The world of SEO moves fast, and as a local business owner, you must keep up with the latest trends to stand out in a competitive marketplace like Houston, TX. In this article, we will be covering how voice search effects local search optimization.

At ProEngage Local, we love staying on top of the latest SEO trends, and one we’re keeping a close track of is voice search. We’re noticing three things about voice search:

  • It’s becoming faster and more accurate.
  • The number of voice search queries is on the rise.

One out of every five mobile search queries is a voice search, while it’s three times more likely that those searches are for local-based questions.

For local business websites, a lot of their traffic could be coming from voice search. So, how do you adapt your regional search optimization strategy to this new search preference?

Woman doing a search on her mobile phone to test local voice optimization.

Long-Tailed Keywords

There’s a primary difference between how people “type to search” and “talk to search.” They aren’t just typing into a Google search bar anymore. They are also interacting with their smartphones and virtual home assistants. As a result, instead of typing keywords like ‘best restaurant in Houston’, people are asking their devices, ‘Where can I find the best steak in Houston?’ They’re adding more detail and nuance into their queries. It’s a lot more like a real human conversation.

That’s why it’s so important to focus on long-tail keywords. The average voice search is typically longer than traditional searches. Therefore, long-tailed keywords are more like questions that your customers could be asking while searching for a product or service. What are those questions? Doing some research on social media and review sites can help you figure that out. Use those questions to create an FAQ page to be put up on your website.

Local Search Optimization for Mobile

With most voice searches happening on mobile devices, your local search optimization strategy needs to be mobile-friendly. Optimizing your website for mobile devices will not only improve customer experience but will also help you leverage voice search results. Consequently, without a mobile-friendly website, your SEO efforts will go to waste. If you haven’t already optimized your site to mobile responsive design, it’s the first thing you need to do.

Contextual Searches

Consumers using voice search are often looking for a product or service near them. Therefore, it’s beneficial to integrate local keywords related to your area. Relevant Content such as fun-facts about your city or neighborhood can boost user engagement and increase conversion rates.

You can improve your business’s local ranking by adding and verifying your company to local business listings. Simple ways to increase your SEO visibility:

  • Verify and update your Google My Business listing
  • Have an accurate and consistent business name, address, and phone number across the web
  • Increase your positive online reviews

Show Up in the Answer Box

What is an Answer Box? It’s a featured snippet that appears at the top of a Google Search. In other words, it’s the new #1 spot on the SERPs.

So, what does it take for a website to get featured in the direct answer box? The overall strategy should include:

  • Content that provides useful, accurate, and relevant information
  • High-quality links from authoritative sites
  • Mobile optimization
  • Great website user experience

Local Search Optimization Conclusions

These are the same things you need for ranking well on SERPs. Fortunately, if your local search optimization strategy is on the right track, it will get you in Google’s answer box. With more and more users turning to voice search, you need to adapt your SEO plans sooner rather than later. The SEO strategies and best practices discussed above are a great place to start.