By Maddie Langston, IDOC Practice Marketing Consultant
One of the most important parts of your digital marketing plan is ensuring your practice website appears high in local search results for eye care, eye diseases, eye disorders and the eye wear products you dispense in your optometry practice. While you may be working with a website administrator for SEO, I’d like to make you aware of some things happening with voice search and the smart speakers which 43M adults in the United States now own.
I own an Amazon Alexa. Right now, I use Alexa to play music from my Spotify account, but sometimes I’ll ask it basic questions. I received Alexa as a Christmas present in 2017, and evidently, I wasn’t alone – the most downloaded app from the Apple App Store and Google Play on Christmas day 2017 was the Amazon Alexa app.
Whenever I try to use Alexa for local search, I’ve noticed it does a pretty bad job returning results, so I’ve mostly stuck to using my phone when I need to find places nearby – but this is about to change. Up to now, local business information for Amazon Alexa has come from Yelp, but as of July 2018, Yext is now feeding local business information directly to Amazon for access through Alexa. Local business information includes name, address, phone number and hours of operation, but Yext plans on expanding to include more types of data fields in the future.
Voice search isn’t new. Google launched the voice search app for the iPhone in November 2008, and since then, we’ve grown accustomed to voice search assistants through Siri and Cortana. Google estimates that 1/5 of all daily searches are completed via voice versus typed queries which is around 200M searches per day.
Whether prospective patients choose to use their smart speakers or their mobile devices for local search, voice search is on the rise. It’s estimated that up to 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. We use more words in voice search than we do when we type, because we’re talking and it’s easier. Optimizing your website for voice search should be a priority for you in your digital marketing plan, and I encourage you to work with a good website administrator to make sure your website is well–optimized for these longer voice searches. This will ensure your practice has maximum visibility when people nearby are searching for eye care services you provide, and eye wear products you dispense.
Maddie Langston brings extensive experience in marketing and sales administration and has developed strategies to drive sales for various industries. Most recently, Maddie developed marketing programs for a national network of independently owned auto repair service centers. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Liberty University. Maddie and her husband Jim have a teenage son and two beagles. She enjoys reading, watching documentaries and hiking in her spare time.