Tuesday, August 6, 2019

How to Optimize Your Small Business Website For Voice Search - Forbes

How to Optimize Your Small Business Website For Voice Search - Forbes


How to Optimize Your Small Business Website For Voice Search - Forbes

Posted: 05 Aug 2019 07:24 AM PDT

By Rieva Lesonsky

If you want to ensure new customers are able to find your business, then you need to know how to optimize your business for voice search, which is becoming one of the most popular ways of searching.

Voice search isn't quite taking over the search world yet—but it's getting closer. Last year, more than half (58%) of consumers used voice search to find local business information, according to BrightLocal's Voice Search for Local Business Study 2018. Almost half (46%) of voice search users searched for a local business daily; 28% used voice search to search for a local business about once a week.

Here's what you need to know about voice search trends, uses and actions, and how to boost your business in voice search results.

Who uses voice search?

People of all ages use voice search, although younger consumers are more likely to use voice search to find information on local businesses than older consumers.

  • 76% of consumers ages 18 to 34 had used voice search to find information for a local business in the last 12 months; 15% had not used voice search but said they would consider using it in the future.
  • 64% of consumers ages 35 to 54 had used voice search to find information for a local business in the last 12 months; 24% had not used voice search but said they would consider using it in the future.
  • 37% of consumers ages 55 and older had used voice search to find information for a local business in the last 12 months; 33% had not used voice search but said they would consider using it in the future.

How do consumers do a voice search?

According to BrightLocal, smartphones are the most popular tool for voice searches for local businesses, and smart speakers are the least commonly used. That's probably because almost everyone owns a smartphone and not everyone owns a smart speaker. However, people who own smart speakers use voice search more frequently—maybe because announcing your search to a smart speaker in the privacy of your home is easier than saying it on a crowded subway.

  • 74% of smartphone voice search users search for local businesses at least once per week.
  • 76% of smart speaker voice search users search for local businesses at least weekly; of those, 53% search every day.

What do consumers use voice search for?

Consumers are most likely to voice search for food-related businesses. The most common voice search industries are:

  • Restaurants/caf├ęs (51% of consumers)
  • Grocery stores (41%)
  • Food delivery (35%)
  • Clothing stores (32%)
  • Hotels/bed and breakfasts (30%)

If you're in one of these industries, you really need to optimize your website for voice search.

Consumers use voice search for several purposes, including checking inventory, checking business hours, making restaurant reservations and even making a purchase.

  • 54% make a restaurant reservation
  • 46% find out prices of a local business's products/services
  • 40% ask which products are in stock
  • 32% buy directly from a business

Other Articles From AllBusiness.com:

What do consumers do after making a voice search?

Voice searches drive actions for local businesses. After making a voice search:

  • 28% of consumers call the business
  • 27% visit the business's website
  • 19% visit the business in person

How to optimize a website for voice search

Now that you know how important optimizing for voice search is, here's how to do it:

  • Get local. If you're a local business, like a hair salon or insurance agency, be sure your site is listed on Google My Business and other local search directories, and that your listing is updated, complete, and accurate. Also make sure your location, hours, and phone number are correct and visible on your website. Put location-related keywords in your website content, tags, and image tags.
  • Use multiple-word keywords. Called long-tail keywords, these have four words or more. You can use Google Keyword Planner to find them (Neil Patel has a good explanation of how to find long-tail keywords). People using voice search speak in sentences so their queries have more words than the average search. Your website content should incorporate long-tail keywords that sound like a question customers would ask. For example, a fitness studio could use long-tail keywords like "best health club for men" to capture voice searchers asking, "Where's the best health club for men around here?"
  • Use natural language. If your website content is written in a conversational tone, it's more likely to pop up in voice search results. Keep your website at an easy (i.e., eighth grade) reading level. Use short sentences and concise writing; voice search results typically look for quick answers. You can use the Hemingway app to check for readability and to make sure your content is easy for everyone to understand.
  • Add questions and answers on your business's website. People using voice search ask questions like, "What pizza place has vegan pizza?" as opposed to typing in keywords such as "vegan pizza 90210." Creating a FAQ page is a good way to start developing question and answer content. However, you can also create product or service descriptions, blog posts, and other content that answers questions.
  • Optimize your website for mobile use. Mobile voice searches often take place when the user is out and about. Your site needs to load fast on a mobile device or the user will move on to the next local business recommendation. Google has a free mobile-friendly website test.

I am CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email me at rieva@smallbizdaily.com, follow me on Google+ and Twitter @Rieva, and visit my website SmallBizDaily.com to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for my free TrendCast reports. Read all of Rieva Lesonsky's articles.

RELATED: 5 Super Simple Ways to Market Your Local Business

This article was originally published on AllBusiness.com

Is Your Small Business Losing Money? Find Out Why - Small Business Trends

Posted: 05 Aug 2019 06:00 AM PDT

Maintaining a lucrative bottom line is what all small business owners aim for. You know that if you want your doors to stay open, you'll have to have your hand on everything. You wear a million hats at any given time, you work harder than Popeye, and you know what departments to keep a close eye on so you can save money.

However, maintaining that profit line can be troublesome. Certain things can be eating your profits away without you even noticing it. Maybe it starts off slow but it can quickly turn into an avalanche of problems that lead to your business losing money.



Why Is Your Business Losing Money?

Finding the root cause of your financial woes can help you to quickly reduce the issue and turn it all around. Why is your business losing money? Here are five likely reasons:

Poor Accounting

If your accounting system is cluttered and disorganized, there is no way you can have a clear idea of what your financial numbers are. Instead, you are left wondering and guessing as to how much money is coming in and out of your small business.

Going off that last sentence, it can be difficult to have a clear idea of your business's money situation if you log transactions after the fact or you overlook a transaction completely. Think of it like this, if you buy supplies for your company but you didn't enter the transaction right away, your books will indicate that you have more money than is available. As a result, you could spend extra money and cause a negative cash flow.

You must record your transactions accurately and in a timely manner. Just a small numerical mess up could jeopardize everything you have worked so hard to build.

THE SOLUTION: On a regular basis, close and reconcile your books, host an internal audit and work closely with an accountant.

Poor Communication from Management

Debra Hamilton claimed in her article Top Ten Email Blunders that Cost Companies Money that small businesses with poor communication are mindlessly burning through cash. Hamilton wrote "miscommunication cost even smaller companies of 100 employees or less an average of $420,000 per year."

THE SOLUTION: Implement a stable communication process between employee and employer . From the interview process, good communication should be practiced on a regular basis. Carefully and precisely writing things out (like procedures and protocols), listen actively, ask for feedback, celebrate achievements, all of this will improve your communications at every level.

Using an employee management software can make this communication process a breeze. With digital software, you can always be where your employees are as more than likely everyone has a mobile phone. Before choosing a management software service, consider your employees location, it's ease of use, how relevant it is to your business size, and the cost. Once you find the right solution, you can create an ongoing dialogue that helps build a community within the company.

Poor Customer Service

A research study found that large and small businesses lose some $75 billion annually and that's all because of poor customer service. Here are some of the problems that may be happening at your business, according to the data:

  • Your customers don't feel appreciated.
  • They can't easily find the right person that will provide them with the answers they seek.
  • Some customers face rude and unhelpful employees.
  • They are often passed around to other employees without definitive answers.
  • Or they are left on hold for a ridiculously long time.

It is important to note that if the customer experience is poor it will likely be reflected in online reviews that future customers will read. In fact, 90% of potential customers read online reviews before stepping foot into your store or shopping online. A study by MOZ found that, "84% of people tend to trust online reviews just as much as they trust personal recommendations."

THE SOLUTION: Ask satisfied and happy customers to share their positive experiences online. And, obviously, hire and train your employees to always provide the very best customer service possible.

Poor (Or Little) Online Presence

It's 2019 and nearly everything is digital. You are probably reading this on your mobile phone or desktop, just like everyone else. So reach your customers that same way. If your customers can't find you online, you're missing out on a ton of business.

What if you don't sell anything online? Doesn't matter, a website about your business can help customers learn who you are. Plus, they can learn your contact information and even your physical information.

However, don't stop there. Create a strong social media presence so that you can interact with customers on a regular basis. Engage with customers, announce new and exciting things going on like specials or a new product. Ask your customers to leave reviews on your website, social media accounts or even review sites. Like we said in the last point, those online reviews are gold.

THE SOLUTION: Well, even though it may sound like a broken record: create an online presence! Make some noise. Build new or enhance your existing website and create a strong social media presence, these are so incredibly simple and easy ways to bring in customers, yet overlooked at times so start today.

High Turnover

Employee turnover is something all companies face, when an employee leaves the company and has to be replaced. However, turnover can cost you big time – in fact, studies have found that turnover can cost you twice an employee's salary to find and hire a replacement.

THE SOLUTION: Find out which employees are leaving because if it's your top performers, you can expect productivity and profit to take a hit. Ask yourself why employees are leaving and make the necessary changes to avoid more exits. If new hires are leaving during on-boarding, you know there is likely a problem with your recruitment and on-boarding process so that's where changes need to be made and fast. Include exit interviews so you can get to the bottom of why your staff is walking out.

Once you understand why your small business is losing money, you can begin to find the right solutions and fix the issue before too much dough is lost.

Image: Depositphotos.com

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