Here’s how to get started:

  • Claim Your Listing: If you haven’t already, head to Google Business: https://business.google.com/ and claim your business profile. This process usually involves verifying your location through a postcard or phone call.
  • Optimize Your Listing: Once claimed, fill out your profile completely and accurately. This includes your business name, address, phone number, website URL, social media pages (fairly new), your business categories, description, products, services, high-quality photos, and opening hours. The more information you provide, the better.

2. Get Listed on Other Local Directories:

While Google Business is crucial, expanding your online presence by listing your business on other relevant directories like Yelp, Apple Maps, Bing Places, and industry-specific directories, can further enhance your visibility. Make sure the information you provide across all platforms is consistent. The more directories you can fill with your company information (and keywords), the better your chances are of being found by voice searchers.

3. Encourage Positive Reviews and Respond Promptly:

As you probably know, customer reviews hold immense power in today’s business world. Positive reviews build trust and improve your search ranking. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on your Google Business Profile and other platforms you’re listed on. Responding to both positive and negative reviews shows you value customer feedback.

Need some help? Since we are in the thick of this SEO stuff, we have methods that will help you get your small business the best chance to appear on voice search results. Give us a call at (916) 243-6660 – it’s still free to talk to us – or send us a message.

4. Optimize Your Website for Mobile:

The majority of voice searches still happen on mobile devices. Make sure your website loads quickly, has a clear and user-friendly design and is easy to navigate on a small screen. Use a responsive web design that adapts to different screen sizes.

5. Target Long-Tail Keywords:

Long-tail keywords are specific phrases people might use in voice searches. Instead of focusing on broad terms like “pest control,” consider keywords like “rodent control near Mountain View, CA” or “best way to get rid of rats in San Jose.”

6. Create High-Quality, Local Content:

Develop informative content relevant to your services and local area. This could include blog posts like “5 Signs You Might Have a Rodent Problem” or “Top Tips for Keeping Your Home Pest-Free.” High-quality content establishes you as a local expert and attracts organic traffic to your website.

Now that you know that you should hang up on those scam calls and delete those scam emails and even scam texts, continue to optimize your business presence online and get some awesome, positive reviews. Doing those things is the best way to appear in voice searches.

please note: I will be constantly updating this article as I find new information, change my mind, or if I hear feedback that I haven’t thought of – by people like YOU. I’ll also update this article if I think of ways to improve it. Without a doubt, keep checking back. Share this article with those who you think could use the help and please write your comments and questions below. It could help me…and others.

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