The Google Assistant keeps getting better, whether its supporting new languages or adding notifications for voice apps. Last week on the Google blog, the company announced the Google Assistant is now even wiser when it comes to finding local home services like an electrician, a plumber or house cleaner. Unlike a typical web search for local help, the Assistant will ask you a few follow-up questions after an initial query like “Ok Google, find me a plumber” and provide a list of local options. The new feature is set to roll out this week to Android phones, the iOS Assistant app and smart devices like Google Home. For now, you can see how it works in the example provided by Google below.
The Increased Importance of Voice SEO
Before the days of the internet, typically those looking for a reliable plumber or electrician would ask friends or neighbors, relying on word-of-mouth. Of course with the rise of the internet, companies like HomeAdvisor and Porch now provide that same solution by pre-screening and reviewing thousands of home service companies. Google stated in its blog it will rely heavily on its own reviews and those sites so users can feel confident in Google Assistant’s suggestions.
This new feature also highlights the increased importance of voice SEO (my colleague Bret Kinsella had an extended discussion on this topic with Google Assistant group product manager Brad Abrams in the Voicebot Podcast Episode 14). For local businesses, being one of the top choices the Google Assistant will provide is incredibly important as the example Google provided on its blog only shows the voice assistant providing three choices on the mobile app. On the Google Home, it could only be one or two.
Google Assistant’s ability to provide more specific search results is great from a user experience perspective. For local service providers, it could hurt those without a lot of reviews or quality websites. Or, maybe it just means that only the best of the local bunch will get the perks of being deemed worthy of Google Assistant’s attention.