Tech industry leaders are certain that people want to talk to their devices, and they’ve poured a ton of time, energy and resources into developing systems that can talk back. Apple has Siri, Microsoft has Cortana, Google has Google Assistant, Amazon has Alexa, and Facebook Messenger is in the process of rolling out M. These systems are designed to do a number of everyday tasks, including identifying and recommending local businesses of a specific type, such as an Italian restaurant or a nail salon. With that in mind, what’s involved in ensuring virtual assistants know about your business?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Good SEO tactics remain essential, of course; Google Assistant delivers results using Google, while Alexa and Cortana rely on Bing. Siri users can choose which search engine they prefer; many choose Google, Bing is set as the default.
Additionally, we know virtual assistant systems rely heavily on map programs. If you haven’t done so recently, now is the time to review your business’ location on Apple Maps, Google Maps, and Bing Maps. Make sure the information listed there is accurate and that your description includes what type of business you are and relevant keywords. It is important that all of your images include location keywords – instead of captioning your storefront picture as “Coffee Shop” try “Boston MA Coffee Shop”.
Finally, review sites have a direct impact on virtual assistant results.
[Tweet “All other factors being equal, a business that has more favorable Yelp reviews will be recommended more often than one with fewer or none at all.”]
We all know that Yelp is problematic, but business owners really don’t have the ability to opt out of the system. At a minimum, you’ll want to monitor your business’ reputation on these sites and respond to all reviews, negative and positive, promptly and professionally.
As time goes on and voice-search driven virtual assistants become more fully integrated into users’ everyday lives, we will learn more about the algorithmic factors determining results. It is also to be expected that advertising opportunities that prioritize one in the search results will eventually become available. We’ll keep you appraised of these new developments as they arise. Meanwhile, make sure your information is listed accurately on all relevant search sources and keep practicing those good SEO fundamentals!