UseVoiceSearchReadinessVoice search seems to be a trend now that’s not showing any signs of slowing down, still it seems as if it is one of the least understood topics brands are facing today, according to Uberall, a leading provider of ‘Near Me’ Brand Experience marketing solutions.

In its recent Voice Search Readiness Report, the company revealed that more than 1 in 5  people are using voice search, and 48% of voice search users have searched for local business information, but at the same time highlighting that voice search is still seen as relatively new for most businesses, even though getting listings voice search ready can be a competitive advantage that brings prospective customers who are already using voice technology during key micro-moments. Consumers are using voice search while on the go to ask questions about operating hours, locations and where to find the nearest products or services they need.

Voice search is growing in popularity

Unfortunately, many companies underestimate the relevance of voice search and do not know how to best equip and prepare for the new search behavior of consumers.

Driven by smart speakers and mobile devices we can expect that it will accelerate momentum and become more and more part of our everyday lives – be it in our homes, at work or when we are on the move.
Most voice searches are currently carried out using smartphones: in the strict sense more than half of them, with only around a third using a desktop or laptop, just under a quarter using a tablet, and 5% said they use a smart home device like Amazon Echo for voice searches.

Most importantly, more than a third use the technology outside of their home and that’s where it gets exciting for companies with local locations: 45% of the survey participants have already used a voice search to get information on local businesses at least once. Companies have here a huge potential to tap on, considering that consumers who use voice to search for a business, product or service while on the go will most likely also find their destination and become customers.

“So, the more locations your brand has, the more complex it becomes to manage your online business listings for voice search readiness and ensuring they’re free of errors, inconsistencies, or missing information”, Uberall explains, adding “to thrive online, brands need to prime all their locations for voice search readiness to get found in local search and stay competitive.

Be a step ahead of the competition

There is no question that voice search is still in its infancy, but new technologies and partnerships will change that fast.

Just a year ago, Uberall partnered with Huawei, at the time when the Chinese tech giant launched “Petal Search”, its own search engine engineered with multiple partners which is now preloaded on all new Huawei smartphones and available in AppGallery for the existing smartphones.

Uberall’s platform gives multi-location businesses central control of their digital presence and online reputation for every location, creating a consistent and engaging ‘Near Me’ experience everywhere consumers are searching for a business nearby. This collaboration will massively increase the reach and visibility of multi-location businesses of all sizes, and provide consumers with the most current, complete, and accurate information.

The Petal Search and Uberall integration is live in all 150 countries where Uberall is active and is available in the corresponding native languages. In addition to the usual search parameters, Petal Search enables users to find news, weather forecasts, videos, and shopping options; as well as, book appointments, hotel rooms and flights, and download applications among many other features.

Of course, consumers are sometimes bothered by the inaccuracy of the results, but this will change. Technologies are developing rapidly and will make voice searches increasingly efficient and user-friendly. Companies will certainly help to improve the user experience for consumers as well by providing more and more information about their business in the right places, completely and correctly. And by continuing the voice search optimization on their own website, they provide valuable answer options for voice assistants.

Become voice-search-ready

In general, more than 50 platforms are relevant for voice searches or smart assistants: Google, Bing and Yelp in particular are of great importance for voice search readiness, as almost all voice assistants access these platforms. Company locations that have complete and correct profiles on these three platforms achieve a Voice Search Readiness Score (VSR Score) of 90%, and are therefore considered voice-search-ready, according to Uberall.

According to the expert, however, one of the worst mistakes is that essential business information is often provided incorrectly or not at all – e.g., opening times, address or even the company name. This significantly worsens the findability and damages the user experience with a brand in the long term. Companies should avoid this and, as a first step, provide the data of their locations uniformly and completely across all relevant online platforms – above all on Google, Bing, and Yelp.

Companies can use various additional measures to prepare for the voice age, including, among other things, an optimized website loading time as well as content that is specially prepared for search engines – such as FAQs.

So far, very few companies have recognized the potential behind voice search and acted accordingly. Hence, those who are optimized for voice search set themselves apart from the competition, especially when it comes to local searches.

Uberall’s solutions that enable multi-location brands to easily manage search and discovery, engagement and conversion in real-time on all online platforms (mobile, voice and desktop) across websites, mobile apps, store locators, search engines, maps, social platforms, and advertising networks could bear a helping hand.

By Daniela La Marca