By using your Google My Business page you can boost your website traffic with voice search.
If you are wondering what GMB is, youíre in trouble. It stands for Google My Business page. Google Voice Search is a voice command that allows users to search the Web using Google through spoken voice commands rather than typing.
Voice search is nothing new, so why has there been so much buzz about it over the past couple of years? Seotribunal sent us an infographic that states an entire 325 million people use voice search on a regular basis, so there is a definite increase in its popularity compared to a few years ago.
As AI becomes more advanced, our virtual assistants become a lot more capable. Take Siri, for example, uses voice commands to purchasing an item like food and electronics to kicking up your favorite tunes.
Machine Learning Has Changed the Game
In the beginning, Siri was able to perform simple searches through voice recognition. The results were not bad, as long as she could comprehend what you were saying. In the earliest versions, if you had even a trace of an accent, Siri probably couldnít understand a thing.
Additionally, there was often a disconnect between the searches themselves because Siri was not always able to understand natural speech. So, you may not have gotten the results that you wanted, just because she didnít understand what you wanted.
Fast forward to today, and Siri and her peers have learned a lot about search queries. Now they know how to recognize natural speech patterns. If they do not understand a term used in the search, they can analyze the rest of the request to see if they can figure out what the context of the search is.
The result is that getting accurate search results from voice search is easier than ever before because of better recognition technology. Add in the increased capabilities of the latest generation of virtual assistants Ė like being able to book appointments, buy airline tickets, etc. and they have moved from being just a novelty item to something that is useful.
People are Responding
A recent study by Cap Gemini, conducted across the United Kingdom, United States, France, and Germany, shows that voice assistants are making a huge impact. 51% of consumers surveyed already used voice assistants. For 81% of smartphone users, interacting with the phone, through voice actions, was the method that they used most often.
What That Means for Your Business
Regarding SEO, the popularization of voice search is good news for small businesses, especially when it comes to local searches. If you correctly optimize your site for voice queries and work at creating a sterling Google My Business Page, you will have a definite edge in local SEO.
How Do I Optimize my Page for Voice Search?
It is a lot simpler than you think, so we are just going to touch on the basics in this section. If you want a complete overview, check out the ď5 Laws for Everyone who wants to Optimize for Voice Search.Ē For this post, however, we are going to focus on one critical aspect Ė your Google My Business page, rather than your website itself.
Get Your Google My Business Page in Order
You want to create a flawless Google My Business Page and work to get it into the top three positions on Google Maps. Start off by claiming your GMB Page if you havenít done so already. Make sure that all the fields are filled out. The more complete the profile is, the better it looks to Google.
Optimize Your Description
Google allows you to create a description of your business. Think about long-tail keywords that people might include if they are looking for your services. This will enable you to drive more targeted traffic to your GMB page and also to your website.
You can do the same thing for your main web page as well. There is less competition for the longer-tail keywords than there is for the general ones, so be specific. Also, incorporate language that locals might use.
This is where you can outdo the larger brands. Use local phrases that are unique to your town. Think about what people would say if they were trying to search for a business like yours.
There is one last thing to be said about keywords Ė make sure that the text flows naturally. You want the description to entice people to click through to your site or visit your business. Unnaturally stuffing in keywords is not a good policy if what you want is to create a polished impression.
Say, for example, you run a coffee shop in Tampa. A natural long-tailed keyword would be ďcoffee shop Tampa.Ē Writing ďBest coffee shop TampaĒ is not necessarily wrong, but most people would say something like, ďBest coffee shop in Tampa.Ē Leaving out the ďInĒ seems unnatural.
Make Sure That All The Online Details Match
Be especially careful to use the same details, such as your address, phone numbers, etc. that you do on your main website. Do yourself a favor and Google your companyís name. Check that these details are all correct in any directory your business is listed.
Googleís algorithm is sensitive enough to pick up fallacies in this information. The more discrepancies it finds, the less credible your site starts to look.
Verify Your Business
Once everything is complete, you will have the opportunity to verify your details. Depending on where your business is, you will be asked to confirm by phone, mail, or email. Google sends out a code, and you will need to enter that code to verify that all the details are correct.
Ask Clients to Review Your Site
Reviews on Google will play a vital role in how well you rank. Donít be afraid to ask clients to review your business Ė most people are happy to help if you ask and might not even think about it if you donít.
What you can do is set up a short email with a link to the review page, so that they can go in quickly and leave the review.
There is one caveat here. This is better if it looks like it has been done naturally. So, one or two reviews a day might be typical. Twenty or thirty, on the other hand, will likely cause Google to flag the page. Ask a couple of clients a day and let it build from there.
This might take a bit longer, but it is more likely to get you the kind of rankings that you want. Also, Googleís policy states you are not allowed to pay for reviews in any way Ė ask clients nicely and ask them to be honest. Make it as easy as possible for them to get to the page, but leave it to them to say whatever they want.
Check your reviews on a regular basis. You should respond whenever someone leaves feedback for your business, and not just if they say something negative. If itís a satisfied customer, it is quick and easy to reply with a ďthank you.Ē That will help you improve the relationship with your client.
If it is a negative review, seeing how you respond could be instrumental in helping others make up their minds about the fairness, or lack thereof, of the allegations. Always be polite and professional.
Remember to Check Back Frequently
One downside of the GMB pages is that others can suggest edits, and these might go live. Do check back regularly to ensure that all of the information listed is still accurate. It may seem a little paranoid, but it is a dirty trick that a competitor might decide to try.
Regularly look up your business listing and check the reviews as well. If something is not accurate, you can contact Google and ask them to make a change. Itís pretty difficult to remove a review nowadays, but Google might step in and take care of it if the feedback is clearly malicious.
Take Things Further with GMB Posts
Take things up another notch by using the GMB posts feature. You can access this directly from your dashboard. Posts should be kept short and simple, or you risk them being cut off.
Want some post ideas?
Create an ďEventĒ link for that free webinar you are running to let people know about some aspect related to our business. Say, for example, you are a florist Ė you could have a simple webinar on the different topics associated with flowers.
Create a ďSaleĒ link to alert people to your current offers.
Want to drum up some traffic for your blog? Create a short description and make that your post.
What about that YouTube video you have just created to showcase your latest line of products? Again, write a small description and create the link.
How about something simple like wishing people, ďHappy Holidays?Ē
It really is that easy. You should also consider the kind of long-tail keywords that people would use during a voice search and include them naturally within the text. Write in less formal language, the same way your target audience would. Consider adding an emoji or two if warranted. Use this opportunity to connect with potential clients at a more personal level.
Do check your posts after they have been published, especially when you add a picture, to make sure that the picture is not cut off. If it has been, reduce the size so that it fits properly.
Some Other Cool GMB Features that Will Work Well with Voice Searchers
You can activate the ďBook NowĒ button on your GMB dashboard. You need to integrate it with your scheduling software so that people can get the exact time and date of their appointment, but this could be a handy feature going forward.
Think of it from the clientís side of things. Theyíve asked the personal assistant for hairdressers in your local area, for example. They are interested in your services, so all they need to do is to hit the Book Now Button. No more playing phone tag to get the appointment set up, itís done quickly and seamlessly without them ever having to leave Google.
Again, on your GMB dashboard, set it up so that you are allowed to receive text messages. That way, if someone is on your page and wants a quick answer to a question, they can send you a text message quickly.
Set it up and create a ďWelcomeĒ message. Say something along the lines of ďThank you for contacting us. We will get back to you within ÖĒ Choose an average response time and make sure that it is a reasonable one that you can stick to.
At the moment, this feature is only available to those using mobiles to search on Chrome.
Monitor the Q&A Section
One very troublesome aspect of the GMB pages is that there is a section for people to ask questions on the page. Did you even know about that? Probably not because the annoying part is that there are no alerts for new questions on your dashboard.
That means checking back every now and again to make sure that all questions have been tended to. It is also important to make sure that they have been answered correctly. Anyone can go in and do this, so make sure that they havenít made any errors.
Just like on social media, it is possible to upvote a question on your GMB. If you come across something that a lot of people ask about, or it is an excellent question, hit the upvote button so that it rises to the top. Learn more about The Best Social Media Management Tools.
Create a List of Frequently Asked Questions
Your best bet, though, is to sit and work out what questions people might want to know the answers to. While filling out the GMB information gives you a head start here, it is still advisable to have this on your page. That way, people can quickly get the information that they need when they are looking at the page.
We all want to rank well on Google Ė after all, it is the leading search engine. (86.28% of all desktop search engine traffic went through the site in April of 2018) Optimizing your website for voice searches is essential, but optimizing your GMB is just as relevant now.
How are you using voice search with your Google My Business page? Share it here: @mmgtweets.
Hristina Nikolovska, is the Marketing Manager at SEO Tribunal, part of Tinaís daily engagements involve raising awareness of the importance of digital marketing when it comes to the success of small businesses. As her first step towards this journey was in the field of content marketing, sheís still using every opportunity she gets to put her thoughts into educational articles.