With the emergence of the smartphone and AI-powered voice assistants like Siri that allow us to search with our voices, we quickly saw it as a way to multitask, get instant answers to our questions, and make our daily routines much easier.
In fact, voice search popularity is rising so fast that there are over one billion voice searches per month, and by 2020, ComScore predicts that 50% of all searches will be voice searches.
Seeing all of this, it makes sense that voice search is changing everything related to search, such as the retail industry.
Retail and Voice Search
Ask any luxury branding agency and they’ll tell you that the retail market is especially sensitive to voice search because search is one of the biggest factors that governs where we shop.
Like voice search, the retail market in the UK is growing — according to Statista , the market value of retailing in the United Kingdom between 2013 and 2018 increased from €382 million to €434 million.
In this growing ecosystem, this means that retail brands have an opportunity to make more sales.
If that’s you, here are five steps to optimise your retail brand for voice search.
Step 1: We Talk When We Walk ➝ Optimise for Mobile
Let’s start by thinking of how we search.
Unlike normal search, voice search implies mobile because mobile, in turn, implies being on-the-go.
Therefore, if you want to optimise your brand for voice search, you first need to optimise for mobile and make it so all your users can have equally good experiences on your site.
Additionally, if you’re not already mobile-friendly, Google and other search engines will punish you with lower search rankings. In other words, not only will you appear lower on normal search, but the chances of appearing on a voice query are slim to none.
Step 2: Voice Implies Local ➝ Optimise for Local Search
We’re also more likely to use voice search when we have local intent.
This means optimising for local search by listing your business on places like Google My Business so people can find you.
As you create your listings, remember to use the same exact NAP (name, address & phone number), hours, description, photos, etc. on every single listing.
This is because search engines use three factors to determine who comes up first on a local search (in our case, it’s voice search):
Therefore, when you list your same exact NAP everywhere, your relevance increases as you include more information on your business, and your prominence likewise increases the more listings your business can be found.
Step 3: Speech Is Longer and More Focused ➝ Rethink Your Keywords
Another way voice search is different from normal search is that voice queries are longer and more focused than text.
This means switching shorthand keywords for long-tail that are longer and more specific.
As Neil Patel says, “[c]ontent pages that are optimized for long-tail keywords tend to perform better in the search engines… because long-tail keywords are highly specific and less competitive…”
Along with long-tail keywords, place extra focus on intent because voice queries naturally include intent; it’s simply how we speak.
For example, we say things that use who, what, where, when, why and how.
Step 4: When We Talk, We Converse ➝ Write like a Person
Just as voice search implies queries that are longer and more focused, it also implies conversational queries that mimic how we speak.
This is because we talk to voice assistants as if they were real people.
This type of conversational content is also easy to read and understand and ranks well in voice search results.
This means that your website, along with your product descriptions, should be written as if you were describing them to a friend.
For example, instead of using marketing jargon and promotional phrases that brands love to use, but consumers rarely actually use themselves, opt for words and phrases real people would use.
Step 5: Search Engines like Structure ➝ Use Schema Markup
Finally, the last step we’ll cover today is to use schema markup and structure your data.
When search engine bots crawl your site, they don’t see what you or I see. Instead, they see structured data that identifies what’s on a web page, such as the content and its type.
And by structuring your data, you’re ensuring they (crawlers) can go through your content and understand what it’s saying.
Going back to voice search, because crawlers can’t actually ‘read’ what’s on your site, they use your schema markup to know what’s what in your content and match it to relevant voice queries.
In this way, structured data defines your content and provides data points for search engines to use while matching queries to pages.
Optimising for voice search is different than normal search engine optimisation because it needs to consider everything that goes into SEO AND mobile optimisation.
Once this realisation is made, the task is that much easier. Good luck!
Sabrina is a content writer for Appnova, a dual eCommerce agency and luxury branding agency based in London that specialises in the latest technologies and developments. She writes on a variety of subjects that range from SEO and PPC to emerging AI trends.