Here is a question Robert Wiebusch asked me on Facebook yesterday:
“Oh Siri, you have so much to learn. Any experts out there know who Siri’s source is for finding businesses? Wink wink, Jeff Turner…”
My answer was short and to the point, “Looks like you’re going to have to up your game on Yelp! :)” To which Robert replied, “Thanks JT! We will up our Yelping.”
What is the best title company in Omaha, Nebraska? The graphic on the right shows the two title companies in Omaha that Siri recommended. Siri uses Yelp to find local businesses, so these two were pulled directly from Yelp, and sorted based on Yelp user ratings. At the time of Robert’s search, no title company in Omaha, Nebraska had a single Yelp review. Not one. So, the results returned were actually random. And it got me thinking… could there be a Siri effect on it’s way… people increasing their Yelp activity and encouraging Yelp reviews so they can be found on Siri searches?
The Siri Effect In Action
Moments after I recommended that he up his Yelp game, Robert went and placed a review on his company’s Yelp profile. Now, when I search on Yelp for title companies in Omaha, Nebraska, his company shows up before any other title company, though still behind a small batch brewery and a car dealership. In fact, another title company doesn’t show up until number 8 on the search list.
If you look closely, the search words are in bold in the reviews. Robert’s full review reads like this, “I have used Omaha Title as a real estate agent and have been a customer through a refi and these folks are the best in the Greater Omaha Area. Service is outstanding and the communication made for very smooth transactions. Thumbs up!” Since Robert now works at the company, I’d prefer to see him add an additional sentence that makes that clear, but I’m left wondering how using the words “title company” in his review would improve the placement in search? How would multiple reviews improve the search results? And how long will it take for Siri to register these new rankings?
I did the same Siri search this morning and got the same results. The two companies in the graphic don’t appear anywhere in the top 10 when I search on Yelp directly, so their inclusion as the ONLY two companies found is a bit of a mystery. When I change the search to “title insurance company,” Siri returns 27 results, none of them Omaha Title. But when I do the same search on Yelp, Omaha Title comes up number 2. I think it’s critical, for Siri specifically, to create highly descriptive Yelp profiles. But that is not all you should be doing.
Android Voice Actions & Your Google Places Page
Siri is not the only voice activated search tool in town. Google Android’s Voice Actions offer similar features to Siri. And while Siri uses Yelp, Voice Actions depends on Google Places. Google places used to import reviews from sites like Yelp and others, but the service now only looks at unique reviews placed by users directly on the Google Places profile. My guess is that no title company in Omaha, Nebraska has a complete (correct name, location, appropriate keywords, etc) Google Places profile either. And every business is going to have to step up its game to get customers to go on these sites to place their reviews. It’s not enough to simply collect them on your website.
Robert may be unique, but I doubt it. Lots of local businesses are going to be asking Siri questions, hoping that their business will show up in the Siri recommendations. Even more may ultimately use Android’s Voice Actions. And I predict it will increase awareness of Google Place Pages and Yelp reviews in business categories, like title insurance, that have previously not paid any attention at all. The Siri effect.
What do you think?
Derek Overbey says
Very interesting stuff Jeff. With all these different outlets that people use to find information, it’s making it more challenging for single companies to game the system. But it also makes it more challenging for companies to have their information appear in all the search spots. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out over the next 2-5 years.
Gahlord Dewald says
Nailed it. This is the real way of approaching voice-driven search optimization.
Thanks for including actual research instead of pure guesswork.
Laura Monroe says
Interesting and timely..was just speaking with a mortgage broker about his social media presence. He has the whole hub/spoke thing going on and is getting most of his leads from Yelp..makes me wonder if they are voice searches. He is not on Google Places..yet 🙂
Brad Nix says
Spot on. The real innovation for Siri is search, not voice recognition.
But how do you account for the inevitable ‘masses are asses’ factor on sights like Yelp and G Places? Sooner than later after most all businesses will be there and all will be reviewed by many. And all will end up at 3.5 stars.
Jeff Turner says
No question, Brad. This will be evolving very quickly. And this post may be dated in a month. 🙂
Desiree Scales says
I predict those results are not coming from Yelp. Only the reviews are. You actually proved it by doing a search on Siri and not finding your friend even though he’s coming up on the top of Yelp’s results. A listing on Google Places is important but if your site isn’t mobile friendly, it’s not going to come up. Bottom line is Siri is going to change quickly. Right now the results don’t give a website address, only pins on a map. I don’t think anyone has really cracked this yet. Those that do will ultimately come out way ahead. I’m working on it, believe me.
Desiree Scales says
One additional note, a large steakhouse in Atlanta, Bones, has over 176 reviews on Yelp. They are not showing up on Siri for “Atlanta Steaks” or “Steak in Atlanta” or anything to do with eating a sirloin in Hotlanta. Curious, eh?
Jeff Turner says
It is curious, but according to every report I read in researching this, the results are indeed coming from Yelp. And, no I certainly don’t think I’ve cracked this, especially for Siri, and especially since this is a moving target and may always be a moving target. The challenge for everyone will be keeping up, just as it has been for traditional SEO.
Ira Serkes says
How can I test iPhone Siri results without having the 4s?
Jeff Turner says
I don’t think you can.