Why and How to Optimize Your eCommerce Site for Google Voice Search in 2020

The trend of individuals searching the web via voice is increasing with every year. People use Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, and a whole host of other search technologies to help them with practically anything. As this technology rises, Digital Marketers have to consider how they can best optimize their websites for Google Voice Search.

All one has to do is ask a question, and they can have driving directions, traffic reports, their daily schedule, and so many other things delivered to them via an AI assistant instantly. It only makes sense that the next frontier in voice search would be that people could shop by just using their voice.  

As with anything else, Google has been at the forefront of this developing technology. The company released Google Voice Search in 2012, just as voice search was rising in popularity. Estimates show that in 2020 30% of internet searches could happen without surfing the web. That translates to millions of people each day getting results without opening their computer to the Google home page and all the search results it populates.

Furthermore, 50% of all web searches will begin as a voice search. These queries will include eCommerce searches and purchases. If you don’t want to get left behind, the time is now to optimize your eCommerce site for Google Voice Search. Chances are, it's one of the most important things you will do for your sales this year. 

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Why You Should Optimize Your eCommerce Site for Google Voice Search

The primary reason to optimize your site for Google Voice search is very simple: you don’t want to miss out on the traffic. As stated above, the amount of searches happening via voice is growing exponentially. That trend shows no signs of stopping. Some researchers have even dubbed 2020 “The Year of The Voice Search." Since trends show more and more web searches moving to voice only, you must optimize your site to stay competitive. An interesting statistic is that teenagers already do 55% of their web searches via voice. That is a large portion of the market to forfeit simply because you didn’t want to or failed to optimize your site. 

Here's a statistic from Think With Google:

think with google study on google voice search

Another piece of information that should factor into your determinations is the growth of voice search devices and smart speakers. While phones have given the public that ability for a few years, there has been an explosive amount of growth thanks to the popularity of devices like Alexa, Echo, Google Home, and others. The global market for these devices is projected to top $23 million by 2025. As more people purchase and use these AI-powered devices for a multitude of tasks, expect to see an increase in voice search because of these devices. Once people realize that they can check traffic and order clothing at the same time, this metric will continue to increase.

Exploring The Impact of the Hummingbird Update

Hummingbird was a complete revamp of Google's algorithm. There are some in the marketing industry that believes this update was one of the most significant changes ever for the company. Unlike previous algorithm updates from Google, marketers did not find the same sharp decreases in web traffic to their sites. And that was because while Hummingbird made changes to the search results algorithm, it improved a user’s ability to both search and get results that better answered their query. With this update, Google made clear that it was trying to understand better what people were looking for on the web. Hummingbird placed a focus on the intent of a user rather than the language they used. To an extent, this impact continues to be seen in Google Voice Search.  

How To Optimize Your Site for Google Voice Search

What some people don't understand about voice search (until they have more experience with it) is that unlike a traditional search from your browser, you only get ONE search result. That’s right, only one. To make sure that you are that one, you have to make sure that you outrank your competitors. There are multiple ways you can make sure that you rise to number one in the rankings. Those methods will involve both SEO-based techniques in addition to changes and upgrades to your site.

Site Performance Based Techniques 

In terms of upgrades to your site, there are three things you need to examine.

1. Security

The overall security of your website. Google gives priority to secure sites. If you aren’t already an HTTPS site, you must upgrade immediately. This designation lets Google and your users know that they are secure when browsing and shopping on your website.

A HTTP site will automatically get the dreaded "Not secure" label in the left of the address bar (pictured above). Besides this affecting your rank-ability, people will be much more skeptical about entering personal information into your site.

2. Speed

Ensure your website is optimized for speed. Make sure your theme can move lightning fast. Get rid of any apps that are slowing your site down. Google prioritizes sites with speed in their search algorithm. They don’t direct users to websites that are slow to load. You want to make sure you want every advantage possible in the search rankings.

3. Optimized for Mobile Devices

We are in the year 2020. There is no reason for any eCommerce site NOT to be optimized for mobile at this point.

  • At the end of 2018, more than 25% of eCommerce sales came from mobile devices.
  • 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile device in the last 6 months (statistic courtesy of OuterBox).

There just isn't any reason to not give Mobile-friendliness the respect it deserves. 

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SEO-Based Google Voice Search Techniques

In addition to ranking techniques based on site performance, you must consider these SEO-based techniques that also improve your site’s Google rankings. Remember, to perform at the level needed for voice search, you must be ranked number one!

1. Keyword research 

Whatever product you are selling, there are keywords that are associated with your product. Conduct research to know what those are so you can integrate those throughout your website. Partner with a trained marketer if you can so they can optimize your site and these keywords for search crawlers.

2. Know what language people use when they perform a Google voice search

One thing that has been difficult for companies and marketers to adjust to is that people do not always use the most formal or appropriate words when conducting a Google search. The semantics that people use are of vital importance to you. Voice search is set up to search for the same terms people use when they speak. Make sure your site will populate for such words. People ask Google Search all sorts of questions.

  1. Brainstorm what types of questions would lead a person to your site.
  2. Make a list
  3. Optimize your website for those questions.

3. Utilize YouTube for boosting your search ranking

YouTube is just one more piece in a marketer’s arsenal. Don’t forget to use it here. Use your site to link to your YouTube channel and vice versa. You can use your YouTube channel to showcase video clips that answer and incorporate the questions you formulated in the previous step. This way, you can find another way to increase your presence in the search rankings.

A Google search for "best bass fishing lures" pulls up numerous results - organic results, paid ads, and Google SERP features. Having your YouTube channel show up as a result as well essentially gives you another chance for exposure to your audience. 

google voice search best bass fishing lure

Although Shop Karls is ranking well organically for this term, you can see how Bass Resource has used YouTube to their advantage and are actually showing up above them.

Don’t neglect your other social media channels when it comes to boosting your search rankings either. The more shares content gets on social media, the greater its reach, and therefore, the more likely that site is going to rank higher on Google.

4. Build up content pages

Every page on your site is another opportunity for you to use your keywords and other tips to attract attention from search algorithms. One of the most important places to do that is on your blog. Take this chance to use that platform and create more content that will support your business and increase your performance in Goggle’s Search rankings. When applicable, use videos to help you get this point across. The average person consumed 67 minutes of video per day in 2018. That number is only expected to trend upward. Video can help you keep visitors on your page, consuming your content for a longer period of time. 

5. Create more content based on keyword and voice search research and topics

Be mindful when using your blog and other forms of content. Create your content with a purpose. Make sure it ties into your original goal and draws attention to your site. Take all the research that has been completed by your marketing teams and incorporate that into your content. This will help you rank higher and be more likely to be that number ranking site on Google.

Additional Tips:

There are many tips and tricks that other marketers have figured out to boost themselves on Google. Here are some other tried and true tips to improve your eCommerce site for Google Voice Search.

  • Pages that load quickly have a 52% better chance of showing up in voice search results. Optimizing your page for speed is vital.
  • Short answers are preferred for voice search results. On average, a search answer query is 29 words.
  • Most search queries use some combination of the same 25 keywords. Learn those keywords and incorporate them.
  • The more simplistic the answer, the more likely they are to rank in a search query. Your content shouldn’t read any higher than a high school level.
  • For voice search results that are on the longer side, long-form content becomes a target for algorithms.
  • Don’t neglect your long-tail keywords! When appropriately incorporated into your content, they can help you boost your rankings.
  • If a page ranks highly in a traditional web search, it will most likely rank very high in a voice search. At the very least, a company won’t have as much work to do to boost its rankings.
  • When creating your site content and attempting to optimize it, put yourself in the place of a user. This can help you look at things from their point of view and help you think like a customer when you create site content.
  • Create content with the semantic search results in mind. Utilize those useful keywords and phrases to get your content picked up by that algorithm.
  • Create content that sounds conversational and natural. People voice search in a manner close to how they speak. If you don’t create content that sounds like how people talk, you will be passed over by search engines.

Google Voice Search Recap

Google Voice Search is a powerful tool that is already shaping how we search on the web. Now, it looks to revolutionize how we shop as well. As voice search only continues to grow, let’s review some of the key tips and points for implementing Google Voice Search for your eCommerce site.

  1. Without optimizing your site for voice search, you will miss out on a large volume of web traffic.
  2. Voice search continues to grow as the first way people search the web.
  3. Smart speakers and other voice devices are booming in sales.
  4. Google’s Hummingbird algorithm change helped paved the way for better voice search results.
  5. You can optimize your site by making sure it is built for speed and that it is secure.
  6. You can improve your search ranking by creating content that utilizes keywords, and that is clear and concise.
  7. More individuals that use a voice search to find products are making the purchase directly from the voice device.

Hopefully, these tips and this article will help you optimize your site for Google Voice Search and drive your eCommerce sales!

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Anton is a the Founder & CEO of Drop Ship Lifestyle - an online coaching program for eCommerce entrepreneurs. He began selling online in 2007 and has built and sold multiple seven-figure businesses while leveraging the power of drop shipping.

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