Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa: how will the emergence of voice assistants change our relationship with search engines and local searches? Read on to find out more...

Before you start, bear in mind that when you publish information on Apple Maps and Google My Business, Partoo will update the information relating to your points of sale across all of the databases used by current voice assistant tools, allowing you to embrace this new trend from the outset!

Voice search: the current state of play

Nearly 20% of Internet-users in the United States currently use voice search on their mobile phones, with nearly 50% of them using it every day, and this trend is showing no signs of stopping any time soon.

According to the US-based web trend observatory, nearly one in four voice searches (22%, to be exact) are believed to relate to finding information relating to local points of sale! Other uses of voice search include personal assistants (making appointments and calls, setting alarms, etc.), entertainment, and searches for general information (weather, history, culture, etc.).

How can you prepare for the arrival of voice search?

Since a voice search is, by its very nature, local (your assistant is, after all, geolocated), it is vital that you confirm all of the Google My Business listings for your establishments. Despite this fact, the majority of establishments in France still do not confirm their GMB listings...

What’s more, there are a number of best practices that will have a significant impact on the positioning of your establishment in voice search results:

  • Claiming ownership of all listings that publish local information relating to your establishments

  • Creating a store-locator with a listing for each establishment in order to structure the information you provide and make it easier for voice search engines to promote

As is the case with any SEO strategy, it remains to be seen what role SEA (search engine advertising) will play in the strategies adopted by players in the voice search sector.

It is important to understand that not all sectors are affected by voice search in the same way. If the user doesn’t have their mobile phone to hand, for example, voice search will undoubtedly be more useful. This is especially true when watching TV, with friends, or even cooking (since it helps to avoid getting your screen dirty). Voice searches are also more relevant to those on the move, meaning that they tend to relate more to certain types of establishments such as garages, car parks, fuel stations and even drive-throughs, which have become increasingly common in France in recent years.

As well as maintaining a presence on Google, Apple Maps, Bing and other sources of local information used by voice assistants, it is important that you publish your information on GPSs that could, in the future, be used to perform voice searches, such as Waze, Here and TomTom. To learn how to publish your information on these GPSs, please get in touch via our chat feature

What impact does this have on search methods and therefore on brands’ strategies?

1. The nature of the search:

  • First of all, searches are likely to become longer by nature. This is a trend that has been observed for some time already, with the average number of words per search generally increasing every year, but voice search, which can recognise entire dictated sentences, could further reinforce this trend.

  • Next, the syntax itself will change, with ‘conversational queries’ replacing the truncated lists of words we are used to in today’s Google searches. Furthermore, queries will tend to include question words such as ‘where’, ‘how’, ‘how much’, ‘who’ and ‘what’ or action words such as ‘order a pizza’, ‘go to the nearest swimming pool’, ‘find a cinema that’s open’, etc.

  • Last but not least, voice recognition leaves plenty of room for ‘misunderstandings’: while new technologies do enable us to write without making spelling mistakes, word distortion can become more pronounced and penalise brands and searches that are difficult to pronounce, which can literally lead to ‘misunderstandings’.

2. The nature of the result:

  • When it comes to local searches, there will no longer be any need for the local pack: instead of 3 results displayed on a map, as is the case with Google, for an open search such as ‘hair salon Nice’, only the first local establishment listed will be displayed! Whilst 10 years ago simply being on the first page was enough, and for the past 5 years being in the top few results was acceptable, with voice searches, you will have to rank top of the list! To learn more about local packs, click here

  • Position 0 will be the new principle on which web agencies work: you will no doubt be hearing about this in the coming years, if you haven’t already ‘Position 0’ is the direct response insert displayed by Google at the top of the page. Also known as the ‘answer box’, this will be the only response used by Google Assistant! What you see below, for example, is the answer box for the search ‘SEO definition’ on the left and the answer to the question ‘fnac saint lazare opening hours’ on the right.

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