11th May 2020

How Do I Optimise My Ecommerce Site for Voice Search?

How do i optimise my ecommerce site for voice search


It’s official! Voice search is changing the ecommerce game, especially now with the rise of virtual voice assistants such as Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana and Siri. In fact, voice-driven search and shopping have been one of the most discussed technology trends in the past few years and experts are expecting a rapid surge in the near future. The reality now is that voice searches are steadily replacing traditional searches. This means that if you are not optimising your ecommerce site for voice search, you may be missing out on a lot of Google traffic. 

So the big question then is: what is the impact of voice search and how do you optimise your ecommerce site for it? Well, before we dive further into that, let’s first take a closer look at what voice search really is...

What is voice search?

Voice Search is a function that allows users to search the web through spoken voice commands rather than typing. Users can essentially initiate a search by speaking into a device as opposed to typing their query or keywords. This major advancement in search engine optimization (SEO) has made it possible for consumers to easily browse the web without having to lift a finger… or scroll through sites on desktops or mobile devices. As voice search is transforming the way consumers are looking for products and services online, it’s important that brands and ecommerce sites are optimised for it.  

How does voice search impact my ecommerce site?

As previously mentioned, the surge in the use of voice search is naturally creating a shift in how consumers gather information online. Consumers essentially rely on quick information to make their decision about a brand or product. In fact, research shows that in 2018, at least 58% of consumers used voice search to find some kind of business information. It is expected that by the end of this year, 50% of all searches will be done through voice search. 

Another important aspect when it comes to voice search is that user experience plays a major role, especially on mobile. According to Google, in 2016, 20% of mobile queries were voice searches. And this is continuing to grow. Even though virtual voice assistants or smart speakers have become one of the main tools for voice search, the daily use of smartphones has increasingly stimulated voice-driven search and shopping as well. As a result of that, ecommerce sites that have a poor mobile user experience will be impacted the most.

So how do I optimise my site for voice search?

1. Optimise your site for mobile 

As voice-driven search and shopping continue to grow on mobile devices, you simply can’t afford to have an ecommerce site that does not perform well on mobile. This is even more so now that Google has started to implement mobile-first indexing. Google’s mobile-first indexing simply means that Google predominantly uses the mobile version of site content for indexing and ranking. In the past, the index primarily used the desktop version of a page's content when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user's query. However, Google recognises that the majority of users now access Google search using their mobile device.

So, if you’re in the process of building a new ecommerce site, make sure you build and test your site with ‘mobile responsiveness’ and user experience in mind first. If your current ecommerce site isn’t optimised for mobile, we recommend you take the necessary steps by:

  • Implementing a responsive website design
  • Redesigning pages, call to actions and pop-ups
  • Improving mobile navigation

You can test the mobile-friendliness of your site and generate an in-depth report here.

2. Improve your site speed

Alongside the mobile responsiveness of your website, your page speed is extremely critical as well. Research shows that 47% of consumers expect a page to load within two seconds. Moreover, 40% of site visitors say they will leave a page after waiting for more than three seconds. It’s clear that not only Google but also site visitors favour a website that loads quickly.

Here are some of the many ways you can improve your site speed:

  • Enable file compression
  • Optimise site images
  • Utilise website caching
  • Reduce the number of redirects
  • Remove unused plugins/tools

You can use the Google PageSpeed Insights tool to measure your site speed.

3. Optimise your site content

Another important aspect when it comes to optimising your site for voice search is that searches are becoming more conversational. Voice search has changed the way sentences are phrased and keywords are used. Writing the way you speak has become an essential part of creating content that ranks in search engines.

Longtail Keywords

To ensure your content is optimised for voice search, longtail keywords play a major role. So instead of using shorter keywords like “Best ecommerce sites” you might rather look at implementing sometime that looks like “What are the best ecommerce sites”. The difference is that longtail keywords are phrased exactly how a user would ask a question when doing a voice search. For example, it’s more likely a user will say “Alexa/Siri/Google, what are the best ecommerce sites”, than “Alexa/Siri/Google, best ecommerce sites”. 

Questions, phrases and natural language

People are using more conversational search queries because it allows them to ask more specific and personally relevant questions about the products and services they’re interested in. In particular, Google has seen a 65% increase in “Should I” and “How do I” questions. So what that means for you as an ecommerce business is that you might need to use more natural language in your page content and product descriptions.

Also, consider using more “what, where, who, how, when, why” questions and phrases. Switching your content to the ‘first-person’ (for example, using ‘I’ instead of ‘you’) is key as well. 

Voice search is just one part of your digital marketing system, which should be made up of a variety of elements and marketing channels working with synergy to help you meet your business goals. Contact SilverDisc to find out how we can help you to take a holistic approach to digital marketing, including optimising your website for voice search and much more.

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