You’ve likely already heard of Siri, the iPhone’s voice assistant. It can tell you what the meaning of life is, what the weather tomorrow will be like, and what the best pizza shop in your area is. Siri gives you answers without you having to type your questions into a search engine.
For example, rather than searching for “best pizza Boston” on Google, you simply ask Siri what the best pizza in Boston is. Siri acts much like a search engine, which is why many people who rely on search engines for traffic are scared of what Siri can do to their traffic numbers.
Let’s say you own a blog and you get most of your traffic from Google, Siri threatens your site’s very existence because, one day, Google may be providing you no traffic at all.
If you ask Siri: “I need a haircut”, Siri will give you a list of barbershops from Google Places or Yelp!. If Siri can’t find the information you’re looking for, it will offer to Google it. Siri still gives you information from third party sources, meaning that local SEO (getting links, getting reviews for your business) will allow Siri users to find your business.
But what about the future? Apple is already making plans to rid its iOS of Google Maps and replace it with its own, much more detailed, version. What’s to keep it from doing the same thing with Google’s search engine?
So, what’s a local business to do if it wants to maintain a stable online presence in the midst of these possible changes?
1. Keep on doing local SEO. Get reviews to your Google Places page and other review sites, such as Yelp!, Yahoo! Local, etc. Build backlinks to your local site. Doing so will guarantee your business an online presence for many years to come.
Although nobody knows how Siri will spit out answers in the future, it’s safe to say that it will look at multiple sites to come up with its answers. Furthermore, even though Apple iOS has Siri and takes in almost 60% of web traffic, Google’s Android accounts for almost 30% of web usage.
So, it’s not like Siri will make Google a non factor anytime soon. It may be another 5-10 years before Siri starts taking a percentage point away from Google’s search business.
2. Encourage customers to leave online reviews. Traditional search engines and Apple’s Siri do their best to provide answers to its users. Rather than worrying about people finding you online, do your business so well so that people write glowing reviews about you.
Start a local blog so that local residents recognize you as an expert in your field. If you’re a good business with happy customers and a solid reputation, both of which are visible online, you don’t have to care about people finding you because Google (or Apple) will do the work for you.
3. Optimize your site for mobile visitors. If you look at your Google Analytics account, how much of your traffic is coming from mobile visitors? If you go to your “Visitors” Tab, select Mobile and you’ll be able to see exactly how much traffic you are getting to your website from mobile operating systems such as Android, iPhone, and iPad.
Optimizing your site for mobile visitors won’t guarantee that your site will be found by future visitors but it will guarantee that your site will be navigable. And, who knows, maybe your site’s mobile optimization will be a factor in ranking it for mobile web searches. In fact, Adwords has already noted that it will take mobile optimization into account for its quality scores.
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