5 Ways to Prepare Your eCommerce Site for Voice Search
by Ron Dod
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Guest post by Yohei Guy of Digital Hothouse. Yohei Guy is a copywriter, SEO and content marketing expert working for one of Auckland’s leading digital marketing agencies, Digital Hothouse in New Zealand. Outside of work, Guy enjoys cinema, sports and the outdoors. Connect with Yohei on LinkedIn or with Digital Hothouse on Twitter and keep up to date with all the latest digital marketing news and trends in New Zealand and across the world.
The time of voice search is upon us. Over 5 billion people now carry mobile phones, most of which have the capacity to take voice commands. Millions of homes around the world have digital assistants like Google Home, Alexa, Cortana and Siri listening obediently for their next instructions. There are already more than 1 billion voice searches per month, which makes up 20 percent of all searches globally. By 2020, that percentage is expected to rise to 50 percent.
Given these facts and predictions, it’s not really a matter of if or when one should prepare their eCommerce site for voice search, but how to optimize it for your business in a prompt manner.
To help you put together a game plan, here are five ways to prepare your eCommerce site for voice search.
Maximize your site speed
When it comes to voice search, speed is critical. Search engines like Google want answers to queries just as fast as their users do, and anyone who’s used voice search will be well aware of how quickly responses come.
The obvious connotation to this is if your site is slow, then it won’t stand a chance of being selected in a voice search result. While you can increase site speed by investing in faster servers, this shouldn’t be your only answer. Another is to optimize your site for speed as well.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to compress the images on your site without compromising too much on quality. You can use Photoshop for this, but there are plenty of freely available options like Optimizilla, CompressNow and Online Image Optimizer.
To identify other ways you can optimize speed, try Google’s very handy PageSpeed Insights tool. Some of the recommendations get a little technical, but you can prioritize them with your developers to address as many as possible.
Conduct long tail keyword research
Another important thing to do is to carry long tail keyword research when it comes to voice search. Because the nature of voice search lends itself to longer search queries, users tend to use natural language to find what they are seeking online.
You can accomplish this using Google Keyword Planner or tools like SEMrush, which are effective ways to identify long tail keywords that have decent volume with metrics like Keyword Difficulty to assess how attainable they are.
Another voice search trait to recognize is the type of queries that often include trigger words like “how,” “what” and “when.”
A simple way to address this is by creating FAQ sections on your site that are relevant to your business. Providing clear and concise answers to these questions will make them easier for Google to recognize, increasing the chances that search engines identify your site as a good reference point.
Featured snippets are often specifically quoted in voice search so targeting them is in your best interest, plus they will bring in tremendous organic traffic.
Using SEMrush again, you can conduct your keyword research and filter for “SERP Features” to identify which keywords featured snippets exist. Then, you can analyze the competition that currently holds the featured snippet positions and think of ways to improve your content in order to usurp them from their strategic positions.
If you already have pre-existing content that is ranking in the top 10 positions, try to optimize it to outperform your competitors. If not, it’s time to start from scratch and produce original, dynamic content that will bring real results.
The importance of local SEO
It’s also important to make sure your site is competitive for local SEO voice search. Voice search is often used when people are on the move and need to be hands-free from their devices. Popular search terms include phrases like “near me,” which means having a strong local SEO presence is imperative.
The first fundamental to competing at the local level is taking ownership of your Google My Business account and completing your business profile to its fullest extent with name, address and phone number as well as your hours of operation, web address and relevant images.
It’s also important to engage and be active with your account, quickly answering questions and responding to reviews. Along with Google My Business, get listed on reputable online business directories like the Better Business Bureau, Yellow Pages, Yelp and FourSquare to really make an impact with online traffic.
Consistent business details across such directories will not only strengthen your local SEO performance but provide the opportunity to be discovered on other platforms as well.
The use of schema markup, or structured data, is an important thing to address for your eCommerce site.
For those who aren’t familiar with schema markup, they are essentially tags in your HTML that give search engines context to understand what your content is about.
Quite helpfully, they contribute to rich snippets which add star ratings/reviews and more to results in search engines. These are great assets for eCommerce sites to help consumers find your business when they voice search for the “best…near me” or the “best…to buy,” among other queries.
You can also use schema markup to highlight other details important to your business, including your physical address, phone numbers and opening hours, which are commonplace in voice search queries. Schema.org has some great online resources on how to get started and is well worth investing your time in it.
So, there it is! Now, you have five ways to prepare your eCommerce site for voice search that can be implemented with relative ease. That way, you can get real results in an increasingly competitive landscape with voice search.
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Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.