By Matt Matergia, Director of Business Development, Mono Solutions

Voice search is one of the latest and greatest tech trends to take consumers by storm.  In fact, comScore predicts half of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. But what does it mean for SMBs and the digital service providers who serve them? What investments do SMBs need to make? And how difficult and time consuming is it?

Many small business owners don’t realize that they already have one of the most valuable assets for leveraging voice search – their website. Just like in traditional search, voice search is based on finding the right content to answer the voice search query. And in voice search queries about SMBs, there is no source that is more authoritative than the website.

What’s more, small business owners have the unique advantage of regularly interacting and servicing their customers. These first-hand interactions enable SMBs to more easily stay in touch with what is relevant for the customer base, and provides a solid foundation of knowledge for producing a relevant online content strategy that integrates common customer queries, as well as the SMBs’ value proposition.

That said, most small business owners don’t have the time to take advantage of their special customer knowledge and might not even know how to update content on their website. Their digital service providers need to be able to help them capitalize on their unique position. To remain competitive against the large enterprises that have already invested in voice technology, it’s crucial that digital service providers equip their SMB customers with:

  • A strong technology platform that builds websites optimized for traditional, local and voice search. This means delivering websites that fulfil a high technical performance, such as page speed, W3C compliance and SSL. Furthermore, incorporating structured data ( mark up in JSON-LD and Microdata formats) is crucial to ensuring that search engines can effectively crawl and identify content that is relevant to voice search queries.
  • Content that leverages their customer knowledge and makes use of strategic editorial considerations. By asking customer-centric questions, digital service providers can develop natural language content, such as FAQs, which makes it easier for voice technology to give concrete and relevant answers. For example, traditional search queries are often static (e.g., weather new york), a similar voice search query would be phrased as a natural question (e.g., what is the weather like in New York?).
  • Consistency across their online presence to ensure that no matter where search engines find the information it is correct. By leveraging their website as the proprietary local data hub that functions as ebb and flow of business information, SMBs can ensure the users always get accurate information (e.g., address, opening hours).
  • Building a reputation online through reviews and ratings in order to help search engines determine the popularity of the SMB. Voice technology uses these kinds of rankings to provide the best possible result for the user.

The continued adoption of voice technology is, without a doubt, one of the next big tech trends facing SMBs. And as consumers require more advanced capabilities from digital voice assistants (such as booking appointments), a website built on a data-driven technology platform with relevant and structured content will be crucial to the survival of small businesses. Furthermore, SMBs will need the support and guidance of their digital service provider to ensure that their website is serving as the proprietary source of business information for all forms of search – traditional, local and voice search.

To put it simply – voice technology is a huge opportunity for SMBs and they have the customer knowledge needed to execute a successful content strategy. But SMBs need the help of their B2SMB digital service providers to successfully execute the technical, data-driven aspect of optimizing for voice search.

For more content (incl. a white paper) on voice search and the impact on SMB websites, visit the Mono Solutions blog.

Author: Director of Business Development at Mono Solutions, ( Matt Matergia runs business development for Mono in North America. With nearly a decade in the local and digital media industry, Matt has years of hands-on experience with the challenges companies face when selling digital services and technology to SMBs from working with some of the biggest names in local and digital media like Dex Media (now DexYP) and Location3 Media.