Speaking Your Language
Optimizing for voice searches is a great new strategy
Let’s face it: Gen-Xers are masters at pounding out text, rapidly, on the tiniest of device keyboards. The rest of us stumble through frustrating errors, many of which launch hilarious misfires thanks to autocorrect. But there’s nothing silly about understanding that voice control will continue to permeate the computer use experience for all groups.
The mercurial rise of digital voice assistants on smartphones and—most recently, lovely Alexa from Amazon—is a good indicator that we’re moving into an era that is at least partly keystroke free. And why not? It’s quick, convenient, and increasingly accurate. What merchants are discovering is that it can also be profitable.
Think it’s a longshot? Fasten your seatbelt. OC&C Strategy Consultants recorded a month of sales rates for 2,000 Amazon-posted products, and found that voice-powered devices and products totaled $1.8 billion in domestic retail revenues in the year 2017. They predict that number will increase to $40 billion by 2022.
Big players such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Apple have jumped ahead of the game to integrate voice searching on their platforms. The most searched brands are ranked at the top for voice searches. Maintaining a presence on these seller sites, in conjunction with optimized voice search strategies, will put you far ahead of the game.
Ecommerce vendors work hard to make their sites discoverable, attractive, and user-friendly as a way to boost business. Often that means tweaking text and inserting SEO (search engine optimization) terminology. Now comes the futuristic phenomenon of voice-optimizing your brand. Optimizing for voice searches works similarly, with some notable differences, the most important of which is accommodating natural language.
Unlike the fractured terms users put into Google search windows, voice queries will more closely resemble complete sentences. Typing “discount children’s shoes” will translate to “Alexa, find me low cost children’s shoes!” in a voice search.
Is your niche in a specialty category? Always use “long-tail keywords” that offer up more specific criteria. Instead of “hunting scope,” try “scope for upland bird hunting” if that best describes the utility of your product. It still contains the necessary keywords for text searching, but increases the likelihood that a spoken query will lead to a hit.
Want to improve your chances of being discovered? The infamous Alexa pays close attention to product features. After all, she is a sophisticated personal shopper. Should a potential buyer ask questions about a product, Alexa frequently recites featured product bullet points, as long as they fit within a time frame of about 16 to 20 seconds. This provides a more accurate search for the consumer, and possibly a higher ranking for you, the vendor.
If your curiosity is piqued and you’re primed for more info, consult this site as a great resource. Optimizing your site for voice searches isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but with a little bit of research, patience, and common sense, it can provide the fuel you need to make your ecommerce business more profitable.
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