With 50% of all online queries predicted to use voice search by 2020, there’s no doubt the phenomenon is on the rise.
Google Home, a voice-activated speaker powered by Google Assistant, launched last year, and Amazon’s Echo Dot was the bestselling product on the platform during the 2017 holiday season.
We get it. Voice search has arrived, and it’s quickly becoming less of a novelty and more of the norm.
But let’s not lose the run of ourselves here.
“The potential for brands to influence the discovery stage of the customer buying cycle with voice search is massive, with SEO playing a vital role”
Sure, some brands such as Domino’s Pizza and Uber have already managed to optimise voice search from a transactional perspective, but the real sweet spot for driving sales is ultimately still within the discovery stage of the customer journey…here’s looking at you, SEO.
Getting your content in Google’s coveted ‘Featured Snippet’ position will drastically increase your success with voice search.
But let’s not forget how voice search actually works:
- A user speaks directly into their phone, virtual assistant or voice-controlled speaker of choice
- The audio from that search query is recorded, sent to voice recognition APIs and converted into text
- Voilà! A search takes place
So what is the key to preparing your ecommerce site for the exponential rise of voice search?
Keep doing what you’re doing (if you do it well…)
There’s no secret sauce here.
The role of voice search is ultimately no different to that of the role of traditional SEO, ie getting the right users to your website.
So, in a truly practical sense, when working with content from an SEO perspective, your team just needs to ask ‘how would someone perform this search using their voice?’
This means using long-tail keywords, optimising content for questions about your business and/or the products you sell, and incorporating more ‘trigger words’ (such as ‘how’, ‘why’, ‘where’, ‘is’) into your web content to significantly improve your ‘Featured Snippet’ chances.
“In a practical sense, your team just needs to ask ‘how would someone perform this search using their voice?’”
But with Google yet to separate voice queries within its search console analytics, retailers need to rely on cues to weed out the types of searches that could be performed by voice – similar to the early days of mobile search and the simultaneous rise of ‘near me’ location-based search queries.
The potential for brands to influence the discovery stage of the customer buying cycle with voice search is massive, with SEO playing a vital role.
However, if your SEO team is already applying best practice when it comes to search, optimising for voice-operated search is far less of a giant leap and more of a ‘mind the gap’ consideration.
None of this is rocket science, nor is it something that ecommerce brands should be holding crisis meetings about.
Optimising your site for voice search should be something that slots nicely into your current SEO strategy, if your current strategy is yielding results, that is.
If it’s not, then it might be a good time to start searching for better results.
Ciaran Bollard, chief executive of Kooomo
At Kooomo, we combine our ecommerce platform with 17 years of expertise in digital commerce to deliver dynamic ecommerce strategies and future-proof your digital solution to drive sales and conversions.