The rise of voice search is on the minds of every cannabis marketer, as voice assistant technologies continue to influence how your customers search for products and services online.
One in six people in the U.S. owns a smart speaker such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home. That influence carries over to smartphones, with 44 percent of speaker owners engaging their phone’s voice assistant feature more frequently out of habit. When all is said and done, experts predict that half of all internet searches will be conducted by talking to Siri or Alexa by 2020.
While 2020 may seem far away, that time is not a luxury: organic search takes months to shift, and that means preparing for future trends around the bend. Being ahead of the curve ensures that your business stays on top in this increasingly-competitive cannabis industry, and voice search and cannabis is the perfect place to begin.
What does the rise of voice search mean for cannabis businesses?
People speak differently than they type. A customer looking for a dispensary in Massachusetts’ soon-to-be-legal adult-use program, for example, may type “dispensary near me” or “buy marijuana Boston” into a search engine. However, someone speaking to a device may ask, “Alexa, where can I buy weed in Boston?” or “Siri, what’s the best cannabis dispensary in Cambridge?”
The key term here is ask. (What a throwback: we haven’t asked Jeeves in years.) Internet searches have become conversations with our devices, asking questions of our voice assistants in our regular, everyday voices. This means that cannabis slang such as “weed” or “pot” may rise in popularity as a search term in the months and years ahead. The difference looks subtle to most, but it represents an enormous shift for search engines.
Voice search also impacts local search results, which is especially relevant for plant-touching enterprises that rely on a regionally-locked customer base. Serious customers want to act — where can they go and what can they do right now to get the information, product or service they need. Since most voice search technologies pull results from local listings, business owners can capitalize on reaching the local market. Voice search and cannabis truly are the perfect fit!
What can your cannabis business do now to prepare for voice search?
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Whether you’re a new cannabis business building a new website or redesigning an old website, it’s an absolute must to be mobile-friendly.
- Claim your Google My Business and Apple Maps listings. Google is still by far the most-used search platform, and Google places great emphasis on your complete and up-to-date Google My Business listing. A customer that asks about your dispensary’s hours of operation, for example, will prompt voice search to locate your Google My Business listing. Plus, more than 85 million people in the United States own iPhones, which makes an Apple Maps listing just as important as Google My Business. It’s one of the most productive steps to take for optimized voice search and cannabis businesses.
- Claim your other local directory listings. If your business was automatically listed on platforms such as Yellowpages.com, make sure to “claim” these listings and fill them with relevant information. Make sure your business also appears on cannabis-focused directories such as Weedmaps.
- Brush up on your website’s FAQs. Many website have a “frequently asked questions” section. Since people ask questions of their voice assistants, properly optimizing your FAQs will go a long way in helping to pair your webpage with the searcher’s inquiry.
- Ask questions in your content and answer them directly. Pull a Jeopardy! and turn your statements into questions. Instead of writing “Menu” on your dispensary’s menu page, for example, write “What’s on [name of dispensary]’s menu?”
Organic search techniques are always evolving. The best way to stay on top is to stay ahead of the curve. When you work with CannaContent on your organic search strategy, web design, content, social, or brand identity, you’re working with professionals who work on the cutting edge, constantly incorporating new developments and putting them to work for your cannabis business. Got a project in mind? Get in touch today — or ask your voice assistant to do it for you!