Voice search: future of eCommerce for 2019

Want to know what the future of eCommerce will look like? How about what it will sound like with voice search.

Right now, we can command Siri to do mundane tasks. We tell Alexa to re-order our most use household goods on Amazon. We ask Google to help us navigate to the nearest retail store. Soon we’ll be asking them for recommendations on best products to buy.

Voice search isn’t just a fad

Check these statistics to consider it’s growing relevance.

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Photo by Andres Urena on Unsplash

“Voice searches are replacing traditional searches,” explained Brian Dean of Backlinko, who has researched thousands of voice search queries. “...a good chunk of all searches are becoming voice searches on mobile phones and—important for B2B—desktops.”

So, how do you harness voice search technology?

Optimize your eCommerce site content for voice search

Most answers from voice assistants – such as Amazon’s Echo (controlled by Alexa), Cortana, Google Home, Google Assistant and Siri – are extracted from search engines. While Alexa and Cortana use Bing results, Google products and Siri pull from Google search.

That means answers for voice queries will depend on best SEO practices. It’s not a whole new method of doing search, but an extension of it.

The best way to compete against big retail or tech titans is to provide some level of customer service online. Answering questions is one of the most important aspects of customer service.

Good news is that Google has become an answer engine and strives to answer questions in the search results. It does that in two ways

1. Featured Snippets
2. Direct Answers

#1 What are Featured Snippets? Does it matter for eCommerce?

Featured Snippets are the boxes that appear at the top of some Google search result pages, providing a brief answer that, brands and authors hope, lead users to click for more details. For the most part, Bing’s Featured Snippets mirror Google’s.

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40.7% of all voice search answers came from a Featured Snippet, according to Backlinko.

Featured snippets can take a number of forms, but they usually include the page’s title and URL with some combination of:

  • A paragraph
  • A list
  • A table
  • A chart or graph
  • An image

The same Backlinko study explains that other factors should also be considered when trying to rank for voice search, such as:

  • Page speed
  • HTTPS - show your site is secure
  • Concise answers and explanations - typically 29 words in length, no more
  • Domain authority - get high-quality backlinks
  • Social engagement - the average voice search result has 1,199 Facebook shares and 44 tweets
  • Easy to read - written in 9th-grade level, using natural language and way of talking

#2 Google loves Direct Answers

Google also provides a collection of answers in a fold-out / drop-down container called Google Answer Boxes. They’re meant to provide quick and easy answers to questions by featuring a snippet of information from one of the pieces of content on page one (not necessarily the content ranking #1) in a box at the very top.

Because the answer box is featured above all other results, the chances your link will be clicked on is much higher if you appear in an answer box versus anywhere else on page 1.

yeezys-search
Notice that neither featured snippets nor direct answers in the examples above feature Amazon. In fact, the query "are yeezys true to size" doesn't have a single retailer organically appear on Google's first page. They’re sponsored content. But people ask these question - usually when they consider buying the product.

Amazon is fantastic at collecting the most asked questions (and answers) about a product on its product pages. But they don’t appear as Featured Snippets or Direct Answers on Google search.

This is an incredible opportunity for retailers and eCommerce operators to efficiently rank in Featured Snippets and Google Answer Boxes. Answer FAQs and feature them in your product pages or create a separate FAQ page, optimized for Google (and Bing) ranking.

Amazon-customerFAQ

Amazon vs Google result about Instant Pot

instantpotFAQ

Direct Answers from Amazon don’t appear on Google’s 1st page of search results

Don’t forget local search

If your business caters to local markets, optimize your content for voice search to get in front of shoppers (especially mobile users) searching for products or stores in their city or town.

To capitalize on this opportunity, target long-tail keywords and create content to answer localized search queries such as:

“Where can I find ____ in   city  ?”
“Nearest ____ store that sells ____ in   town ?”
“Closest store with   product in   city ?”
“Where can I buy   product  near me?”

Make sure to indicate your city, state and zip code in your About Us, FAQs and even product pages.flipflops-NearMe

If Locations Services feature is off, Google will request permission to locate you and provide with better local results according to your IP address (desktop) or GPS coordinates (mobile).

patio-locations-chatbot This patio furniture retailer with features a chatbot that auto-suggests their multiple locations.

Key takeaways to optimize your site for voice search

  • Voice search isn’t just a fad or shiny new technology. It’s becoming part of consumers’ daily lives and it’s transforming how people use search engines and smart devices.
  • Think like a customer support agent. What kind of questions do shoppers and regular customers typically ask about your competitors’ and your own products and services?
  • Optimize your web content to provide answers to common questions in bite-sized digestible snippets will improve your chances of being featured in a snippet.

 

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2019 eCommerce Trends: Growth Today, Scale Tomorrow

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