Voice looks to dominate local search: are you ready?

Optimizing your SEO efforts to focus on local search has never been more at the forefront than it is now. One current observation is that voice search, via mobile devices,  looks to dominate the local search landscape for the foreseeable future. Are you ready? Some recently published research conducted by FinancesOnline seems to be bringing this trend into the light of day. The following is taken directly from that recently released research:

  • Today, voice search is becoming the preferred online search method. A recent report revealed that in 2020, 63% of Americans have utilized a voice-operated assistant using devices such as their smartphone, household appliance, laptop, and TV (National Public Media).
  • Online search trends show voice search users are increasingly searching for local results. Just last year, 58% of consumers used voice search to find local businesses (BrightLocal). This indicates that people are increasingly using voice search to help them locate nearby establishments or locations. Google says that searches for “near me” businesses have risen significantly over the past recent years (Think with Google). This rise in local voice search opens the door for great opportunities for local businesses. 46% of such consumers will regularly use voice search to look for a local business, most likely on a daily basis (BrightLocal).
  • More smart speaker users are turning to their devices to search online. As early as 2016, 40% of adults used voice search through smart speakers at least once a day (The Edit). In 2019, that figure had increased to 65% (PwC). By 2020, 25% of smart speaker owners find themselves using it several times a day (National Public Media).

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  • Overall, voice technology streamlines people’s lives in ways never before possible. One area that voice technology is simplifying significantly is voice search. However, this has initiated considerable shifts in SEO as we know it, prompting marketers to address these changes.
  • Efficiency is the most cited reason why people use voice. 76% of people who regularly use voice technology say that they find it very natural. Other top reasons for its use are because it is simple and faster than typing. Meanwhile, a more recent report also revealed that 68% of voice-operated assistant users say that these virtual assistants make life easier overall (National Public Media).
  • Every day, 32% of people aged 18-64 use voice search (PwC). And around half of this group (52%) use voice search while driving. This growing behavioral change offers a host of possibilities and questions, especially for commercial purposes. For instance, retailers are adopting voice technologies to enable customers to order or search for products without touching on-screen kiosks.
  • This is why our unanimous choice for the top voice search trend is local business search. Local businesses are truly the most affected by the voice search revolution (Search Engine Land).

-Written by Kevin Sawyer