Year in, year out, the tech industry has continually provided the world with innovations to make their lives easier and better. These innovations are aimed at making daily activities less stressful and even more fun to do. One of the latest innovations is the voice search feature.
This feature is available on most devices nowadays. From your smartphones to laptops and even voice-enabled speakers, you can make inquiries and searches on these devices with your voice. In this article, we will discuss the effect of this innovation on the e-commerce industry and the use of SEO for ranking search results.
What is Voice Search and How Does it Work?
Voice search entails using speech to make enquires or commands on your device. This process uses the internet and it involves the speaker making a request on the device to which the device either fulfills or provides answers.
The operational principle for these voice searches is quite simple. The device is prompted to take the voice search or command through the use of key phrases such as “Ok Google” or “Siri” or “Alexa”, depending on the device. This key phrase is followed by a question or a command.
The voice assistant records the voice command or queries and transcribes them into text. It then analyzes the text and picks out questions and commands in the text. The assistant connects to an external source (search engines) and seeks relevant information or answer to the question. This information is processed into an acceptable format and sent to the speaker.
All of these steps in the process take place within milliseconds, so there is usually no delay. Due to its fast and efficient nature, the feature has been of immense importance in the e-commerce business.
Importance of Voice Search and Its Implication for the eCommerce Industry
Studies and researches into the use and adoption of voice searches show that the market for smart speakers such as Amazon’s Alexa is set to surpass the $40 billion mark by 2024. There was a pre-lockdown projection that about 50% of all smartphone browsing sessions will be done through voice searches.
All of these projections point to a fact; Voice Search has come to stay and it will be foolhardy for e-commerce stakeholders such as content strategists and digital marketers to ignore this innovation and its implication on the industry. The following are some of the trends that we should look out for in the e-commerce space with regards to the adoption of voice searches;
The decline in the Importance of Keyword-Based Searches
One of the shocks that the stakeholders of the e-commerce space should prepare for is the reduction in the importance of keywords and their use for searches on the internet. The conventional way to make inquiries was the use of certain keywords. However, with more people getting comfortable with voice searches and understanding how it works, queries on the internet are now carried out in natural speaking patterns and conversational styles.
Going forward, this will affect the way internet searches work, and participants in the e-commerce space need to find a way to key into this new system of internet searches. For instance, studies show that 70% of the queries made on Google Assistant are in natural language which means that the queries include complete questions, more phrases, and a string of natural sentences.
Increase in Users Expectation
While the use of voice searches would bring about the reduction in the efficiency of keyword-based searches, the expectations of users concerning search result accuracy are not expected to fall. Instead, they are expected to increase with the adoption of voice searches. Users would expect the same or even higher level of accuracy with regards to their search results.
The cause of this heightened expectation is because big players such as Google and some of its services such as YouTube and Google Assistant offer fast, accurate, and personalized results when users use voice search with them. Therefore, users expect that they will get these types of results with other internet searches made with voice search.
However, there is a major pain point that comes with the use of voice search on most internet searches. Most internet searches do not offer accurate results when the query is made with a voice search. Despite this drawback, the user’s expectation will not reduce in the nearest future. Therefore, voice search must get to the level of accuracy, speed, and relevance that the traditional internet search method offers.
Voice Search and SEO
The job of any SEO specialist is to ensure that businesses and their webpages get the top positions when customers make internet inquiries about the services and products offered for sale, through the use of keywords and phrases. However, in an age where people are starting to use natural language rather than keywords for internet searches, the work of an digital marketing agencies, along with mobile app development companies just became a bit harder.
With the adoption of voice search as the preferred option for internet searches, SEO specialists must create strategies that allow them to optimize their keywords for voice search. Some of the strategies you can use includes;
Understand the Way People Talk When Making Internet Searches
Most people don’t write the same way they talk. Thus, it is not expected that the voice searches will take the same pattern as the traditional text searches. Therefore, it pays to analyze the way people make voice searches to understand the important elements that determine the results shown.
As an example, a person looking for a hotel in Los Angeles would type “Hotels in Los Angeles” when making inquiries on the internet. However, if the same person is using voice search, the inquiry would likely take this format; “What are the best hotels in Los Angeles Art District”. There is a huge difference between the two search queries.
While bearing this huge difference in mind, you need to do the following while optimizing your business for the voice search:
Incorporate Questions into your Keywords
You should include phrases such as What, Where, Why, and When into your content while creating content for businesses. This is because most voice searches tend to take the form of a full question. The major consideration while creating keywords for your business is to visualize the type of result the internet user is looking for and how they might voice the question.
Pinpoint your location in the Content
Another inclusion in your content is the location of the business. Try to be as detailed as possible when describing the location of the business. It helps to include the nearest attractions when describing the location. However, it is important to state that one must not force this detailed description. If the content doesn’t offer room for such a detailed description, you may have to skip the detailed description.
Highlight Your Advantage over other Competition
How would you feel if your business or product didn’t come up as one of the top results when users ask Google for “the best (service or product) in a certain area? Bad, right? This is why you should ensure that you mention that your business is one of the best or top-rated providers of the service in the area. And more than mentioning that you are the best, you should also mention reasons or the advantages that you have over other businesses.
Mention Related Products and Services
More often than not, there are usually products or services related to those offered by your business. It may be helpful to include phrases about these related services and products as long as users are always searching for them. If your business focuses on providing marketing automation for users, it would be helpful to mention something about CRM in your content as many marketing automation users always enquire about CRM solutions.
Is Voice Search the Future?
In a somewhat surprising turn, some stakeholders in the tech industry don’t believe that the voice search feature is the future of internet searches. While stating his opinion on a podcast, a Googler Martin Splitt stated that there would be no need to create a special SEO strategy for the use of voice search as the feature would not completely eradicate the use of text searches. He stated that the only difference brought by voice search is that it changes the input modality, as search engines will continue to use natural language to draw results from the internet.
The voice search feature is a big deal that would change the way participants in the e-commerce industry and SEO specialists do business. The fact that more people are expected to start using this feature on their devices means that business has to plan for their use and how it affects their visibility on the internet. While some tech experts have opined that voice search would not take over the use of text searches, the truth remains that a sizable number of the world popular is already using the voice search feature and it would help if businesses start factoring these users into their marketing strategy.