Ecommerce and Voice Search: 8 Factors Brands Need to Consider




  • — August 30, 2019

    With over 67% of millennials and 56% of Gen Xers preferring to shop online, there’s no doubt that ecommerce is a valuable market to tap into now more than ever. Not to mention there are more people are shopping online today than ever before. Buying stuff online is by no means just a fad, it’s a lifestyle.

    Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to make it big online. There’s a ton of competition and the digital space keeps changing. You have to know what the trade secrets are to remain at the top. And one thing that is selling extraordinarily is voice search. Today, it is absolutely normal to find humans having a full-blown conversation with an inanimate object and expecting responses!

    What is Voice Search?

    Voice search is the use of spoken words to communicate with search engines as opposed to keying in words in a search box. Shoppers can now complete a purchase by interacting with their voice-activated intelligent assistants such as Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon Echo, Google Home or Apple’s Siri, at any time of the day—provided that the assistant can hear you.

    How is voice commerce used?

    Intelligent virtual assistants can be used for a number of purposes: To perform quick Google searches, executing a home automation functions or even placing an order online. Whether you want to perform a simple Google search or purchase merchandise from an online store and have it shipped, voice-activated intelligent assistants have proved over and over again that they are as good as humans if not better.

    Essentially, to make a purchase online using the voice technology, shoppers need to have their mobile devices or smart speakers and a virtual assistant. Amazon Echo and Google Home are among the most popular brands of smart speakers which use voice controlled Virtual assistants. Amazon Echo is powered by Alexa while Google Home is powered by Google Assistant.

    So when a customer intends to shop from amazon for instance, they can use an Alexa-enabled device to purchase any product using voice. “Alexa” is a wake up-word that activates the device.

    For instance, a shopper would technically initiate a purchase by saying, “Alexa, Order” followed by the product’s name. Alexa will check shopper’s buying history and recommend products based on the shoppers buying history. If there is no match of the product with the customer’s buying history data, Alexa will suggest ‘Amazon Choice’ products.

    The intelligent virtual assistant, Alexa, then mentions the product price and will ask you if you would like to purchase the product. If the response is yes, Alexa proceeds to place the order. However, if you are not interested in buying the product, Alexa could suggest other options.

    Why is Voice Search Important?

    Based on research carried out by Search Engine Land, voice search is growing faster than anything else. Perhaps it’s because it’s an easy way for people to find the information they need.

    Ecommerce and Voice Search: 8 Factors Brands Need to Consider

    Source: Search Engine Land

    But you probably know that already.

    What you might not know is that about 20% of all mobile searches are voice search. And since 2013, voice search queries have been on the rise. Of course, that comes as no surprise at all. Voice search is after all more convenient and actually quite good at translating human language into text. So if this is the case, you need to optimize your ecommerce website for voice search to cater to customers who search by voice.

    Ecommerce and Voice Search: 8 Factors Brands Need to Consider

    Source: Jodynimetz.com

    However, optimizing your ecommerce website for voice search isn’t easy. But while there’s no magic for success, there are certain factors you can consider to increase your chances of success. For that reason, you can definitely expect voice search being featured in everyone’s ecommerce marketing tips.

    We don’t want you to have to figure out what these factors are so we’ll cover them in this blog post.

    By the time you are done reading this post, you’ll have a blueprint of exactly what you need to consider if you want to optimize your ecommerce website for voice search successfully.

    Let’s begin!

    But first….

    Why You Should Care About Voice Search

    Still not convinced that you should optimize your ecommerce for voice search? Below, we have highlighted some insights that highlight the importance of voice search for your business:

    Voice Search is Quicker and More Efficient

    A study by Word Count found that the average person can type around 35 words per minute. In contrast, the average person speaks approximately 100-130 words per minute. This suggests that people can find information much faster by using voice search queries as opposed to typing their queries. In fact, according to Global Web Index, 43% of voice search users use voice search because it’s faster to find the information you are looking for.

    Voice Search is Mostly Hands-Free

    As mentioned, voice search doesn’t necessarily require you to type or hold your phone. You can complete your search by using a voice search app while still getting onto other tasks. In fact, according to WO Strategies, 42% of voice search users use voice search while driving. No wonder the whole prospect of using a voice search app sounds so convenient in contrast to other search tools.

    Voice search is on the rise

    As you might have read from other posts that are related to this topic, half of all internet searches will be done using voice search by the year 2020. OC&C Strategy Consultants projects that by 2022, 55% of all American house-holds will own a smart speaker with voice shopping hitting $ 40 billion by the same year. According to Voicebot, 1 in every 4 shoppers used voice assistants in 2017.

    It is evident that failure to focus on voice search for ecommerce will be detrimental. It is worrying that marketers haven’t paid much heed to this growing trend. As a matter of fact, statistics indicate that 62% of marketers have zero plans to take voice search into account

    To be on the safe side and have a competitive edge, you need to start preparing as soon as possible. But how?

    Here’s a quick list of all the voice search SEO tips:

    1. Optimize Site Speed

    2. Anticipate a Slight Difference in Search Queries

    3. Build a Mobile Responsive Ecommerce Website

    4. Leverage the Use of Schema Markups / Structured Data

    5. Use Long-Tail Keywords

    6. Use More Question Phrases

    7. Structure Your Content to Answer Questions on Certain (Recurring) Topics

    8. Overall Design and User Experience on Your Website

    8 Factors Brands Need to Consider Optimizing Ecommerce for Voice Search

    Now that you understand the reason why voice search is so important, let’s find out what factors you need to consider to successfully optimize your ecommerce for voice search.

    1. Optimize Site Speed

    When it comes to building an ecommerce website that’s optimized for voice search, speed is a critical factor.

    How critical you ask?

    A few extra seconds can affect your ability to engage your customers and make sales.

    Based on a 2018 research by Google, 53% of mobile users leave a site that takes more than three seconds to load. And 47% of consumers say they expect a website to load in two seconds.

    Ecommerce and Voice Search: 8 Factors Brands Need to Consider

    Source: Think with Google

    Some research even suggests that faster pages get more dollars per page view. So what does this mean for your website?

    Besides losing a ton of traffic, it means that you will also lose visibility.

    Thankfully, improving site speed is not a difficult problem. All you need to do is find out exactly what is causing the low site speeds.

    Here’s how you can do just that:

    Test your Site Speed

    There are a bunch of elements to a website that impact load speed. And since you might not know exactly what to do, you can do a website speed test to identify what is affecting loading speeds. For example, you can use the Pingdom Website Speed Test to identify the problem areas.

    Ecommerce and Voice Search: 8 Factors Brands Need to Consider

    Once you have identified your website’s glitches, work with your developer to set everything right.

    2. Anticipate a Slight Difference in Search Queries

    If you take a moment to look, you will find that voice search queries are a little different from regular search queries. So, for example, you might type something like cycling shorts in Google search but when doing a voice search query you might say something like:

    Ok, Google, tell me where I can find the best cycling shorts for the price or Hey Siri, am I supposed to wear cycling shorts with underwear?

    These are classic examples of voice search queries. But more to the point, people tend to complete sentences and phrases when using voice query just like they are conversing with someone. So you’ll want to take a closer look at your keywords and make sure that voice search can pick them. That includes factoring in slang, contractions, and colloquialisms.

    So how do you know what keywords to use?

    Start by doing keyword research. Then dig deeper to find out how some of the keywords are used and keywords currently trending on voice search. So for instance, instead of just using a keyword like best burger use keywords like restaurants selling the best burgers in Amsterdam. Or you can phrase the question a little differently like the best burger joint to crush this summer.

    And one of the easiest ways to create relevant keywords is by using trigger words.

    Trigger Words:

    • What
    • Who How
    • Where
    • When
    • Can
    • Does
    • Define

    While these suggestions are cast on stone, they are a great place to start when considering what keywords to use.

    3. Build a Mobile Responsive Ecommerce Website

    It’s no secret that mobile phones are the future. Some research even suggests that mobile has reached its tipping point as a purchasing medium. Not to mention Google declared that mobile searches triumphed desktop in 2015.

    Ecommerce and Voice Search: 8 Factors Brands Need to Consider

    Source: MarketingLand

    But traffic and purchasing are just the beginning of it.

    According to Global Web Index, one out of every five-voice queries is conducted through mobile. This clearly illustrates that optimizing your voice search for mobile is critical to your website’s success.

    The bad news is that building a mobile responsive website isn’t exactly a walk in the park. There are various problems plaguing the process. Don’t worry we are going to walk you through how you can still make your website responsive.

    Make Navigation Easy to Understand

    Use text that is crystal clear in your navigation menu. That means simple words that people can right off the bat understand. Otherwise, you’ll risk confusing the customer and there’s a good chance they’ll give up and leave your website.

    A great way to achieve this is through the use of breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs are links that follow your customer deeper into your site and show the path back to the homepage. This allows for better navigation organization, and also gives your customer the ability to navigate back to a previous category.

    Ecommerce and Voice Search: 8 Factors Brands Need to Consider

    4. Leverage the Use of Schema Markups / Structured Data

    Aside from content, search engines look for a bunch of other factors including structured data. You should ideally use schema markups to provide product name, price, band, stock availability, and size. It doesn’t affect your rankings and your visitors won’t see it, but it gives you an edge over your competitors. Here’s the thing, structured data markup will help you in two ways. First, it helps the search engines to understand the function and purpose of the webpage. If the page is selling shower filters for instance, structured data will help search engines to recognize it as a product of sale and not a blog post about shower filters.

    Second, structured data helps to improve the appearance of organic search listing by providing enhanced search results, commonly known as “Rich Results”. These enhancements can include, rating stars and product images, prices, and availability, and much more to help you stand out from the crowd.

    5. Use Long-Tail Keywords

    Voice queries are more like a conversation. Meaning they are particularly longer than text. So essentially, to get more impressions, you will need to have longer tail keywords. Some statistics even suggests that successful voice search queries had longer tail SEO.

    Ecommerce and Voice Search: 8 Factors Brands Need to Consider

    Source: Neil Patel

    6. Use More Question Phrases

    Humans are naturally inquisitive. They want to question things and find answers to their questions. In fact, according to the search giant, there’s a 61% YoY increase in question phrases. These phrases include words like what, who, how and when. For instance, when you’re conversing, you won’t just say Bill Gates. You will most likely ask a question to help you understand a little bit more about Bill Gates.

    So for instance, you’ll ask:

    • Who is Bill Gates?
    • How wealthy is Bill Gates?
    • When did Bill Gates hit off in his career?

    That’s because asking questions helps you get a clearer response as opposed to when you just leave things ambiguous.

    7. Structure Your Content to Answer Questions on Certain (Recurring) Topics

    Using long-tail keywords and question phrases is one way of getting into searchers heads but one of the best ways to really get into their heads is to create content that answers common questions asked by customers.

    Ecommerce and Voice Search: 8 Factors Brands Need to Consider

    Source: Nintendo

    Now, this isn’t the easiest of things to do mainly because it requires you to carefully listen to people when they talk and structure content that answers their queries.

    You can use tools like FAQFox to find such questions and the scan through and pick what’s relevant. Or you could scour through popular forums and see what and of questions, people are inquisitive about.

    8. Overall Design and User Experience on Your Website

    You have about two seconds to get people interested in what you’re offering. That’s two seconds to wheel people into your ecommerce site long enough to want to browse more and possibly even buy a product or two.

    For every second after that, you lose 10% of your visitors and potential customers. With so little time on your hands, you obviously want to ensure that you get it right from the onset. To ensure that visitors stick around long enough, you need to improve the overall design of your website as well as the user experience.

    So from seemingly trivial things like load times to navigation, you’ll definitely want to think about every single aspect of your website so that you can optimize it to be more appealing to onlookers.

    Conclusion

    And there you have it folks, 8 ecommerce marketing tips that you need to try out to optimize your ecommerce site for voice search. Smartphone technology and voice search explosion has changed our search and patterns behavior.

    As an ecommerce entrepreneur, you need to put extra effort into optimizing your ecommerce site for voice search early enough before it replaces text-based search.

    With search technology becoming more accurate and machines more intelligent, the secret to outranking your competition and generating more leads is a voice search away. Of course, this is not by any stretch an exhaustive list but it’ll help get you started.

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