Google Maps and Voice Search – A New Frontier in SEO

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As recently as 10 years ago, voice-based searching was dismissed as a fun science fiction trope but the engineers at Google and other major technology powerhouses set out to prove us wrong again. With huge innovations in natural speech recognition, search engines can now understand queries in a range of voices and dialects, even determining the language spoken. In the voice assistant market, Google’s Assistant and Apple’s Siri are the leaders (36% market share each) with Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana trailing behind. With the rise in voice-based searches, ignoring it will remove many demographics from your reach, so it is best to be educated and enlist the services of a digital marketing provider to optimize your web presence and search engine optimization (SEO).

What is Voice Search?

Simply put, google voice search is an alternative method for typing out search results by speaking your query. It was originally too inconsistent and inconvenient to be more than a novelty but has become engrained into many popular devices in recent years, with Google’s version answering up to 80% of queries correctly. Smartphones and new ‘smart speakers’ such as Google Home and Amazon Echo, which have proliferated the modern Australian home make heavy use of this technology to get answers even without a screen.

Interaction with Google Maps

Google maps is one of the largest user bases for voice search technologies, with more than half of mobile users taking advantage of it. Common queries used include finding a type of business near them (e.g. cafés near me, see picture), and finding directions to a specific location. The first of these can be extremely useful to businesses looking to expand their reach online. A voice search returning a map featuring your business and allowing the searcher to ask directions there can be very powerful for generating in-store conversions.

google maps search engine optimisation
Google Maps search result

To have a chance of being featured in such results, businesses need to create a Google My Business profile and manage it well. Creating an accurate and high-quality Google My Business Profile can massively improve discoverability and credibility and can be core to your SEO. It is best to enlist the help of a digital marketing provider to ensure that this is optimized effectively.

How Does it Affect Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

It has been found that 75% of people who use voice assistants use them to find businesses for a product or service they need. Of these, over 50% do so daily! This makes capitalizing on Google My Business Listings, Google Maps, and voice search SEO techniques vital to growing your business in 2020. The ever-growing usage of voice search has established an entirely new area of Search Engine Optimization.

 

Voice queries more conversational tone emphasizes so-called ‘long-tail keywords’, those which have more words and are much more specific such as ‘where can I buy a meat lovers pizza in Parramatta’. It is also important to recognize that many voice searches are questions so aiming to answer these questions where relevant will do wonders for your SEO. Additionally, as Google Maps is a core result type in voice searches, marketing to a location is more essential. It is important to reach the highest organic rankings (not paid) as these will be the ones read by the assistant (40% of these were also featured snippets) and likely shown in the map results for local businesses. A strong SEO strategy from an experienced digital marketing provider will be vital to capture customers from voice search.

voice search keyword lengths
Voice queries tend to use long-tail key phrases. Source

 

Google representatives have stated that they want their search engine to “become that Star Trek computer.” Having the capability to listen to you, know what you mean, and reply with accurate results. Voice search continues to permeate Australian homes and Google Maps is a major category. Taking the leap to this new SEO frontier will need a dedicated digital marketing provider like Rotapix to ensure your business’s online presence is fully optimized.

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