Why Local Pages are the Key to Unlocking a Voice Search Strategy

The concept of using landing pages and store locators is hardly new. Businesses have been using store locators and pages inside a national website strategy for more than a decade. So why are we stressing that every company should reinvest in local pages and reevaluate their local on-page content?  

One simple reason: Voice Search.

Our recent research report on Voice Search suggests that the majority of consumers engaged with or visit a nearby business after conducting a voice search. In fact, 88% of consumers surveyed are likely to use driving directions after making a local voice search. National businesses must optimize local search content to engage with this shopper.

However, the world of local search has dramatically changed in the past few years as the shift from desktop to mobile occurred. With the rise in mobile usage has come a new type of search – the voice search. Mobile users are searching with mobile intent – such as products near me, hours and driving directions and with the adoption of voice search, those intent searches have changed. The queries differ: they are longer, sound like a conversation and are very specific to products and purchasing intent. If a brand’s website strategy was designed for a traditional text search, they are now missing the largest growing local search opportunity. It’s possible the brand’s competitors are missing it too.  

Voice Search combines mobile intent with unbranded searches.  Shoppers are looking for their questions answered, such as:

  • What urgent care is still open?
  • Who serves kombucha downtown?
  • Where’s the closest ATM?
  • Where can I buy khaki school uniforms for a size 8 girl?
  • What florist carries fresh tulips near me?
  • Where is the best gnocchi in Little Italy?
  • Where can I get a black suit with same day alterations?
  • What groomer handles skunk removal for a german shepherd?

The options really are endless so marketers must rely on unbranded keywords to help the voice searcher find products and services. In some ways, this is just like traditional SEO and core content strategies. The difference is that a brand needs to do this level of customization at a local level. The obvious first step in localizing content is to manage local listings – use enhanced content such as descriptions, categories, Q&A, posts, and other available content-  to drive traffic to your locations. But over the past few years, our data suggests that most large brands have addressed this. Our recent local brand report suggests that across the 12 large brands surveyed, the average listing accuracy is 90.75%.

So the next step in everyone’s marketing strategy should be to own the local search beyond GMB listings. The key to creating local search authority for products and services is to have unbranded, localized content created for each location that connects with the voice search to the specific desired local transaction.  

Enter Stage Left… Local Pages.

Local Pages are a strong tool to optimize for local voice search and frankly, there is no other method we’ve seen that consistently allows a brand to create the volume of localized content pages at scale. Think of it as publishing a microsite for each and every location managed – all structured properly with schema to optimize the local search in the moment of intent. It works in every industry because each industry has its own localized content, its own hierarchy of services, and its own local searchers.  

Here’s a few examples:

Healthcare: Local Pages for each Clinic; each department or specialty; each doctor; each subject of interest: insurance, vaccinations, weight loss, and mental health.

Banking: local pages for each branch; department/products/specialty (personal/commercial/lending/investment) and specialized staff (investment banking, mortgage lender); each subject of interest: first home purchase; retirement planning.

Salon: local pages for each location; categories for types of services and product pages for each manufacturer or product offered; pages per stylist.

Retail: local pages for each location; departments: boys clothes, maternity; school uniforms; subjects of interest: seasonal promotions, in-store events, loyalty programs, social media promotions

We could go on and on… the options for local pages are as endless as the questions the voice search evokes. Since ComScore is predicting that by 2020 more than 50% of all searches will be conducted via voice, we are a bit surprised that we don’t see more brands recrafting their pages for local search. Instead, brands still have a desktop search approach for local pages – a simple locator with just a page per location.  Just the address, phone number, hours of operation, and a few pieces of generic content. This strategy is no different than their national marketing campaigns and both lack Voice Engine Optimization. This content strategy is upside down for a voice search. Voice searchers will not go to the national home page first but rather the page locally that best matches their local intent. Therefore,  you must have to have multiple landing pages per location – all based on the intent of the voice search.

Perhaps the concept of local pages sounds intimidating. It’s really not, it starts with focusing on a few core content components for these local pages. To make it easier for marketers, we pulled together our “Anatomy of a Good Local Page” diagram to get you started.

#1 Geo-Locator:

Start with making sure customers find the right location every time including:

  • Automatic Geolocation
  • Autocomplete Address Search
  • Advanced Filtering

 





#2 Customized Landing Pages:

Create online resources that will drive offline traffic to locations. Confirm details that are listed on citations.

  • Interactive Map
  • Address & Contact Information
  • Business Hours
  • Driving Directions

 

#3 Location-Specific Information:

Local pages with the location-specific information your customers need all in one place. Utilize structured data with schema with local SEO content to help grow your search rankings.

  • Core Categories with sub pages for localized content/service
  • Department Pages – go deeper than categories where appropriate
  • City, State, Regional Pages to roll up your locations by area
  • Accepted payment types, insurance and other relevant buying data
  • FAQs on every service and product
  • Content-Rich Reviews

#4 Products and Services:

List out product and service offerings available on each local page. Incorporating unbranded keywords can help the business rank higher for voice search and mobile intent.

  • Product & Service Pages – go deep into product specifics
  • Menu & Bookings – engage with the consumer on specific menu items and book reservations
  • Promotions, Coupons & Discounts – draw traffic into your locations or gain engagement

 

#5 Voice Optimized Schema Markup:

Lastly, once the content is completely localized and properly structured, you must wrap pages with schema markup designed to reach a customer no matter how they search.

  • On-page SEO
  • Schema Markup
  • XML Sitemaps
  • Meta Tags

 

#6 Advanced Integrations:

Take advantage of the national campaigns for conversions and inject apps and engagement tools into the local pages, such as:

  • Social Media
  • Delivery Services
  • Booking Services

 

Getting started on local pages is easy and can start with as little as a spreadsheet. If you are interested in learning more about capturing the attention of voice searchers in your local market, click here.