Voice Search: Three Ways to Future-proof your Shopify Store

"Hey Siri, how do I prepare my online shop for voice search?"

The increasing use of voice assistants such as Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri and the Google Assistant indicates that the so-called voice assistants are no longer a novelty and certainly not something that will go away any time soon.

Around 85% of online shoppers currently have at least one device with a voice assistant. Google is even giving them away with Youtube Music subscriptions.

Online shopping via a language assistant is still in its infancy around the world, however. 

In 2018, only 21% of mobile device owners used voice search or other voice functions. Google estimates that by 2022 half of all search queries will be made via voice. 

Voice search is expected to get bigger, both in absolute numbers and as a proportion of overall searches, similarly to what we experienced with mobile in the last 10 years. And this has massive SEO implications for ecommerce.

There will be a massive opportunity for all online retailers. Retailers that are early in voice will have a clear competitive advantage versus the followers.

So where do we start?

Optimize for questions

Text searches are usually worded as an affirmation: ‘opticians in Dublin’, ‘italian restaurants in London’, you get it. 

However, in voice, queries are worded as questions: ‘hey Siri, what’s the nearest supermarket’, ‘Ok Google, where can I buy candles?’

When optimizing your site for voice questions, structure your content (blog posts, about us ...) so that it contains both questions (that may be asked) and the answers to those questions. 

For optimal results, pay attention to so-called "trigger words" for voice search and integrate them into your content. According to SEOClarity, these "trigger words" include "what", "where" and "best". 

This not only helps you be found for voice search queries, but also increases your chances of landing a particular snippet spot.

Your Target: zero position featured snippets

If you get the Google snippet spot (also called position zero) in the search results, you have achieved an optimal starting position for voice search queries. 

These snippet spots are a driving factor in voice search. Google regards the snippet highly 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 voice search request, the snippet and the page or shop behind it are what the Google Assistant and Siri read to their users.

Amazon's Alexa works differently. Alexa only delivers Amazon results and disregards general web searches.

You can start by structuring your content so that it answers frequently asked queries about the target topic. In addition to the brief summary of the question and answering the question on the landing page, you should integrate relevant keywords into the URL, title and H1 tag of your page.

Use natural language

When people use voice search, they mostly use the language they would use in real life and in dealing with people. 

Typing takes more time, therefore people tend to use less natural language. 

Data from Google support this. According to the search engine, almost 70% of the requests to the Google Assistant are expressed in natural language. 

For this reason, there is a premium on long-tail keywords.

What does this mean for you as a shop owner? For beginners, this means identifying the exact long-tail searches your customers are using. 

A very effective way to find natural and conversation-related keywords is to find out how your customers interact and communicate with each other online, as well as what they tell your employees.

About The Author

Nicolas Derico leads Marketing at Wayflyer, which helps founders scale DTC eCommerce brands by providing them with the funding and marketing insights they need to grow faster.