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E-Commerce Voice Search: Best Practices to Optimize Your Site

If you enjoy learning about new technology advances and how these can impact your e-commerce store, this post is for you.

We’re going to take a deep dive look at the concept of voice search, particularly when it comes to e-commerce brands competing with Amazon.

We’ll consider how you can (and should) optimize your website for voice search, how you can compete with the likes of Amazon Alexa and we’ll look at some statistics in favor for getting your e-commerce site: voice search ready.

What is voice search

Voice search is the concept where a user has a question, query or desire. They use their voice-enabled device (mobile phone, home talking device etc) to ask the question.

The voice-activated tool then delivers the answer (vocally).

It works in a similar way to a normal search on a search engine, only you’re using your voice instead.

Voice Search Stats

By 2020, it’s predicted that 50% of all searches will be voice searches. It’s never been a better time to get your e-commerce store ready for the voice search revolution.

Because of this, all companies need to get better at thinking about the ways people use voice, especially how they speak, to ensure their website is ready for the voice search boom!

The thing to remember is, not every site needs to get ready for voice search, and many won’t.

However, the ones that do will be the ones that feature in the results.

What’s more, studies have shown that websites featured in voice search, also appear towards the top in normal searches.

It pays to get it right.

What’s more, 27% of people visit the website after hearing about it from a voice search result.

Do E-Commerce owners need to think about voice search?

The short answer is yes.

You already know that by and large, consumers are consistently looking for ways they can make their shopping experience speedier and more convenient for them.

This means that as people use their devices (Amazon Alexa, Google home hub, Apple Homepod etc), you, as an e-commerce owner needs to develop ways you appear in those searches.

We’re entering a new world where people want the convenience of asking a digital computer a question and receiving the answer they need.

These tools are there to get to know you. The more you speak and interact with AI technology, the more it learns about you.

As you can imagine, this is perfect for applying to online shopping.

Imagine a world where you could say “Alexa, order more dog food” and the next day, the dog food you like is right at your door.

That’s where voice search is and where voice search is headed for major (and minor) e-commerce brands.

Although there are a few issues that need to be ironed out when it comes to people using different sorts of language to describe the same product, voice search works excellently for those looking to conduct repeat purchases.

Voice Commerce Sales Predictions 2017 to 2022

If you look at the chart above, you can see that voice commerce sales are predicted to rapidly increase by 2022.

This data is based on the increased use we’re seeing with these voice-activated tools and the monopoly retail giants like Amazon have over the way people shop online.

E-Commerce voice optimization: the technical aspect

But you need to get your site ready for voice search first.

After all, it’s still using a search algorithm. If you don’t feature on the first page on Google’s normal search engine, it’s unlikely you will show up high within voice search results.

It’s therefore important that you take necessary measures to optimize your e-commerce website for voice search.

Getting a feature snippet placement

The feature snippet is a part of Google that shows the content of the query – without a user having to click through to a website.

People often cite this position as higher than in the first position: position zero”.

Essentially if you can get your content to rank at this position, you have a high chance of being featured as the answer of a voice search query.

Feature Snippet

It’s all about the authority

More than anything, if you want to appear in voice search answers, you need to make sure your domain has high authority.

People have reached the stage where they trust their voice-activated assistants. Because of this, search results need to make sure that the content they highlight is honest, truthful and most of all accurate.

If your domain authority is low, you have a low chance of appearing in any of the voice-activated search results.

And even if you don’t manage to appear within a search result, there’s still SEO benefit for improving your website’s domain authority.

Don’t forget about Alexa

When it comes to shopping online using just your voice – most people think about using the Amazon Alexa.

Amazon’s voice assistant can do a range of things. They can play music, set alarms, provide you with weather updates, play games as well as buy things from your favorite Amazon sellers.

If you’re a repeat customer of a certain product, all you need to do is ask your Amazon Alexa to buy XYZ and it’ll be purchased.

Your card details are already stored within the website so making the purchase is effortless and streamlined.

But how can other stores compete?

Surely Amazon wouldn’t allow purchases from non-amazon stores using their voice search?

It’s important to look at what Amazon does and see if you can replicate this for yourself.

First of all, Amazon has its own “Choice” badge. This is the only option for queries where the user does not provide a specified brand.

In general though, the Amazon choice products have a high review rating and high sales volume, making them an obvious choice when deciding which product to buy for their customers.

Let’s look at an example.

If I ask Alexa to buy me a “Tamron camera lens” do I want them to choose this lens (Amazon choice)

Amazon's Choice Badge

Or this lens:

Amazon's Choice Badge 2

Probably the first.

If you are actually interested in the second, more expensive lens, it goes without saying, you’d probably want to read about it first before making such a big purchase.

Likewise, if you only wanted the $100 lens and your account was charged $1562, you’d be pretty annoyed.

Think about your natural language

If the only thing you use on your website to describe your products is technical language, how do you hope for anyone to use your site within voice search?

The crucial thing you need to get right is thinking about how people speak and interact with others.

If you can get a feel for how they use language (natural language) within their searches, you can optimize your content to reflect that.

Emerging technologies like machine learning and AI, are getting better and hearing a query and understanding the context to which it was asked, based on other queries.

Takeaways

Whether you think voice search is a new fad, or here to stay you can’t ignore its existence.

If you decide this is a marketing strategy your business could benefit from then use the strategies listed above to ensure that when a potential customer searches for a product, your store wins the sale.

Have you started optimizing your site for voice search? Leave a comment below.

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