The world of ecommerce has evolved ten-fold in recent years. From the introduction of social shopping to online marketplaces and mobile-friendly purchasing, ecommerce is more varied than ever before. For web pros dealing with clients’ search engine optimisation (SEO), it’s important to have your finger on the pulse of this fast-moving landscape.
It’s also key that you know which methods need to be implemented to make sure your clients aren’t missing out on conversions. Here Joseph McKeown, SEO Manager at Fasthosts, explains why voice search optimisation (VSO) shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to incorporating the right strategy into clients’ SEO, and provides pointers for web pros.
For web pros working with clients running B2C ecommerce businesses, it’s vital that the SEO strategies being implemented include VSO.
With statistics suggesting that there are 4.2 billion digital voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home worldwide, it’s important this is factored into SEO if businesses are to stay ahead of this ever-growing trend in consumer behaviour.
In a nutshell, VSO refers to the process of optimising the content on a website to maximise the chances of a company’s products and services appearing in searches. This is a marketing tactic that is becoming ever more important as younger generations get used to searching by voice and gain purchasing power in various key ecommerce sectors.
When you combine this with the statistics around digital voice assistants worldwide and the upward trend of purchases of these devices, it’s clear that voice search will only become more prominent as time goes on. It’s therefore crucial that web pros are future proofing clients through VSO implementation now.
Another key consideration is that the average typing speed is 30-40 words per minute for most consumers and it’s estimated that the total sum of all searches now done by voice varies between 40% and 60%.
With this in mind, it’s crucial businesses are optimising their sites for voice search in order to make the products they sell more accessible to all consumers because it’s much easier to vocally search for a product than it is to type search for it depending on what customers are looking for.
In short, if you’re not thinking about voice search, you’re leaving sales on the table both now and in the future.
Searches are much more conversational now, with longer, more natural queries replacing old school keywords so it’s important for clients to write their content in a concise way that matches the tone of their target audience. This will make it as easy as possible for digital voice assistants to recognise and process content on client sites and serve it to potential customers.
Furthermore, if web pros can implement voice search properly in a proprietary way, it can be beneficial to ecommerce where site search is one of the key factors in site conversions.
Fortunately, most of the ways that businesses can optimise for voice search match pre-existing SEO best practices. So, if you’re already on the ball with your clients’ SEO tactics, you should be covering most bases.
The most important thing is content and how it’s crafted. Having a conversational tone of voice, optimal use of heading tags for example and the content underneath to fight for featured snippets is key because most voice queries will be answered by a featured snippet answer using information about a business.
If you’re new to VSO, here are the key areas to focus on:
Voice searches overwhelmingly favour featured snippets in their answers. They rank highly, and often give concise, precise answers to specific questions (the average voice search result is between 29 and 41 words). Web pros should make best use of heading markups and content to optimise for these, for example “What is the best X?” and “The best X is…”.
The most common voice search results read aloud are informational queries, which should be targeted with long-form content or FAQs on commercial pages. The days of optimising for shorter two or three key words are over. It’s now vital to consider all the ways in which a question might be asked when searching for a product.
In line with Google updates such as Hummingbird and BERT, content should read and flow naturally, offering a response in the same language that customers may use to ask their question.
This means writing with your audience in mind, not writing for search engines. Instead of stilted two or three word search terms, write in complete sentences in a conversational way which users find more engaging.
Not only does Google approach search from a mobile-first point of view, most voice searches, if not done through an Alexa or Google Home device, happen through a mobile device so it’s important to make sure websites are optimised for mobile, for both user experience and optimised SEO.
Both Google rankings and voice assistants prioritise sites that load quickly as well as site speed. If you ask Alexa for something you don’t want her to spend 10 seconds thinking about it, you want the answer as soon as possible.
Voice search results often make use of structured data such as schema markups. This allows you to mark-up important elements on a website and on each page and is key as both Google and voice assistants look at this structured data first when returning searches for common queries.
You should ensure that your Google My Business profile is complete and kept up to date to maximise visibility on web searches and engage with consumers, while also gaining audience insights.
Google My Business profiles allow you to claim ownership of your business information in Google, giving you the chance to engage customers and answer their queries with accurate, up-to-date information. You’ll also gain key customer insights through reviews and analytics, showing how users interact with your profile.
In summary, as a web pro you should be applying the above tools to your clients’ SEO strategies to keep them on top when it comes to appearing in customer searches.
Not only will this ensure your clients are covering all possible bases and maximising their online conversions, but it’s also a consideration that will future proof your clients’ businesses as we enter an era of increased voice search hyperactivity.
The bottom line is act now so your clients don’t lag behind their competitors later.