The Recent Rise of Voice Technology: Alexa, Prepare My eCommerce Site

Voice search is a trend that has been on the rise for several years and continues to grow in popularity.

As it stands, there are a multitude of sources that highlight the upward trajectory of voice search technology. For instance, voice search statistics show that:

  • 40 percent of all U.S.-based internet users employ voice search
  • 71 percent of consumers prefer voice search to typing
  • 51 percent of buyers use voice assistants to help conduct product research
  • 27 percent of mobile users worldwide use voice-activated features on their smartphones

However, none of this is terribly surprising, as voice searches have become the norm for many. In fact, given these stats, it is likely that you, dear reader, also conduct voice searches regularly.

As the digital realm continues to transition to one that is accessed through audible speech, it is critical for retailers to optimize their websites and content to align with this phenomenon.

To help provide retailers with a competitive edge in this space, today, we will take a look at some actionable voice search strategies for eCommerce brands to implement.

With that, let’s get started.

Use a Semantic Strategy

Semantic Strategy

For those who are unaware, semantic search is defined as:

“An information retrieval process used by modern search engines to return the most relevant search results. It focuses on the meaning behind search queries instead of the traditional keyword matching.”

In layman’s terms, semantic search aims to uncover the meaning and intent behind a search, no matter the keywords used.

For instance, searches for “Beats headphones vs. Skullcandy” and “Bluetooth headphone comparison” both have the intention of wanting to compare and contrast different headphones.

Intent is the key to implementing a semantic search strategy. Once retailers understand the intent of a given search, they can begin to produce content targeting the topic of the query instead of zeroing in on individual keywords.

The ultimate aim here is to rank well and to land in position zero, otherwise known as featured snippets.

Aim for Featured Snippets

Featured Snippets

Featured snippets are the answer box that often appears at the top of the Google search results and tend to answer a searcher’s question directly. These are a massive force driving the zero-click search phenomenon.

Therefore, featured snippets are critical for retailers who aim to optimize their store and online presence for voice searches.

To produce content that lands in this coveted spot, retailers must use top-notch SEO implementations and strategies. This means optimizing content for semantic search, targeting intent-based keywords, answering the primary question in a succinct and efficient manner and formatting content appropriately.

Outside of merely using the appropriate heading and subheading tags, retailers will often want to include tables, graphs, lists and similar content formats as these are what tend to be featured most frequently.

Therefore, in order for a seller to score a spot in position zero and get their content featured for voice searches, it is vital that merchants understand today’s on-site SEO best practices.

Improve the Site’s Structure

Site Structure

The plain fact of the matter is that SEO is critical to surfacing for online searches, both text-based and voice-activated.

When an eCommerce website is appropriately structured, search engines have an easier time crawling the site, indexing its content and understanding its data. As a result of this dynamic, retailers with well-structured websites are likely to rank higher than those featuring un-optimized architectures.

Therefore, it is vital that retailers create a site structure that will enhance their SEO efforts and implement structured data as a means of helping Google to better understand the site.

By achieving this, merchants are setting themselves up to surface for relevant voice searches.

Utilize Google Shopping

Google Shopping

As would be expected by many, Google is the most widely used voice search technology among the engine’s users.

Therefore, when a consumer conducts a voice search for a specific product, it is natural to assume that they are going to be met with results from Google Shopping.

Given this dynamic, it is imperative that retailers are listing their products on the platform. Fortunately, there are a variety of extensions that can be used to sync an eCommerce platform’s product data with Google Shopping. Using such extensions, important information like product data, descriptions, pricing and the like will all be mapped automatically.

Using this strategy, retailers can exert minimal effort while still managing to surface for voice searches via Google.

Create Detailed FAQ Pages

FAQ

While some consider FAQ pages to be well on their way to obsolescence, the reality of the matter is that frequently asked questions destinations can be a fantastic resource for optimizing a site for voice searches.

This resource actually serves several different functions.

Firstly, FAQ pages work as a singular destination where consumers can obtain answers to simple questions about products, shopping, returns and other topics.

Secondly, these pages are also incredibly useful for helping to get retailers into position zero as the page features direct questions with simple answers.

Thirdly, FAQ pages often feature tons of keywords and semantically-related terms and phrases, thereby serving as an SEO resource.

However, for FAQ pages to be a worthwhile resource, it is necessary to use schema markup to make the page more readable to Google.

Create Question-Oriented Content

Question-Oriented Content

Similar to the reasoning behind the value of FAQ pages, retailers should aim to produce question-oriented content.

The fact is that blog posts can be an invaluable tool for helping merchants to increase their SERP visibility for voice searches. However, in order to successfully use content as a tool for voice search optimization, it is necessary to tailor content to succinct, definitive paragraphs that answer the question that the content addresses. This means that retailers should be creating comprehensive posts that explore a topic in-depth, but also optimize certain portions of it to be featured in position zero.

Moreover, it is essential to use valuable SEO real estate like headings to include popular questions and to answer them in the following paragraph(s).

When aiming to produce content optimized for voice searches, try to use conversational language and brief phrases that are congruent with natural speech patterns. This means that sellers should avoid convoluted answers, complex sentences and ornate language.

When attempting to create an answer that will surface for featured snippets, aim to keep the word count to 29 words or below.

Ensure Mobile Friendliness

mobile-friendly

Creating a mobile-friendly website is imperative to optimizing a brand’s digital presence for online search. The fact of the matter is that the majority of internet users access the web through mobile devices. Supporting this notion, Statista data on organic search engine visits reveals that:

“As of the fourth quarter of 2019, 49 percent of Yahoo’s U.S. organic search traffic originated from mobile devices. Google had the highest share of organic mobile search traffic with 61 percent, slightly ahead of DuckDuckGo with 58 percent.”

As far as eCommerce is concerned, Statista data on eCommerce website visits and orders shows that in the first quarter of 2019, 64 percent of retail site visits and 46 percent of orders came from smartphone devices. Meanwhile, only 29 percent of eCommerce traffic and 46 percent of orders came from desktops.

The point here is that mobile optimization is critical for brands to reach voice search audiences.

Therefore, it is vital that merchants test their site using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to determine how well optimized their site is for small screen users.

Additionally, using this tool, retailers can uncover issues their site may be producing on mobile, thereby enabling them to remedy the situation.

However, retailers who are genuinely looking to implement a mobile-optimized solution for their online store should consider implementing a progressive web application (PWA).

The fact of the matter is that PWAs are a game-changer for eCommerce brands as they have repeatedly shown to produce faster on-site experiences, heightened levels of security and more conversions while still maintaining reach as they are still discoverable through Google.

Final Thoughts

With each passing year, voice searches continue to account for a growing number of Google searches. As time goes on, this means of searching the web will continue to become more prominent and spread into other areas. 

The time to get ready for voice search is well past due. Implement these measures for your store today to be prepared for the voice searches users will inevitably conduct tomorrow. To ensure your company’s online success in 2021, reach out to Visiture to inquire about our Commerce Transformation program.

This integrated approach to marketing has been scientifically proven to exponentially increase our client’s ROI as merchants implement a more unified marketing strategy, producing anywhere from an 8.42 to one to a 23.64 to one return on investment.

Contact the Visiture team today to see how we can help your company achieve similar results.

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