SEO for voice search is different for small rural businesses

When will customers speak instead of type, will they use different words? Photo by Andres Urena on Unsplash

For years, we have all worked on SEO, or search engine optimization, to make our names known and associate them with specific words and phrases that our customers would type in a search engine to find us. Now that customers are saying their research out loud, how does that change things?

Nowadays, voice searches are done via tools such as Siri and Google Search, on a smartphone, and via home helpers, such as Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod.

What words do customers type?

This remains important because many searches are still done on tablets, laptops and even typing searches on phones. To choose the right keywords, you need to know what people are looking for. What does your customer think when they type a search for the solution you are proposing? They do not know your name or company yet. All they know is their own problem.

For my liquor store, we have seen many expressions such as "liquor store" and the name of our city.

What words do customers say?

It's a little different when you're talking about a search instead of grabbing it. They can be shorter and more relevant.

Think of starting with this sentence, "Siri, find me …" and what would they say next? They still do not know the name of your business, but they know what they are looking for.

In my liquor store, we found in our analyzes searches that seemed to have been done by voice. The researchers asked for expressions such as "liquor store near my home" and specific products such as "tequila". (I imagine people say on their phone: "Find me tequila!") Customers were not only looking for the type of business, but also the thing they were looking for.

As small-town stores diversify their product lines, customers do not know exactly which store they need. They are looking for the article.

My local sewing machine center offers adult coloring books and handmade gift items. Customers will not guess it from the name of the company.

Small town shops need to write a lot more online about all the unusual and unexpected product lines that they offer, so that they appear in summary voice searches for specific products.

You can do this on your own website, on your social networks, and on search profiles such as Google My Business.

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About Becky McCray

Becky launched Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share stories and ideas of building businesses and rural communities with other small businessmen. She and her husband own an Alva, Oklahoma liquor store and a small ranch nearby. Becky is an international speaker on small business.

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