Voice search is but one of the new set of tools which e-commerce companies have to get their head around to achieve future success.
E-commerce is a fresh field relatively speaking, it’s advent only coming with the commercialization and consumerization of the internet. What’s more, e-commerce companies have to constantly contend with the ever-fluctuating, ever-evolving nature of the internet and the technology surrounding it. On the marketing front, for example, e-commerce businesses have, only in the last four years, really had to get to grips with social media marketing, something which has rapidly become a vital port of call for all digital marketing units. Their home being the internet itself, e-commerce stores have more of a demand on them to react to the ins and outs of the evolution of the web. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is another field which, when it came to popularity, required e-commerce stores to evolve and adapt to it.
Tip 1 – Write product descriptions that sound great
Tip 2 – Write your FAQ Page Well
Tip 3 – Prime Your Content For Featured Snippets
Tip 4 – Use Long-Tail Keywords
Tip 5 – Build Voice Search Into Your Site
Tip 6 – Use Social Media And Customer Services For Research
Sounds good? Let’s dive in.
In the last couple of years there has been an increase in the use and capabilities of voice-activated search. It has already made a reasonably significant impact but, as tech evolves and consumers continue to look for the most convenient browsing solutions, it looks absolutely set to take over as the dominant search form, particularly through highly optimized search engines like Google.
Adapting to this unique and unusual change will require some serious, concentrated energy and attention from e-commerce companies, starting, at first, with a rudimentary look at why people are drawn to voice search and what it is, psychologically, that alters when humans ask questions through voice rather than through typing. Only after a rigorous understanding of what is going on has been achieved, can you really hope to be at the forefront of using voice search to the benefit of your e-commerce company.
With all of that being said, let us take a look at six different tips for making your e-commerce business ready and optimized for voice search technology, and what needs to be done to make sure you are best placed to succeed in the ever-evolving world of e-commerce.
Human speech patterns are pretty complex, and they vary greatly based on cultural and racial differences. One thing that is absolutely certain from the outset is that people don't speak how they type, especially when it comes to typing… Click To Tweet
“Humans evolve their use of language to fit whatever medium they are embracing for expressing themselves. So, ten years ago, people latched heavily onto the concept of text speak, a phrase which, in text speak, might have been typed as ‘txt spk’. The same has happened with search engines”, explains Rory Wodehouse, email marketer at BritStudent and WriteMyx.
People have evolved to conform to the keyword metric that Google, for example, has adopted so fiercely. So, someone who fancies a haircut on a free afternoon in Houston, Texas won’t type into Google “Where can I find a barber for a haircut this afternoon in Houston?” They’re far more likely to write “barber Houston TX”.
When voice search becomes more and more the done thing, speech patterns, naturalistic ways of expressing oneself, will need to return in e-commerce companies’ search engine optimization considerations. Failure to do so will allow your site to be passed over even when it is precisely what someone is looking for.
How To Do That: You should make sure to write product descriptions which would sound great being read out loud to the customers. This is a surefire way to know that your tone of voice will be natural and compelling to your audience.
Here’s an example from Mrs. Meyer’s Dish soap – The tone of voice is very natural and relaxed, as if you were talking to a friend who’s recommending something new that worked for them. This is what makes it so appealing.
FAQ pages went slightly out of popularity with a lot of companies. There have been e-commerce fields that have maintained FAQ religiously, but for some, given that their home is the internet, the ability for users to access answers over things immediately made traditional FAQ pages somewhat redundant. Doing away with FAQ saved a lot of time and energy, since coming up with and completing exhaustive lists of potential questions that could be asked by any customer or would-be-customer is a big job.
If you were sick of doing an FAQ page then, sadly, I’ve got bad news for you.
FAQ pages are now vital for e-commerce, and it relates to the point above. It's all about SEO. Click To Tweet
Having content on your site which syntactically mirrors exactly how people express themselves through spoken word is a really important step but quite a tricky one.
How To Do That: The FAQ page is a perfect place for you to get started with this though and it’s pretty simple to see why. When someone goes to a search engine in search of solutions for a product and use voice-activated searching, the question that they ask the search engine will be far closer in form to the questions listed on an FAQ page.
Having this link between the way people ask questions when they are searching for something using voice activation and the content on your site is a great way to fast track yourself into a position where your page is looking more and more well optimized for the demands of modern search tools. Use plenty of keywords naturally and again, write the way you would naturally speak or answer someone’s question.
Here’s an example from Faucet Face. FAQ is an excellent way to include more keywords and to make your products more available for voice search.
The concept, or even the phrase, of ‘featured snippets’ might be something that you are unfamiliar with, but in all likelihood, you have already come across them in your day to day browsing. Featured snippets are when a browser, like Google for example, takes a clip from a website and highlights it, in its own little box, as a way to answer a question or otherwise respond to a search request. It’s a helpful feature from the point of view of the searcher themselves, who can use it as a quick insight into the website that is being featured, to see whether it contains the answer that they are looking for.
How To Do That: Featured snippets is where every site wants to be, since it’s human nature for searchers to be drawn to this immediate, promoted answer. Of course, you can’t make
your search engine feature you. “Getting your site to be a featured response to questions is far more complex than simply asking for it. It involves tireless SEO work and a willingness to adapt your content to have the sorts of phrases which mirror questions that might be asked but in the form of answers”, says Rose Faber, tech writer at Australia2Write and NextCourseWork.
Now, the biggest connection that featured snippets have to voice search is through the idea of AI assistants. AI assistants like Siri, Bixby and Alexa are often programmed to use the featured snippets which search engines feed to them as the meat of their response to a question from a human. So, if someone wants to know about something relating to your e-commerce store and they use an AI assistant to help them, being featured will make it far more likely that you will be picked up on by the searcher.
Here’s an example of a few descriptions that landed in that feature area which would be the most visible area after a voice search. Focus on optimizing for voice search SEO and you can easily be one of the products in the top search results.
Keywords being used to optimize your e-commerce site is something which, provided you are somewhat on the ball, you will likely be extremely familiar with. It’s part and parcel of running a successful business online. The keywords game, however, changes quite markedly when it comes to optimizing for voice search. In most cases, keyword depth and what is referred to as long-tail keywords come into play. A keyword, for example, might be ‘furnishings’. A semi-successful long-tail keyword might then be ‘kitchen furnishings’, whilst a fully successful long-tail keyword would be ‘kitchen furnishings in New York City’.
How To Do That: You can see from this example the sort of thing that is going on. By extending the surroundings of your keyword(s), you’re giving yourself the best possible chance of creating a situation in which a voice search, such as ‘Where can I find kitchen furnishings in New York City?’ goes directly to your site on account of the well-optimized phrases you use. The one downside with this sort of approach to keywords and to site optimization, in general, is trying to maintain a naturalistic flow to your prose.
If you are trying desperately to combine words that you think will give you the best voice-search results you might find yourself in the difficult situation of having a website filled with overly wordy and strange-sounding phrases, the type which, once you do secure a site visitor, might end up actually turning customers away. Like everything with e-commerce, in the end, it’s always a balance of the two. There definitely needs to be a sense in which you have done all you can to try and get the hits you want, but not at the cost of a site which people actually want to visit.
Here’s an example of how long-tail keywords fit in perfectly with this description and made it more easy to find the product.
Voice search isn’t only for the search engines, and it will pay off for you to remember that.
Voice search should be used by your e-commerce site as a continuation of the search process that your customers will have just undergone. Click To Tweet
So, if your site has tons and tons of products then you want to make sure that you have a smooth-running, AI operated voice search option in your search bar that will cleanly take your customers where they want to be in your site.
This transition is not only beneficial and appropriate given where your searchers are coming from, but it also places your e-commerce business ahead of the curve, whilst giving the impression to your customers that you are really invested in providing for them the best possible experience they can have.
There’s a good chance that, as you try to optimize the content for your own voice search systems, you inadvertently do the same job for the search engine searches that your
customers will make. It might be that it could cost you a little more than you ideally would like but it’s an investment for the future and it’s sure to leave you very well placed when it comes to ensuring that you’re ready when, inevitably, voice command search becomes the only way that people search websites.
How To Do That: You can combine voice search on your site with all sorts of other elements like customer service, for example, where you can use a voice-activated chatbot to conveniently and easily answer your customers’ questions and complaints. Combine all of this together and you have a really potent recipe for keeping your site relevant and on top of the voice search game.
Here’s an example from Size where they have a voice search as well.
One of the most important things to discover to ensure that you are ready and optimized for voice searches is what questions people are asking, what expressions they’re using, and how they form language in relation to the products or services that your site offers. Discovering this can be quite cryptic but, fortunately, this modern problem has plenty of options for modern solutions.
How To Do That: For example, one great way to stay on top of what it is that your customers are looking for is through social media. Social media provides a direct link between customer and company and, for an e-commerce company, it can work to replace the in-store conversations which people have in physical store locations.
If you use social media prudently, you can begin to paint a pretty clear, verbal image of how people are discussing your products which you can then use to make your content match. Customer service portals, like a twitter account, a chatbot, a phone line or whatever it might be, is another great place to start when trying to establish how customers are speaking about your company. This data is valuable and could be used to make a really strong impact on the future of your voice search technology.
It’s pretty clear already how influential voice search technology is set to be. It’s a little sci-fi, even today when it is in fact being used all the time, but it definitely makes sense as a form of search that adapts technology directly to human beings, rather than doing things the other way around. If you ignore it, you might run into trouble. Embrace it, and you’re far more likely to find success in the long run.
Michael Dehoyos is a content marketer at Academic Brits and PhD Kingdom. He assists companies in digitalizing their marketing strategy, as well as sharing his knowledge by contributing to numerous sites and publications, the academic writing service OriginWritings, amongst them.
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