Synup’s Voice Readiness Tool Helps Local Businesses Know if Voice Assistants Can Find Them
Synup, the location marketing software company, has released a new Voice Readiness Test tool. It is designed for small businesses to determine how accurately Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa portray information about location, store hours, and other details. All you need to do is enter your store or business name and the Synup service automatically looks it up in Google Places and offers suggestions in a drop-down menu (panel #1 in the image below). Once you select the correct location the service interrogates a Google Home and Amazon Echo to determine their responses to a series of questions. The results are displayed along with a voice readiness score once completed (panel #2).
Half of the score is based on Synup’s interpretation of the answers and the other half relies on the user to confirm the responses are correct or mark them as incorrect. A correct response ratchets the score upward (panels #3 and #4). The answers range from completely correct to clearly incorrect to the voice assistant not offering any information at all. The obvious goal is for all of the questions to be answered correctly through both smart speakers.
After completing the personal scoring of the responses, the user can request the report be emailed to them. The emailed PDF includes the same information displayed on the screen as well as supplement data and a “Voice Readiness Cheat Sheet” which offers general tips on how to optimize your voice query results for voice assistant interactions. My example searching for a Best Buy location reported that Alexa reported 88% inaccurate information (N.B. also includes non-responses) and Google Assistant was 75% accurate.
Becoming Voice Ready
The tool offers quick insights and is a good first-step for local businesses looking to ensure they can be found by voice assistant users. Smart speakers were in use by more than 57 million U.S. adults as of September 2018 and that number is surely higher post-Christmas. In addition, Voicebot research shows that there are about 90 million monthly active users of voice assistants on smartphones. The number one use case is to answer a general question and another top-five entry is to find a place to eat. These are both queries that can lead users to local businesses if the information provided is accurate. Knowing there are errors offers local businesses an opportunity to update databases that the voice assistants use to answer these questions.
Drishtii Jaisingh is the Synup product manager for the Voice Readiness Tool. She commented during an interview that, “Our objective is raising awareness around voice search and the importance of your data being uniform across the web.” The tool was initially launched in September 2018 and more than 1,500 voice readiness tests have been run by local businesses over three months. The average voice readiness score across these searches has been approximately 19% according to the company.
Since my search was for the location of a national retailer, Best Buy, the score after I had answered all of the questions was much higher than average at 68%. However, there were still opportunities for improvement. For example, Alexa couldn’t answer 5 of the 8 questions and a sixth was incorrect. Google Assistant had two incorrect answers although one was clearly an issue of misappropriating my location at the time of the search. Best Buy could benefit most from updating the search databases consulted by Alexa both because of its poor performance and the fact that it controls over three-fifths of the U.S. smart speaker market.
The Emerging Era of Voice Assistant SEO
What we see here is more evidence that many SEO experts don’t fully comprehend how different voice assistant SEO is from traditional SEO. A straight Google search for these queries will yield a higher success rate. However, voice assistants don’t necessarily consult Google’s knowledge graph before offering an answer. There are other factors involved. Synup is offering a tool that enables local businesses to quickly gauge how they are currently positioned for searches conducted through voice assistants. It will also help these businesses understand what they need to do to improve their results. And todya, the tool is free to use.