Whether you’re ready for it or not, the future of retail is in voice search. With large technology corporations pumping out digital assistants, and brands integrating voice technology into their mobile apps, users’ access to the internet will soon be completely hands-free. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2020, 30% of all searches will be done without a screen; and ComScore believes that within the same time frame, voice will rise to 50% of all searches.

With recent artificial intelligence (AI) developments and applications, we can already see that the online shopping experience has begun to transform. Now, with voice search emerging as a formidable means of driving revenue, the transformation continues. Not only are brands trying to optimise their content to appear on the first page of Google’s SERPs, but they’re also trying to make their content more accessible for voice-enabled devices.

According to Statista, It’s already anticipated that there will be 1.92 billion online shoppers in 2019, and that number is expected to grow to 2.14 billion by 2020. With more users shopping online, technology is creating more avenues to drive revenue, which means more possibilities for your business. To make the most of this, the following are some voice search marketing best practices that your company can use to make it look like you hired a luxury branding agency to enable your voice activation in retail.

It’s About How You Say It

Users talk to digital assistants in a similar way to how they speak to their friends. You never hear someone say, “excuse me, Miss Alexa” it’s always “hey, Alexa.” The language isn’t formal, it’s colloquial. What makes voice-enabled technology so attractive is its simplicity. Users speak and artificial intelligence does the rest.

To optimise your brand’s voice technology in retail, you want to include more long-tail keywords that are related to your original search terms. Encompassing synonyms that your audience may associate with your brand while they search the internet is important to gain the traction you want. Picture yourself making voice inquiries to your digital assistant. How do you phrase your questions? What keywords are most important? Consider how your users might think about your brand and build a language that your audience and search engines can understand. 

SEO On-the-Go

Essentially, the same SEO best practices you’ve always followed are the same SEO best practices you want to continue to follow for voice search. Similar to how you would plan and optimise for specific keywords for search engines, you will need to do the same for voice search platforms. The only difference is that on top of your regular brand strategy, you will need to optimise your content to be more mobile oriented.

The thing is, users have access to the internet through everything from their phones, tablets and even watches. They expect instantaneous access to the internet and they want answers fast. In fact, 25% of 16 to 24-year-olds use voice search on their mobile devices and, of those searches, they are 3X more likely to be local-based than text. To begin optimising your content for mobile, begin by making your Meta descriptions more clear and concise. A majority of searches on mobile devices are done with only a couple of search terms, so be sure to include the keywords you’re optimising for in the Meta title and description.

A great example of voice technology in retail done right is with everyone’s favourite coffee maker: Starbucks! The company began to integrate voice technology into their mobile app so users could easily place their usual order while on-the-go. With a quick, “Alexa, place my usual Starbucks order,” you could have your Triple, Venti, Half-Sweet, Non-Fat, Caramel Macchiato without any complications! Make your brand more accessible through voice retail by keeping your content concise so your users can enjoy your products without having to wait in any lines.

Location Matters!

To take your brand strategy a step further with voice search, begin by ensuring that your business’ address is listed in your neighbourhood directory and in similar places online. You want to associate your geographical location with your business as much as possible because that’s how you leave your local digital imprint, and that’s how people will find your retail location with their voice.

You can do this through different ways. One of the simplest ways to promote local SEO is by including your address in all of your social media profiles. You can also register your brand on Google rel="noopener noreferrer" Business and Bing Places so your company shows up on Google Maps and Bing Maps.

Answer Their Questions

Keywords are still key to your voice search SEO. While incorporating them into your Meta descriptions are always a best practice, another great way to ensure you’re properly addressing your consumer’s inquiries is simply by answering their questions. For example, you can include a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page where you can incorporate long-tail keywords into your text and optimise for your target keywords. It’s a win-win because content is already in the perfect voice search format: a question followed by a conversational, descriptive answer.

A great example of a company that has integrated voice-enabled technology into their business is PayPal. PayPal’s application allows users to approve payments through voice tech with the help of Siri or Alexa. Users can prompt their digital assistants to do commands like check their balance, send money to a friend, or even request an amount from another user. Their site also features a clearly structured site map and yes, PayPal has a comprehensive FAQs page! Creating a clearly organised page with FAQa helps optimise your brand for voice-enabled features because, when users place related queries, there’s a higher chance your site has the answer.

Let’s Take a Second Look

As voice-enabled technologies become more established, more brands will optimise for voice SEO. Hopefully these tips gave you a better idea of what a voice assistant retail world looks like today and how to achieve those results for your own brand. Let’s take a look at those tips one more time:

  1. Use colloquial language in your Meta descriptions to make your content more accessible for voice search
  2. Shorten your content to optimise for mobile
  3. Geographic location matters — make sure your brand is closely associated to your geographical location to enhance your local SEO
  4. Create a FAQ page to optimise your website for long-tail keywords and phrases


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