In the last 10 years, the Internet, e-commerce and social networks have revolutionized the customer experience. In addition, a new type of multigenerational consumer has progressively made its way, interacting with companies on the Internet. In a digital environment dominated by a Millennial, Zeta and Alpha user profile, interaction with brands, driven by the improvement of voice assistants, goes quickly from writing a site that is being searched to voice.
It is in this context where voice assistants are living their golden age, something that does not escape the radar of SMEs, who already see this system as a useful tool to gain visibility among customers and potentials. The consumer profile that has dominated the online world for generations explains the momentum that voice assistants are experiencing:
Millennials: they love to experiment and discover new products and services, so they are the perfect target to consider to gain visibility through voice assistants.
Generation Z: they like to buy in physical stores and also take into account the initiatives and social commitments of brands. With an average attention span of eight seconds, these young people don’t have time for slow online experiences. These young consumers have higher expectations for their online shopping experiences than any generation before them.
The Alphas: Adults and children over 12 years of age often respond to virtual assistants in awe, as they have never seen a device like this before outside of science fiction. But the youngest children, that is, the Alpha Generation, have been exposed to assistants like Siri, since birth. This generation is being part of an unintended global experiment, where screens are placed in front of them from practically their birth. They know how to interact with mobile devices and find the videos they like, long before they learn to speak.
Semrush has analyzed how the different assistants that SMEs can incorporate into their online strategies operate to gain visibility of their businesses before customers and potentials. The company has analyzed aspects as diverse as the capacity that the assistants have to give answers, the level of accuracy, the percentage of unanswered questions, or the variety of answers to the same question, depending on the type of assistant employed.
The study has not focused exclusively on this area on Google devices, but has added others such as Siri and Alexa to cover almost 100% of the market for voice assistants, and understand how they compare to each other when it comes results on local businesses and discover the algorithms behind them.
The study’s conclusions include some recommendations and aspects that local businesses must take into account to efficiently incorporate voice assistants into their online visibility strategy, something that involves understanding how they work and what mechanisms are behind them. the results they deliver when asked. For Fernando Angulo, director of international communication at Semrush, it is something key since; “The management of this information will help SMEs and small freelancers to understand how they can improve their chances of being found by their customers and improve their user experience, something that contributes to their customer loyalty strategy.”
Keys for SMEs to optimize the use of voice assistants
The main conclusions of the report indicate that SMEs must take into account to benefit from the integration of voice assistants in their businesses are:
The Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa have a similar market share. So SMEs should try to adapt to the three assistants, whose algorithms are drastically different.
The average response length for all analyzed attendees is 23 words. Google Assistant devices yield the longest answers – 41 words.
Alexa cannot give results for every fourth question. This implies that it is primarily a home device that understands voice commands, but is not designed for search queries.
With Google devices, SMBs can apply “standard” local SEO logic to improve their presence on Local Pack. And they can also adjust their content to match the more natural language of voice search queries.
To appear in Apple’s Siri responses, SMBs must aim for higher positions on Yelp. They should also have more positive reviews from their customers. Also, having a 4.5 / 5 rating on Yelp with the highest number of reviews will make any local business the most popular in the eyes (or according to the algorithm) of Siri.
The study shows that voice assistants understand users better and better. The average percentage of questions that do not have answers on all devices is already only 6.3%, a positive trend, since, according to a study by Forrester, just over a year ago this figure was around 35%. Of the six devices analyzed, five of them had trouble answering only five -or fewer- questions out of every hundred asked. For its part, Alexa had problems answering almost one in four, since its original design is as a smart but domestic speaker, not a voice assistant like Google and Apple devices, so it is home automation and not searches general the purpose for which Alexa was conceived.
On the other hand, if the responses provided by the different devices are analyzed and compared with those of the search engine results pages – hereinafter SERPs – it is highlighted that in the case of local profile requests, Google devices are based on In the Local Pack SERP, Siri – for its part – uses Yelp when it offers results that indicate a place, and Alexa pulls information from the Bing search engine and combines the use of data from Yelp and Yext to give an answer. This variety of sources explains why most voice assistants return different results for the same questions:
How to optimize the Google Assistant through Local Pack
Although the main elements that influence the responses of the Google assistant continue to be the speed of the page, a position in the top 3 of the results, and a space in a prominent fragment, there are other variables to take into account when it comes to to perform local searches by voice with this assistant such as: improve the Google My Business page of the SME, take advantage of structured data, create content that is simple and easy to understand.
The top four factors influencing Siri’s response and optimization:
Distance, number of reviews, star rating and price coefficient. In this way, in searches of the type ‘bookstore near me’, the wizard looks for the local bookstore that appears in Apple maps, showing the closest one – which suggests that distance is a key factor when making queries “near me. me “-, and collects business information from Yelp, TripAdvisor, or opentable (if applicable) along with the average star rating and number of reviews; When there are multiple data sources, Siri prioritizes Yelp. However, in the ‘best bookstore’ search, Siri will show the bookstores with the highest average rating – regardless of distance – and pay less attention to the number of reviews for a place, prioritizing the star rating.
The key to optimization for Siri is to implement a strategy to collect great reviews and more, compared to other local competitors. To rank higher on Yelp, and therefore top position with Siri, businesses must constantly work to generate new good reviews on Yelp and optimize the business listing on Yelp, including as much information as possible in the profile. , choosing the most relevant category for the business, adding photos, optimizing the content of the listing with the target keywords, and always keeping the listing up to date.
Angulo explains it like this; “SMEs cannot lower their guard on social networks, since they will not only report the benefits derived from the visibility boost to users, they will also need to reap good references from users to access the benefits that a tool how the voice assistant can contribute to your business “.