How & Why to Improve Your eCommerce Site for Voice Search

eCommerce Platforms

bPol.net

From smartphones to smart speakers, voice search seems to make every device better, and tech companies are fully aware of that. Since the eCommerce business is estimated to reach $4 trillion in 2020, integrating this technology into online stores makes perfect sense. Moreover, by 2019 it is estimated that consumers will use more than 190 million in-home conversational devices such as Apple HomePod, Amazon Echo and Google Home. This truly is an opportunity that the eCommerce industry cannot afford to miss.

Moving from text to voice queries is a complex process, but the benefits make the transition worth it. Let’s take a look at why your eCommerce site should include voice search and how to prepare for the implementation!

Benefits of Adopting Voice Search

Voice search is found at the intersection of speed and convenience, but that goes without saying. Conversational Commerce could revitalize the relationship that consumers and local shopkeepers once had by sensing the mood, anticipating needs and providing shopping suggestions. More importantly for eCommerce operators, all these actions can be performed at scale. The following two benefits, however, are immediate.

Consumers Can Do Hands-Free Search

Would you like your customers to know if a certain product is back in stock on your eCommerce website? The old-fashioned approach would be to let them type in their query in the search box of your website. On one hand, that’s very time-consuming, compared to the alternative. On the other, by giving consumers only the option of doing text searches, you practically make sure that they won’t be doing anything else at the same time.

Voice search can be used in all sorts of scenarios and does not tie consumers to their computers or mobile devices. In fact, a Global Web Index survey revealed that as many as 42% of people use voice search do it while driving. On top of that, this technology can be used while cooking, dressing up, tidying the house, or in any other situation when people are unable to reach for their phones.

Voice Search Is Quicker and More Efficient

The average typing speed is 36 words per minute. When compared to the 100-130 words per minute that the average person can speak, the difference is tremendous. Voice search can thus provide quicker access to information, and that is exactly the motivation behind 43% of voice search users, according to the same Global Web Index survey.

How to Prepare for Implementing Voice Search

There are several steps that eCommerce companies need to take prior to implementing voice search. These prerequisites won’t only ensure that voice search works properly on your eCommerce website, but also that it makes perfect sense.

Keep Website Speed Blazing Fast

As previously mentioned, voice search is all about speed and convenience. In this context, implementing it on an extremely slow website defeats the entire purpose of using voice search in the first place. Websites loading slowly won’t be able to provide the desired information fast enough. An immediate consequence would be that voice search apps would pass your website and provide faster results from your competitors.

To ensure that that does not happen, make a habit of checking your website’s speed using online tools such as Pingdom Website Speed Test or Google PageSpeed. To be on the safe side, make sure that both the mobile and desktop versions of your site perform well.

Anticipate Needs with Specific Search Queries

Making a website SEO-friendly is all about cramming the most relevant keywords in the places visitors are most likely to look for them. Voice search is an entirely different story, as it involves natural language.

For example, when typing “Chelsea boots” in Google, the search engine has a good, yet fairly broad starting point of what you might be after. When using voice search on Google Home, you might be more inclined to ask:

  • “OK Google, where can I buy affordable Chelsea boots?” OR
  • “OK Google, which Chelsea boots brands are popular this season?”

As you can see, voice search is more about complete sentences rather than just keywords. With that in mind, you should set up a list of long-tail keywords, along with questions that might be relevant to your business. To do so, take the 5W1H interrogative approach so that your websites shows up when voice search users ask:

  • Who sells affordable Chelsea boots?
  • What brand of Chelsea boots last longer?
  • Where can I buy Chelsea boots?
  • When should I buy Chelsea boots?
  • Why are the Chelsea boots made by the X brand more durable?
  • How often should I replace my Chelsea boots?

Not only should you keep these questions in mind, but also think of the answers that consumers would be happy with. By anticipating that, you can get one step ahead of your competitors.

Think Mobile First

Smart speakers aside, most voice searches are performed on mobile devices. As a matter of fact, Global Web Index points out that 1 in 5 voice search users rely on mobile. In case your eCommerce website shows up as one of the results, there’s a great chance that users will want to visit it.

Websites that are not optimized for mobile might push visitors away, right into the arms of your competition. But what does optimizing for mobile even mean? Well, the website needs to be responsive so that it is displayed correctly on mobile devices regardless of the screen’s resolution. Secondly, the eCommerce site needs to perform well, so make sure that whenever someone lands on it, everything they might want to see is at most three taps away. Pinch to zoom and other such gestures should also work flawlessly, for a great mobile experience.

To assess the mobile-friendliness of your website, check out Google’s Mobile Friendly Test. This will bring to surface any page loading issues there might be, so make sure that you prioritize solving them.

Leverage Schema Markups

Voice search PAs or apps display readily-available information exclusively, meaning that each keyword only has one relevant result associated to it. What schema markup does is to ensure that your information can be retrieved easily by search engines. More precisely, it involves highlighting the essential details that could propel your eCommerce site to the top of the search results.

Schema markup should thus be used for all relevant product information, including the name of the product, brand, price, size, stock availability and so on. By using schema markup, you prepare your website not only for voice search, but also for typed queries, so this really is a double benefit.

The average star rating, the number of reviews and the price of the searched product are only some of the details that could determine voice search users to visit your website and not your competitors’.

Final Thoughts

The number of consumers performing searches by voice continues to increase by the day. Adopting and adapting this technology can establish an emotional connection at an entirely new level. By becoming easier to access, not only will you get closer to the consumers, but you will also step ahead of the competition. Considering how fast this industry moves, both these aspects are really sought after.

Are you looking to implement voice search in your eCommerce sites, but find it difficult to identify the best approach for your specific scenario? We are here to help and can provide you all the assistance you need, exactly when you need it! Get in touch with us now to find out more!

2018-04-02