"Hey Siri, how do I prepare my online store for voice search?"
The increasing use of voice assistants like Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri and the Google Assistant clearly shows that the voice assistants are no longer a novelty and certainly no simple trend anymore. What does this mean for your Shopify store and how do you make Shopify ready for Voice Search?
Currently, around 85% of online shoppers own at least one device with voice assistant. And 27% of all people worldwide already use voice search on their smartphones or tablets. This is an increase of seven percentage points compared to 2019 - so the trend is clear!
"Surveys show that the use of Voice Search is increasingly accepted."
Specifically, this means that the use of Voice Search functions is no longer limited to the home. Instead, more and more people are also talking to their smartphones in public. And this is where Voice Search can unfold its strengths. Whether on the train, in the café or at sports: it is often easier and more effective than classic texting.
The origins of Voice Search
Voice-driven search was developed not only as an alternative in daily life, but also as a way of simplifying access for everyone, and was introduced by Google in 2011, for example. Accessibility is also an important issue in the digital world and has been a ranking factor for Google for years. Not everyone can operate a smartphone or a laptop using a keyboard, or has problems typing the desired search terms correctly. Whether physical limitations, illiteracy, visual or spelling impairments: searching and controlling using language is not only easier for many people, but also the only access to the Internet and thus to digital commerce.
That is why it is extremely important to be aware of this development and to prepare for it. This is a huge opportunity for all online retailers. Almost every online business now deals with search engine optimization (SEO). However, anyone deals intensively with language assistants, so there can be a clear competitive advantage. However, this does not apply to Amazon, because the direct Alexa connection makes product search by Voice Search immensely easier.
The Voice Search Providers
In contrast to traditional internet search, which is dominated by Google worldwide, the market shares in the field of voice search are currently fairly evenly distributed. Namely to the three best-known providers Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant. The latter has caught up rapidly, especially in the recent past. For example, Alexa uses data from Bing or Qype to search the internet, so Google-centric SEO measures are less effective than in traditional search. Siri is likely to use the search engine currently under development by Apple in the future, if it proves to be a competitive alternative. The prerequisites for a Voice Search optimization of your Shopify shop are therefore different from the classic SEO on the technical side.
Features of Voice Search
As early as 2013, Google began to revolutionize search on the Internet. The Hummingbird update was the cornerstone for a user- and, more importantly, an intention-centered, intelligent search. Previously, it was enough to “stuff” a sufficient amount of keywords into his text. Since then, Google has been trying to understand the user and, above all, to better situate the context of his search.
With each update, the quality of content on websites becomes more important than the old-school practices like link building and keyword spamming. Last but not least, you and your Shopify Shop only benefit from content that brings benefits to the user. And this is where Voice Search is already a step further.
Context instead of keywords
In order to know which search result is the best for a given search, the search engine must understand the user and their search intent, as well as the website and the context of the content. If you search for “Shopify”, for example, it can mean a lot: You want information about the company, the share price or you are looking for a Shopify partner to set up an online shop – maybe you also want to know how to optimize Shopify Voice Search and have therefore landed here. In Voice Search, users use whole sentences and correct questions instead, because tip laziness is no longer an obstacle. The search query: “How do I make Shopify Voice Search suitable?” will of course give you clearer answers than the search query “Shopify Voice Search” or similar. And that also applies to your customers and your shop!
Shopify Voice Search Strategy
Plan your voice search strategy now and prepare your online shop for the e-commerce of the future. For your Voice Search strategy with Shopify, we have compiled some tips and expert knowledge about Voice Search and E-Commerce:
- Content and quality: Be an expert
- Optimize for Questions
- Use natural language
- Target: Position Zero or Featured Snippet
- Long-Tail Keywords
- Structure of your content for Voice Search
Content Quality: Be a real expert
In the field of voice search, but also in general, your claim should be to be the expert for your products and to be perceived as such. At the latest here you can stop reading if you are planning a pure affiliate shop or a dropshipping project. But if you really have a fire or want to build it, the following tips are just right for you. Give your content the same attention with the same standards as your products. Bad texts and mobile phone photos don’t convert because they can’t transport messages and build trust. So: stay away from automatic copywriters, avoid spelling mistakes, blurred photos in poor quality and anything you don’t want to see yourself. We’ve already found that search engines want to deliver what the user wants to see – and with each update, Google has been sorting out more and more crappy content from search results. So don’t waste your time and budget with outdated practices and cheap links, but be the expert for your brand and your products – or let a Shopify Plus partner help you to do that.
Optimize for questions
The most common voice searches are done as a question rather than a sentence. Instead of saying, "Opticians Berlin," a user might ask, "Where is the nearest optician?" or "Who are the best opticians in Berlin?" Mobile searches for "best places to buy ______" (e. g. , "best places to buy glasses online") have increased 70% in the last two years. Questions like "best _______earbuds" by 130%. Keep in mind that you are optimizing your online store for voice output. Structure your content (blogposts, About Us . . . ) so that it answers the questions of your target group and doesn’t just consider keywords. An analysis of your target groups is also used for this purpose. More importantly, get a clear picture of what your customers are looking for and what they want to know. What problems can you solve, what information are you the expert on? To get the best results, look out for "trigger words" for voice search and integrate them into your content. According to SEOClarity, such "trigger words" include "like," "what," "where," and "best. " This not only helps you find voice search queries, but also increases the chances of landing in a specific snippet spot. So research the most important W-questions about your content and think about how you can answer them.
Target: Position Zero or Featured Snippet
If you get the Google Snippet spot (also called zero position) in the search results, you’ve achieved an optimal starting position for voice search queries. These snippet spots are a driving factor in the language search. Google views the snippet as a zero result and places it higher than any other search result in a query, even higher than paid Google ads. So if a snippet is available for a language search query, the snippet and the page behind it or the shop are what the Google Assistant and Siri read to its users, not just display. Alexa works differently. Alexa is purely Amazon-driven and can deliver Amazon results very well. General web search does not focus the system. As an operator of a Shopify online shop, there are several ways to reach position zero. Basically, you can start by creating your content to answer common search queries about the target topic. So don’t just think about the quickest completion, but also and above all about informative content about your products!
Use natural language
When people use language search, they usually also use the language they would use in real life. Typing takes more time. Therefore, we keep our requests to a minimum. However, you should not use colloquial language here, but focus on the sentence structure. Google’s data supports this. According to the search engine, almost 70% of requests to the Google Assistant are expressed in natural language. Typical keywords are not entered as in a web search.
For this reason, the focus on the so-called long-tail keywords is of central importance. Long-tail keywords are search queries that usually consist of two to five words and thus already provide information about the search intent. What does this mean for you as a shop operator? First, you need to identify the long search queries that your customers are using. We recommend that you team up with your employees and look for keywords and phrases that potential customers will use to stumble across your store. Such questions often arise from your direct contact with customers: What questions are addressed to you, what preoccupies your customers before or after the purchase? Another very effective way to find natural and conversational keywords is to find out how your customers interact and communicate with each other online. So also check out the forums and Facebook groups to get a feel for the needs of your customers.
Structure of your content for Voice Search
Here, too, the following applies: Imagine your content as an answer to your customers' question. Interact with them. When you ask someone a clear question, you don’t want a monologue like at a press conference after a Bundesliga game or a political talk during an election campaign. You expect a clear answer and choose the person to talk to you. Use headings – questions can also be formatted as headings – and provide concise and short answers. Data-driven means: Google reads an average of 41 words in response to a voice search and is thus already the most vocal assistant on the market. So save yourself unnecessary fill words and just get to the point! In addition, you should not forget the structured data of your pages. From Title to Meta-Description to FAQ-Markup: Help the user understand your Shopify Shop. Only then can you be found and convert users to customers.
Die Sprachsuche ist viel mehr als nur ein Trend. Sie ist schnell ein Teil des täglichen Lebens geworden und verändert die Art und Weise, wie wir Suchmaschinen und unsere Geräte verwenden. Und vor allem die Art und Weise, wie Kunden deinen Shopify Shop finden können. Um für die Zukunft optimal gerüstet zu sein, solltest du bereits jetzt anfangen, deinen Onlineshop mit Shopify Voice Search zu gestalten.
About the Author:
Shopify Expert & UI Designer