Google research shows that up to 60% of online searches now occur on a mobile device. This should not come as a surprise to most eCommerce professionals and sellers, but rather a validation of the shopping trends we have witnessed in this mobile-first world. There is, however, a growing type of search that we should all be paying more attention to: voice search. Google reports that 20% of all mobile searches are voice search. That number is predicted by comScore to grow to 50% by the year 2020.
A change in the way queries are made leads to a change in the way answers need to be presented. As voice search continues to rise in popularity (so much so that the practice is now being referred to as “voice commerce”), it is important for eCommerce sellers to optimize their content for voice. Here are some key steps you can take in order to do so today:
1. Revisit Your Keyword Strategy
When a shopper searches for an item online in the traditional way, he or she will likely use a single keyword or shortened keyword phrase to do so. Naturally, voice queries are much longer than those typed, and typically follow the pattern of a conversational question.
When optimizing your content for voice search, it is important to include longtail keywords and questions in your copy directly. Through knowledge of your category and customers, an understanding of your reviews, and keyword research, you should be able to come up with a list of commonly asked questions about your brand or product and include those in your content wherever possible.
One suitable way to integrate longtail keywords and questions into your copy is through headers. Consider introducing content with headers like “How Does [Product] Work?” or “What Are the Benefits of [Product]?”. This piece of advice goes beyond your Frequently Asked Questions section – integrating questions throughout your content and within product descriptions themselves will help direct voice searchers to the right place.
2. Write in a Conversational Tone
Much like integrating conversational and question-related keywords into your copy, it is important to write in a more conversational tone in general. In writing, it is often advised to read your content aloud to ensure it flows naturally and will make sense for the audience. Now that more and more searches are happening via voice, this piece of writing advice is more important than ever.
The goal here is to write content in a way that is most likely to be understood in its proper context by not only your readers but by search engines (more on helping search engines understand your content next). Answering specific questions and making sure each page speaks to one topic directly are both good practices in addition to using conversational language.
3. Leverage Structured Data
Google Webmaster Trends Analysts have been speaking publicly about structured data and its importance in web optimization for some time now, suggesting that Google would be implementing new features in 2018 that would take advantage of its use, including with voice search.
What is structured data? In its simplest form, structured data is a set of code that organizes your website’s content and describes it to search engines in a way that is easy for the algorithm to understand. For example, on a product page, a structured data code would specifically point out to search engines which piece of copy is the name of the product, and which is the description or body text. This is helpful when it comes to voice search because the easier your content is for search engines to understand, the easier it is for them to direct shoppers to your content with this new type of query.
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4. Understand Featured Snippets
An additional benefit to leveraging the above tips is the potential for Google to recognize your webpage in a Featured Snippet. A Featured Snippet is a type of search result that typically appears at the top of a results page. When a searcher asks a specific question, Google tries to answer it in the easiest way possible – by providing a snippet of the answer up-front, taken from a website it considers to have the best answer.
By leveraging headers, questions in your copy (including page or section titles), conversational language that answers a specific query, and structured data, your chance of being featured by Google is much greater. A Featured Snippet will often be presented to a voice searcher as the best answer to his or her question.
Industry experts estimate there are over one billion voice searches performed per month and that number is only growing. If you want to stay ahead of the voice commerce curve, now is the time to make sure your product content is fully optimized and ready to make the biggest impact.