Anyone who has access to the internet nowadays has bought something online at some point. It’s so normal now. 67% of millennials, and 56% of Gen Xers prefer to shop online. There’s no doubt about it. E-commerce is a highly valuable market to tap into — now more than ever. So, putting aside for the moment that e-commerce is a market on the verge of exploding, let’s look at the value of voice search, too.
Content existing on the internet is in the middle of a voice search revolution. Voice search is one of the best examples to illustrate how fast the digital space changes. You’ve heard it said time and time again that to remain at the top, you have to be knowledgeable on all the latest updates and trends.
On the one hand, we have the practice of buying things online. It’s not a fad. It’s a lifestyle now.
And then there’s the fact that voice search sells extraordinarily. It’s gotten to a point where it’s totally normal to find a human having a conversation with their smartphone or smart speaker and receiving legit responses, too.
So is it a far-fetched thought if we say voice search and e-commerce is going to combine soon? Who’s to say that it hasn’t already?
How Voice Search is Changing the E-commerce Game
Retailers should really give voice search and its corresponding devices more credit. We have Microsoft’s Cortana, Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, Samsung’s Bixby, Apple’s Siri, and others. Engineers are easily finding a way to rapidly spread voice-driven user experience.
Non-e-commerce brands are finding ways to connect to their target audiences through voice search.
Now, how does that work to change and enhance the shopping experience? Voice search has claimed that it can make the lives of shoppers much easier through personalized and curated recommendations. For example, if you want to go shopping for groceries, you need only tell Alexa what you need, and the system will suggest or add items that would match your needs automatically.
Furthermore, it saves repeat customers time and the trouble of having to reorder. Digital assistants are capable of saving past orders. You can just tell your digital assistant to order the soap or shampoo from last time.
With this kind of capability, the possibilities are endless. And as a marketer or an e-commerce store owner, you need to see how well you can adapt to the change voice-commerce is presenting.
How to Optimize Your E-commerce Site for Voice Search
Voice search makes it easy for people to find what they need.
Image Credit: Search Engine Land
In addition, 20% of all mobile searches are done through voice search. But as much as everyone expresses the need to, optimizing your e-commerce website isn’t going to be as easy as entering a couple of codes and then nothing.
There is no magic for success. And there are factors that brands need to optimize in order to reach voice search’s expectations.
#1 Using long-tail keywords
Voice-search places a considerable emphasis on conversation. Keyword phrases like ‘garden tools,’ may be relevant, but they’re not conversational. However, a long-tail keyword like ‘garden tools near me’ is.
Long-tail keywords are three and four keyword phrases that are very specific to what you’re selling. It’s applicable to voice search because whenever a customer uses a highly specific search phrase, they are looking for an exact product that they want to buy.
#2 Make use of question phrases
The conversational way of finding answers to things needed are through asking questions. Humans are naturally inquisitive creatures. They ask questions and want to receive answers to those questions. One of the secrets to successfully running a voice-search optimized website is through content creation that answers questions.
You can try using a free web tool like Answer the Public to generate a list of most frequented questions centered around your keyword.
If you’re talking to someone, you wouldn’t just say, ‘Steve Jobs.’ You’d ask, ‘Who is Steve Jobs?’ ‘What did Steve Jobs do?’
#3 Structure content to answer questions on specific topics
One way of getting into searchers’ heads is through question phrases and long-tail keywords. But what really finds the mark is content that answers to their needs and answers even the most basic of their questions. Again, Answer the Public is a great tool to use to see what people are asking
Use long-tail question keyword phrases
Incorporating the use of long-tail keyword phrases as you provide answers to commonly asked questions about your products is a good way to structure content. Get straight to the point when you answer a question, and you stand a chance of ranking on Google’s paragraph answer featured snippet.
This is the ideal place because voice assistants pull answers from these featured snippets to answer people’s queries.
Keep your answers short, concise, and include query keywords as naturally as possible. Also make use of headings to signal search engines that you’re answering a question.
Place emphasis on localized content
Voice search and local SEO are very closely aligned to each other. Searching for locally based products and local information on a business are two of the most popular reasons for users asking their devices for assistance.
For this reason, you need to structure your content in a way that follows local SEO strategies as well. You’ll need your Google My Business profile, and it has to be updated with as much relevant content as possible.
#4 Take advantage of structured data
Apart from content, search engines look for other factors too — like structured data. By using schema markups, your customers are immediately provided with product name, the price, the brand, the stock availability, and the size straight from search engine results.
It doesn’t contribute much to your rankings on search engines, but it helps your visitors find what they’re looking for. It gives you an edge against your competitors.
Structured data or schema markup is a form of HTML data embedded into a website’s code to aid its easier visibility on search engines. As such, it’s good to take note of it when you’re optimizing content for voice search, especially for local businesses.
For structured data, it’s essential to stay relevant to your industry and your business. So, if you’re an e-commerce site focusing on selling beauty products, then stay in your line. Don’t insert data about food or restaurants or interior decor. It’s considered spam, which should be avoided at all costs.
Such behavior is in line for punishment.
#5 Ensure excellent user experience
Nowadays, we are all victims to having short attention spans. You have less than eight seconds to reel people in with your product offerings. Of course, you want them to explore your e-commerce site deeper. You want them to stay long enough to browse additionally offered product.
The window of time marketers have been dealt with is quite ridiculous. But it’s what you have and you need to make the most of it. There are factors that will make people want to stay. And that includes your website’s function, navigability, design, and speed.
Optimize your site loading speed
An e-commerce website that’s ready for voice-search means a website that’s ready to deliver information as quickly as possible. Speed is a critical and a deciding factor between stay or go. Every second counts.
53% of mobile users leave a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Image Credit: WordPress Dreams
On the internet, you can find a bunch of tools that will help you test loading speed. Tools like Pingdom Website Speed Test or Google Page Speed Insights can help identify problem areas that you need to improve. Work closely with your web developer to identify these problem areas.
Set-up mobile first browsing
Mobile phones are the present and the future. We’ve long beheld statistics that have claimed that mobile search has outpaced desktop search. However, you should know that traffic and purchases are just the beginning of mobile-geddon.
Smartphone technology and the explosion of voice-search has effectively changed our search patterns and how we behave around search engines. And as search technology grows more accurate and more intelligent, you can expect that there will be even more drastic changes in the future.
Al Gomez is a Digital Marketing Consultant at Dlinkers and Sagad. With more than twelve years of digital marketing experience in search engine optimization, paid search and email marketing, he has contributed to a variety of online publications including Moz, Semrush, and Wordtracker.