Voice search is one of the fastest-growing technologies on the market. Voice assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa are quickly becoming everyday conveniences rather than the novelty they were even just five years ago.
But despite this rise in popularity, only 4% of local businesses are actively optimizing for voice search. We’ve compiled this guide filled with voice search tips for accountants to help you get in ahead of the curve and take advantage of this lack of competition.
Voice search optimization is a golden opportunity to reach more local customers and position your business to thrive in the next era of search.
Voice Search Trends and Patterns
As technology advances, voice search is becoming even easier and more intuitive to use. According to Google, 27% of internet searchers worldwide use voice search. And ComScore reports that over 50% of all smartphone users use voice search daily.
In America, 122.7 million people used voice search in 2021. And 58% of those searches were search queries about local businesses and services.
These statistics alone should be enough to convince you that it’s time to start optimizing your accounting firm’s online presence for voice search. But we have even more:
- One-third of Americans use voice search in some shape or fashion
- 71% of people prefer voice search to regular web searches
- 72% of people who use voice search use it daily
- 61% of 25-64-year-olds say they think they’ll end up using voice search more in the future
- By the end of 2022, it is predicted that 75% of US households will own a smart speaker
And on top of these numbers, we also have information about consumer behavior while using voice search.
When people use voice search to research local businesses, they are usually ready to contact a business at that moment. “Best accountants in [your city]”. “Accounting firm near me.” These are queries that people make when they are ready to hire an accountant.
Optimizing for voice search allows you to position your firm for success. You want to be that first result so the next query is, “Alexa, call [Your Accounting Firm]”.
Remember, according to SEMRush, 80% of voice search results come from the top three search engine results. So it’s vital that you take the time to optimize your online presence for the smart assistants that your target demographics are using.
Optimizing for the Different Voice Assistants
When it comes to voice assistants, there are four major players who dominate the voice search field:
- Google Assistant–36%
The percentages are the popularity rankings–i.e. how many people who use voice search own and use these products. As an accountant, you may have noticed that these numbers add up to 116%. This is because many households own multiple smart speaker or voice assistant devices and the brands don’t always match. For instance, someone with Siri on their iPhone may also own an Alexa smart speaker.
Each of these voice assistants is owned and operated by a different company. This means that while they serve similar purposes, they all have their own algorithms for voice search. One of the best voice search tips for accountants we can offer is to dig into your target audience and identify which assistants your potential clients are most likely to use.
This will help ensure that you are focusing your optimization efforts in the areas most likely to succeed. If your target audience is likely to use multiple or any of the assistants, you may want to consider optimizing for all four of the major brands. That may sound like a lot, but if you read through the tips below, you’ll find that there’s actually a lot of overlap that will help simplify your efforts.
Google Assistant is a Google product and is installed in Android phones, Google Home smart speakers, Android smart TVs, and Nest thermostats and security devices. As a Google product, it’s unsurprising that Google Assistant pulls all of its voice search information directly from Google My Business, Google Maps, and the Google search engine.
This means that optimizing for Google Assistant is no different than optimizing for Google Search and Google Maps. So if you’re already doing that, you should be golden! Just in case you’re not, here’s a list of Google-specific voice search tips for accountants:
- Claim & verify your GMB listing: https://support.google.com
- Add all relevant/necessary information about your business
- Maintain an updated and accurate listing
- Consistently get new Google reviews
- Create relevant content; Posts, Photos, Videos, Questions, and Answers
Remember that Google filters results based on the query. When people ask for “Top” or “Best” or “Highest Ranked”, only businesses with a 4-star ranking or higher are shown. So one of the most important things you can do to show up in the top results for “best accountants near me” is to cultivate as many good reviews as possible.
Siri is the Apple voice assistant. She pulls her business listing information directly from Apple Maps. Reviews, rankings, and photos for your business are pulled from Yelp. This means that to optimize for Siri, you will need to optimize both your Apple Maps and Yelp profiles.
If you’re tempted to skip Apple Maps because you’re already optimizing for Google Maps, remember that while Google Maps is more popular overall, 75% of people with iOS devices use Apple Maps. That’s a gigantic swath of your users considering how many people own iPhones over any other smartphone brand.
To optimize for Siri:
- Create an Apple ID and claim your Apple Maps listing: https://mapsconnect.apple.com/
- Complete your listing with all relevant/necessary information about your business:
- Business Name
- Phone number
- Hours of operation
- Get reviews and upload photos to your Yelp listing
Alexa is the OG in smart speakers and one of the most well-known smart assistants. Engineered and run by Amazon, Alexa is powered mainly by the information on your Yelp profile. This is where it pulls your business info, photos, and reviews.
Alexa will pull your information from Yelp, but you can also submit your information directly to Alexa through certain software like the Surefire Local Marketing Platform. To optimize for Alexa, make sure you:
- Get started and claim your business on Yelp: https://business.yelp.com/
- Enter complete information about your business; same as your other directories
- Consistently get new reviews and upload quality photos for your business every month
Microsoft’s Cortana is the least popular and known smart assistant. But a 19% market share is nothing to sneeze at, and Cortana is used in Microsoft Office, Microsoft Windows, and Xbox products.
Because it’s a Microsoft product, Cortana pulls all of its business data from Bing Places (the Bing version of Google My Business). For reviews and photos, it pulls from Yelp. Bing is a less popular search engine but before you write it off, you should know that it still pulled 126 million unique users and 6 billion searches in 2019. So make sure you’re not missing out on users and optimize for Cortana by:
- Getting started and claiming your business: https://www.bingplaces.com/
- You can also import your GMB listing information directly to Bing Places and receive instant verification
Other Voice Search Tips for Accountants
In addition to the steps listed above, there are other ways to grow your voice SEO.
Business directories can drastically affect your ranking score on Google and other search engines. Because the goal is to return the best and most accurate information to searchers, mismatched, incomplete, and incorrect information across directories can negatively impact your ranking.
Claim your business on the top platforms and make sure all information matches and is 100% correct. You should also completely fill out your profiles with your services, products, hours, and locations.
Update frequently with posts, FAQs, and pictures of your facility and ask your customers to leave you reviews when they’ve had a good experience!
As with all SEO efforts, content is still king when it comes to voice SEO. Most search results for voice are pulled directly from the “snippets” sections on Google. To help put your accounting firm in the limelight, write engaging, easy-to-understand content that answers frequently asked questions.
The more content you have on any particular content, the higher you’ll rank in the search results, and the better your chances of showing up in voice search results!
This may seem counterintuitive because we’re talking about “voice” search, but remember that many people using voice search are using it on their smartphones in place of typing. Whether they’re driving, walking, or they just enjoying the convenience, the result pulled up will still be visual.
That means that the photos, videos, and other visual content you post are more important than ever. Share high-quality photos across your digital footprint (social accounts, business listings, website, etc.). People love photos of staff, facilities, happy customers, and infographics.
Easily Manage Voice SEO and Grow Online Visibility Using Surefire Local
Surefire Local is an all-in-one marketing intelligence platform that allows you to monitor and manage your business’s entire digital footprint from one easy-to-use dashboard. Create and send email campaigns, post to social, monitor and respond to reviews, submit business listings, and more with Surefire Local!
Find out how Surefire Local can help you maintain and grow your digital presence and voice SEO strategy and schedule a demo today!