Siri, Cortana, Jarvis, and Google Home are always on the job, and all of these digital assistants are answering are answering local search queries with ever increasing accuracy. Digital assistants are quickly becoming known as “conversational search” queries – these type of queries use real conversations instead of the three or four syllable phrases we’ve been speaking into our phones. For example,” Please find me the best marketing, celebrity influencer and public relations agency in South Florida.” Digital assistants have revolutionized local search; not only by helping the user find what they are looking for locally but also support a nearby business that provides the services or goods they are searching for. After all, small businesses have been and always will be the backbone of the United States economy. Whether you are a new or established local business owner, the growth and widespread use of digital assistants will have a positive effect on your search rankings – BUT- you as the business owner need to roll up your sleeves, get in front of your computer and do the work. In this article from Search Engine Land, the author points out 11 actionable steps you can take to include Google Home, Alexa, Siri, etc. into your 2017 local search plan. 1) Your location data must be optimized. Digital assistants base local search results off location data. Make sure your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) are correct. Make it easy for digital assistants, search engines, and customers to find you. 2) Implement structured data. Schema markup data allows digital assistants to locate and better understand your website’s content. Add schema to your landing pages and improve your chances of showing up in your local results. 3) Fill out your Google My Business completely. Find and fill in any and all missing fields on GMB. All location and business attributes can contribute to rankings if they add relevancy to a user’s search, including things like “On-site Parking” or “Wi-Fi available.” Adding Attributes improve the user’s experience and help them find the best match to their search queries. 4) Keep up to date on location-based data. Location data is constantly in a state of flux and is becoming more refined all the time. Stay on top of industry trends and critical changes that could highlight and show your business in local search results. 5) Types of location data: Internet traffic information – i.e. IP address. Device-based location services – i.e., Wi-Fi access points, GPS signals, etc. 6) Gather reviews. Don’t be sky ask your customers to write you a review. Reviews verify the quality of a business or product for users and search engines and can provide a boost in website and foot traffic. Google Business, Yelp, and Facebook are great places to ask your customers to review your business. Monitor reviews and respond to feedback. Ask satisfied customers to leave reviews and feedback to bolster your reviews score. 7) Allow API connectivity. API connections connect users and digital assistants directly to brands/businesses. This connection can streamline the user experience. Not many businesses are fully embracing API yet, but this is changing rapidly. 8) Know and embrace your niche. Search engine Artificial Intelligence (AI) is starting to differentiate ranking factors by market niche. Retail websites vs. restaurant websites. Understand your niche, embrace what makes your business unique and plan around it. 9) Long-tail keywords are in. Incorporating natural speech patterns and mannerisms in your content will provide you will yield improved rankings. Digital Assistants algorithms are improving by the second by understanding colloquial speech and slang. Improve your PPC campaign and local search geo-targeting by choosing answers with “local intent” and with the objective being on conversion. 10) Experiment with local SEO. Try new things and learn more about local SEO. Learn how to use Google Analytics Trial and error drives local SEO success. The local search ecosystem is always changing, thanks to Google’s own algorithm experiments. 11) Become a conversationalist. “Conversational search” requires, yes conversation. As always, write for users, never for search engines. Natural-sounding, human-like answers can match up better with users’ needs providing a better user experience. Users will continue to rely on digital assistants to add convenience and stay organized in their everyday lives. The usage trend for digital assistants will continue to increase as this technology becomes further integrated into our homes. As a business owner or local SEO specialist, you must remain informed and deliver the best end-user experience you can. Digital assistants like Google Home and Alexa are competing for users’ undivided attention. As this digital assistant battle rages on, you need to remain on top of the best methods that provide users the best experience and most benefit. Local search is experiencing a radical right now, and as more and more technologies emerge and improve the search local experience and enhance the local search ecosystem, it’s up to you to implement the best practices. Does your brand or business need assistance with your local search efforts or need a complete website or marketing evaluation? Give Dreamweaver Brand Communications a call, and we’ll use our experience in lcoal SEO marketing services to help your website improve your overall ranking and business!