How to Use Digital Assistants to Improve Local Search

Move over, Alfred and Jarvis—Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and Google Home are on the job, and these digital assistants are answering local search queries better than ever before.

Digital assistants are great at what’s becoming known as “conversational search”—queries that use actual conversations instead of the two-to-three syllable phrases we’ve been barking into our phones. The types of users who use voice search the most, and the ones who have the most to gain from these digitized helpers, are searching locally. The immediacy granted by digital assistants has helped local searchers find nearby products or businesses.

If you’re a local business owner, the recent growth of digital assistants could have a positive effect on your search rankings—but only if you put in the work. This article from Search Engine Land lays out ten things you can do to incorporate Alexa, Google Home, and Co. into your local search strategies.

Google Home is just one of the digital assistants that are changing local search.

1. Optimize your location data

  • Digital assistants base results off location data
  • Make it easy for digital assistants, users, and search engines to find you
  • Make sure you update your location data as needed to stay relevant

2. Use structured data

  • Schema markup data allows digital assistants to find and understand your content
  • Add schema to your landing pages to improve your chances of showing up in results

3. Fill out your Google My Business

  • Fill in any missing attributes on GMB
  • All attributes can contribute to rankings if they add relevancy to a user’s search, including things like “Offers Outdoor Seating” or “Has Wi-Fi.”
  • Attributes help users find the best match to their search queries

4. Stay up to date on location data

  • Location data is continually becoming more refined all the time
  • Don’t miss out on critical changes that could show your business in the search results
  • Types of location data:
    • Implicit location data – typed search queries for a particular place, etc.
    • Internet traffic information – IP address
    • Device-based location services – GPS signals, Wi-Fi access points, cell tower IDs, etc.

5. Gather reviews

  • Reviews can verify the quality of a business or product for users and search engines
  • Monitor reviews and respond to feedback
  • Ask satisfied customers to leave reviews and feedback to bolster your reviews score

6. Allow API connectivity

  • API connections let digital assistants connect users directly to brands/businesses
  • This process can streamline the user experience
  • Not many companies are taking advantage of API yet, but this is changing fast

7. Embrace your niche

  • Search engine AI is starting to differentiate ranking factors by market
  • Retail websites vs. restaurant websites
  • Understand what makes your business unique and stick to it

8. Focus on long-tail keywords

  • The best answers will incorporate natural speech patterns and mannerisms
  • Digital assistants are improving all the time by understanding colloquial speech and slang
  • Improve PPC and local search targeting by choosing answers with “local intent” and “highest probability of conversion.”

9. Don’t be afraid to experiment

  • Strive for improvement by trying new things
  • Trial and error drive SEO success
  • Further changes are always occurring, thanks to Google’s experiments

10. Be conversational

  • “Conversational search” requires conversation
  • Write for users, not search engines
  • Natural-sounding answers can match up better with users’ needs

As users rely on services like digital assistants to add convenience to their everyday lives, you must stay informed and deliver the best user experience you can. Digital assistants like Alexa and Google Home are directly competing for users’ attention. As this battle rages on, you’ll need to stay on top of the methods that offer users the most benefit.

Local search is an exploding market right now, and as more and more technologies emerge to improve the local experience, it’s up to you to implement them.

Need assistance with your local search efforts? Give SEO Inc. a call, and we’ll use our 20 years’ experience in SEO services to help your website climb up the rankings.

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