Most people don’t realize how often they use voice search technology on a daily basis. However, with every request for directions or addition to the grocery list, digital assistants like Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant are becoming one of the fastest-growing considerations in everyday life.
And as voice-activated devices become a more natural and integrated part of our lives, it is vital that your business optimizes your SEO and digital marketing efforts to capture that market share. After all, when someone asks Siri “Who’s the best dermatologist in [your city]?” or “dermatologists near me”, you want to be the first on the list.
Traditional search won’t be going away any time soon, but over the past five years, there has been significant growth in that sector. As the technology advances and becomes normalized, it becomes increasingly more convenient and accessible for people to conduct voice searches.
In fact, according to a study by Brightlocal, 53% of people who own a smart speaker use them to look up information about local businesses every day. That’s a statistic that should wake you up! You need to make sure that your dermatology practice is capturing that audience right when they need your services!
Not sure where to start? No problem! We’ve pulled together this list of our best voice search tips for dermatologists to help you optimize your campaigns and capture your ideal audience exactly when they’re looking for you.
Voice Search Trends and Insights
The Different Smart Devices and Assistants
The first thing you should consider when you’re optimizing your online presence for voice search is the voice devices themselves. Different brands of smartphones, speakers, and other smart devices operate on different data aggregators. This means that when you ask Siri and Google Assistant the same question, you will likely get slightly different answers. And there’s a very good reason why which we’ll get into a bit later.
So when you’re optimizing for your dermatology practice, make sure that you’re considering your target audience and which devices they’re most likely to use. You can optimize for voice in general, but your efforts will go furthest if you know how to optimize for the specific devices your audience is using.
As the first voice assistant in speaker form to hit the market, Alexa is one of the most well-known and often used voice-activated devices. Alexa is an Amazon product that was designed to help you search, purchase, and play online.
Because Alexa is an Amazon product, it uses Bing as its main search engine. This means that the business listings and reviews it uses to answer your queries are pulled from Yelp. As the most popular of the voice assistants, it’s likely that at least a portion of your audience is using Alexa. This means you should be investing time and money into optimizing for Bing as well as Google.
Siri is the Apple voice assistant. Siri is used in iPhones, iPads, Apple laptops, and Apple smartwatches. However, despite being an Apple product, Siri uses Google for its voice search data–not Safari.
Siri also uses Apple Maps to pull local business listings and Yelp for review-related queries. This mish-mash of sources means that if you’re optimizing for Siri users, you should be optimizing for Google, Apple Maps, and Yelp listings.
Google has exponentially expanded its voice-based technology offering over the last five to ten years. The Google Assistant is available in Android phones, Nest devices, Google Home speakers, and Google Mini speakers.
Because these are Google products, they pull–unsurprisingly–from Google and Google My Business for business listing and review information. If your customer base uses Android or tends towards other Google products, Google My Business is the place to focus your optimization efforts.
Cortana is probably the least popular of the voice-search assistants. But it’s rapidly increasing in popularity as it releases new features and improves its interface. Cortana is a Microsoft product. This means that, like Amazon, it pulls from Bing and Yelp rather than Google.
Trends in Voice Search During the Customer Journey
Understanding where voice search falls in the customer journey can help you refine your optimization efforts. For instance, if most of your patients use Alexa, you should probably be focusing on crafting messaging and improving your presence on Bing and Yelp.
The most popular digital assistants are Google Assistant and Siri. They each hold 36% of the market share. The reason for this popularity is directly tied to smartphone use–Siri is the iPhone voice assistant and Google Assistant is the Android interpretation.
Alexa is next on the list with 25% of the market. Alexa is also the single most popular speaker voice assistant. Cortana comes in last, but still holds an impressive 19% of the market. The final 1% is a combination of all the off-brand voice-activated devices and assistants.
These numbers reaffirm what we already know about voice search–that most people use it on their smartphones. This data indicates that you should be optimizing for mobile use as well as voice in general.
According to a recent BrightLocal study:
- 56% of people use their smartphones to voice search for local businesses
- 28% of people use the voice assistant on their computers
- 26% of people use tablets to access voice assistants
- 18% of people use smart speakers to search for businesses
This is important for your dermatology practice because it helps you determine how your potential patients are finding you. The average person using voice search is in the Discovery or Direct phase of their customer journey.
The discovery phase of the customer journey could also be called the “research” phase. In this phase, queries like, “Dermatology offices near me,” and “Who is the best dermatologist in [your city]?” are most common.
These are the search results you want your dermatology practice to show up in! The discovery phase is when potential patients are forming opinions about which doctor to choose. Optimizing your online presence can help you show up in the top results.
Remember, most voice assistants don’t bother with anything beyond the first three listings because people don’t have the same capacity to absorb information when they’re just hearing results versus reading them. This means it’s vital that you improve your reviews and rankings.
The direct phase could also be called the contact phase. When a customer is in the direct phase of the customer journey, they tend to reach out directly to schedule an appointment or ask a question about your services.
Queries like, “Call Williams Dermatology,” are most common in the direct phase.
This is where optimization of your business listings and directories is key. The patient is reaching out–hurray! But if your phone number isn’t accurate or your phone system doesn’t accept calls from certain systems, all that effort could be wasted–and you could lose a potential patient.
Remember, most patients will just call another dermatologist if they get a busy signal. Most people won’t bother to look up the correct information. So make sure you have control of your business listings as you optimize for voice!
Voice Search Tips for Dermatologists
When you’re optimizing for voice search, there is a lot of overlap between the assistants and devices. To avoid confusion, we’ve created this checklist of voice search tips for dermatologists. It includes general optimization tips as well as specific tips for each assistant.
Optimizing for Siri
The first step for optimizing with Siri is to make sure you’re signed in to Apple Maps Connect with your practice’s Apple ID. Claim your business listing to ensure that Siri can pull accurate and up-to-date information from Apple Maps.
You can also set your business hours in Apple Maps Connect. Just keep them general, because there’s no customization for holidays. Setting hours is important because the search algorithms will prioritize practices listed as “open” during the time of the search.
Remember that Siri also pulls from Yelp and TripAdvisor, so you should work on expanding your presence on those platforms as well.
Optimizing for Google Assistant
Google Assistant is the easiest interface to optimize for because it’s already linked to the largest search engine system in the world! When you optimize for Google, you’re automatically optimizing for Google Assistant. Just make sure that your Google My Business account is completely up-to-date and filled out:
- Verify your Google My Business Listing
- Update your practice’s information
- Upload photos of your facility and staff (just make sure it’s HIPAA-compliant!)
- Fill out the services section completely
- Create and answer FAQs
- Link your GMB account to your Google Ads account
- Respond to reviews
Optimizing for Alexa
Alexa may only hold 25% of the market for voice assistants, but when it comes to speakers, she represents 70% of voice search queries. To optimize for Alexa, you have to optimize Yelp:
- Post HIPAA-compliant photos
- Make sure your practice’s info is accurate
- Respond to reviews
- Post updates to your services and staff
Optimizing for Cortana
Cortana holds an impressive 1-in-5 voice searches through Microsoft Office, Windows, and Xbox. All of the data for its responses is found through Bing. While this is a much less popular search engine compared to Google, one in five makes it worth optimizing for, especially if your target patients are over the age of 40.
Follow these Bing voice search tips for dermatologists:
- Claim your listing on Bing Places
- Upload HIPAA-compliant photos
- List all of your services
- Make sure you verify your listing
You should also consider advertising through Bing Ads, which will lift your overall quality score with the Bing search engine. And since it’s less popular, it’s also cheaper to advertise through, so your money and optimization efforts will go further!
Maximize Your Online Presence
Maximize your online presence and make voice search optimizations easy with the leading all-in-one marketing intelligence platform from Surefire Local! Request a demo today to learn how we can help grow your dermatology practice and improve your optimization efforts!