Talking on rotary phones in the wilderness? Funny. But as silly as that may seem, are you up to date on your technology use? According to recent reports, if you have not upgraded your website to respond to voice searches, you may be headed for a similar fate: antiquated.
Imagine someone is looking for the ‘best breakfast in town,’ would your famous cafe “Freddie’s” earn you a spot in information provided by Siri or Alexa? Not if you haven’t done your homework.
Or what if someone with a sick cat on a Saturday needs a quick supply of medicine until the vet opens on Monday. Would your reputable shop “Horse and Hound” come up on a voice search that asked “Where can I go to help my sick kitty?” Don’t risk your name not coming up, so again, do your homework.
What homework is that? Well first and foremost, as much as we all love our super thin, fast, slick, and shiny laptops or tablets, we don’t usually talk to them when we need to search for something. We type in a few key query words. “Sick Cat Flagstaff.” But the way of the future is handhelds. Simple typed phrases may not do the trick.
Say goodbye to Google, and hello to ‘OK Google.’
Are you ready? No matter what name your shingle boasts, or query words you’ve latched onto, if your website and SEO are not designed for voice searches, you may lose customers. But don’t panic, it can be easier than you think. And before you know it, any of the many voice search apps — Siri, OK Google, SoundHound, Shizam, you name it — will find you, and your customers will find ‘the best breakfast in Flagstaff, fast!’
Here are a few quick tips to get you ahead of the curve, and out of the wilderness.
- Google and other search engines prefer quick-loading and updated sites, is yours? When was the last time you updated? How fast does your website load? Find out by going to a public computer and search for your business. See how long it takes and where you are on the list that appears. Do the same for other favorite sites that are not in your cookies or bookmarks on the laptop back at the office, and check out your competitor sites, too. Try them on a few different browsers. Bottom line, you must know where you stand, it will help you figure out where you need to head.
- Mobile searches outnumber desktop searches, so….what does your website look like on a phone? Have you looked lately? Check it out and see what others are seeing. You may learn a lot by this simple task.
- Remember, as humans, believe it or not, we spoke before we typed. So speaking is still a more natural way to seek information. No more narrowing search terms for quick and easy typing, thus you can no longer assume that to find you, someone will key in ‘sick cat flagstaff’ and hit return. They may very well ask Siri, “Where can I get meds for my sick little kitten in Flagstaff?” Will you be found? Here’s a great overview by searchenginewatch.com.
- In other words, be prepared for conversation: the searches are designed for ‘meaning’ not query words. Your goal is for your customers to hear Siri say, loud and clear, “Go to Horse and Hound on First and Main.”
- Make sure your social media is easily visible on your website. What social media you ask? Uh-oh. No, don’t run back into the wilderness and to your rotary.
- Get your business on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. You don’t have to undertake a complete website overhaul. But to make sure your website is voice ready, and fast, may mean some upgrades. Here’s a great infographic you don’t want to miss.
- In 2014, a reported 40% percent of cell phone users were searching by voice. That was more than a year ago. What about today? In fact, how many times did you use your cell to search today? If you haven’t, start practicing. Get to know what your customers do, and become a voice searcher so you’re familiar with it, and you can get ahead of the game.
- Is this about you? No, it’s all about your customers. Ask a few of your best and your regulars what they think, need, like, don’t like, when it comes to voice searching. Their input is valuable.
The technology of the rotary dial? More than 100 years old. Voice searches? Still in process, and nobody is certain where it’s going or how fast, but chances are, it’s fast. So get on it, and help your customers tap, swipe, or ask their way right to your business. In seconds.