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Getting your business found by voice search: new study shows you how

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Voice search is becoming a key battleground for hard-pressed retailers, especially smaller, local ones – but most have no idea how to get ‘found’. Now a study that assess Voice Search Readiness (VSR) of 73,000 UK business locations aims to help.

Uberall, the location management solution for businesses competing to attract and win local bricks-and-mortar customers, today released its Uberall Voice Search Readiness Report 2019, analysing 73,000 business locations from small businesses right up to large enterprises. The report is the first-of-its-kind and the most comprehensive analysis ever on Voice Search Readiness (VSR).

Today, when a consumer issues a command such as “OK Google/Siri/Alexa, find the best garage in my area,” the query will return only one result at a time. This means that, unlike with desktop and mobile search results, only one business can win. Furthermore, when a user conducts a voice search to find out information about shops or services in their area, the accuracy and consistency of business listings across certain key directories will determine which outlet is recommended in the search results.

While several attempts have been made to provide comprehensive voice search ranking factors, until now there are no clear and quantitative standards or definitions that are widely accepted for VSR. Uberall’s latest report solves this by providing businesses with a methodology they can follow to benchmark and improve their voice search visibility.

“Voice search is one of the most hyped, yet perhaps least understood topics confronting businesses today,” says Norman Rohr, SVP of Marketing at Uberall. “Very few firms understand what’s required to become ‘voice search ready’ or whether there is actually an ROI justification to begin investing in it. With this report, we are rationalising the discussion and helping brands and the agencies that support them identify how they can diagnose their own voice search readiness and improve it.”

Rohr continues: “We set out to define VSR using a percentage-based grading system that analyses a business’s optimised online presence. This way, a business can see if their online listings are optimised for local voice search queries and understand the exact problems they need to address.”

Where to list

For the analysis, Uberall identified 37 directories that directly feed voice search platforms and ranked them according to how important they are to a business’s VSR. The top three platforms for VSR are, in order:

1.Google + Google Maps



“According to our experts, listings on Google, Yelp and Bing hold the most influence over voice search results; because of this, these three platforms comprise approximately 90% of our voice search readiness score. Unfortunately, only 3.82% of business locations analysed had correct information, even on these three major directories. While Bing is in the top three, it remains the most neglected listing platform,” continues Rohr.

Interestingly, the report goes on to find that dentists are the most voice ready – the average VSR score across all 73,000 business locations was 44.12%. Dentists had the highest average VSR score at 96.82%, followed by health-food businesses (96.60%). In contrast, consumer protection organisations (0.20%) had the lowest score.  

Apple Maps has minimal impact on voice rankings, although Apple Maps is certainly an important directory, according to Uberall’s study, business listings on this platform will not help with voice search optimisation.

Inaccurate, missing information is also impacting VSR. Uberall’s study also identified the categories of business information that were most likely to be missing or wrong. The most glaring mistakes and omissions came with opening hours, with Uberall finding 978,305 opening hour errors across listings, accounting for nearly half of all listings analysed.

“Publishing the wrong opening times is one of the most glaring mistakes businesses continue to make,” adds Rohr. “When a consumer conducts a search for a business online, they expect and trust that the information listed will be accurate. If the customer then turns up and finds that the business is closed, the immediate result is a loss of trust that will likely discourage them from ever returning to a business location.”

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