We live in a time where it’s completely normal to have a full-blown conversation with an inanimate object and get a response. Voice search involves talking to a digital assistant such as Amazon Echo, Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, or Google Home. Voice search is rapidly gaining popularity, and it should be one of your main focuses if you are an ecommerce executive looking to make marketing decisions that count in the long run.
43% of ecommerce web traffic comes from organic search and with an average conversion rate of 2.6%, organic search is easily many ecommerce businesses’ most valuable revenue stream. Ecommerce SEO is the optimization of your website’s search performance and presence on the search engine results page – i.e. the top pages of Google, Bing, and other search engines, which now include our digital assistants.
It is estimated that there will be 83.1 million voice assistant users this year representing year over year growth of 13.7%. As more people become accustomed to interacting with voice-activated smart devices, sales will only continue to rise and the technology for voice search will rise accordingly.
With that being said, this guide will help prepare you for the growing trend of voice search for 2021 and in the upcoming years, as well as strategize for voice SEO.
Recognize that we don’t speak-search the way we type-search.
The change to voice search optimization requires a philosophical shift when it comes to content creation product categorization. The main idea of this shift is that we have to treat voice search like a conversation, rather than a connection between an index and an inquirer. As ridiculous as it may sound, we are conversing with our assistants as if they are human beings.
Rather than someone who is typing searches “New York City weather,” we will ask our digital assistant something like “Siri, what will the weather be like in New York City tomorrow?” Note that voice search queries are typically longer than text queries. For this reason, you’ll want to include more long-tail keywords in your keyword strategy. Long tail keywords are keywords that are more specific and generally longer than more commonly searched, broad term keywords. They get less traffic, but will normally have a higher conversion value because they are more specific.
Answer questions clearly and concisely.
Organize your keyword research around questions and answers, rather than on single keywords and key phrases. Your competitor research should also take this into account. The task here is to respond by focusing on trigger words as much as you would on important buzzwords.
Trigger words are words that are used to oblige someone to act. This could mean purchasing a product, clicking a link, or providing an email address. Trigger word examples include: free, new, easy, more, instant, how-to, etc. Once consumers discover your online store, the first few things they are asking themselves are “Do I really need this?” “Is it worth the cost?” and “Has it worked for others?” This is why trigger words are key to voice search optimization.
Favor semantic strategy over a keyword-based strategy.
In short, semantics is the study of how language creates meaning. In terms of search, a semantic strategy takes the context of the searcher’s query rather than relying on the exact words they are saying. For example, the queries “iPhone vs. Android battery life” or “compare Apple and Samsung products” both clearly fall under the intent of “compare smartphones.” “Where to buy iPhone X” and “best deals for Samsung Galaxy” both suggest an intent to purchase. Once you interpret searcher intent, start to create content that directly addresses their intent instead of circling around individual keywords and broad topics.
Search engines have been trying to make their responses more human-like than ever. They want to comprehend why someone is asking something and customize their response to be as specific as possible. The coveted result is that an interaction with a search engine should feel like an actual conversation with a person. They do this by programming their algorithms to do things like concept matches and take synonyms into account. Mix up your terminology to provide a more diverse set of keywords and phrases that cover all the relevant ways of asking a question.
Know your customer.
An important thing to note about almost every customer who uses voice search - they are often in a hurry. They are conversing with a digital assistant either while cooking, cleaning, or busy with something in the house. This means that you should optimize your site for mobile.
We now know that voice search is essentially a conversation, so we have to know WHO is on the other side of the dialogue too. Customer research is critical here, this means you have to define your specific target audience. You can do this by looking for common characteristics and interests. Which customers bring in the most business? Why do these customers buy from you? Understand what problems these consumers need to solve and the methods they take to solve them. Conducting surveys is one of the best methods to gain honest feedback regarding a product or service. To get specific information about customers, personal surveys can also be helpful. Try to gain an understanding of what these consumers are thinking in order to change your marketing strategy accordingly.
According to search engine watch, mobile-voice related searches are three times more likely to be locally based in comparison to their text counterparts. With that being said, if you are an ecommerce store owner with a brick and mortar aspect to your business, this is a dream for you. Take this opportunity to craft content that caters to a local audience. Once you are in the local market successfully, you will find it easier to create strategies for other states and borders.
The benefit of speaking directly to a search engine through an inanimate object will become more common very quickly. Unfortunately, marketers are still lacking robust voice search analytics and tracking the success of your voice SEO strategy doesn’t come easy. Many voice queries appear as Direct Traffic on Google Analytics due to the way the devices search. Instead, stay on top of your search queries reported on Google Search Console. Are you seeing more long tail keywords since you’ve optimized for voice search? Also, you can run tests yourself. Use your voice search devices for queries you’re optimizing for and see where you stand in the results.
Voice commerce sales reached $1.8 billion last year, and is expected to reach a value of $40 billion by 2022. Voice search optimization in the world of ecommerce is rapidly becoming more of a necessity than a luxury, as it’s what the user expects. The shift in consumer behavior will only continue to grow as the technology and investment for these devices advances.