Before we get into tips on how to optimize product listings for voice search, let’s take a quick look at why it’s essential to do it starting now.
By 2019, it was estimated that there were 3.25 billion digital voice assistants in use on devices around the world, according to a Juniper Research study published by Statista.
By 2023, that number could reach eight billion units, which is more than the world’s current population. (This is because Juniper counts the multiple number of devices that many individuals may own themselves (smartphone, smart speaker, tablet, TV, etc.).
Virtual assistants have become a key component for smart devices manufactured today. Voice dialogs between machines and humans will be integral to the way that consumers interact with their devices.
But, smart devices are still in their early learning years when it comes to voice searches, and it is up to businesses to do the optimizations on their own sites to make voice assistants smarter about search results.
Voice search keywords have a longer tail than text queries, which tend to contain a short set of disconnected words. It’s the difference between “Nike cross trainers womens” vs “best Nike shoes for women who do cross-training.” Smart e-commerce merchants will begin building search strategies that account for this key difference with natural voice queries.
How to optimize product pages for voice searches
1. Structure content for natural voice queries with longer tails.
Voice search is a lot more conversational than traditional searches. To optimize product pages and storefronts for voice searches, you must take a hard look at the structure of your existing content and how it’s using keywords now, then make adjustments.
Include Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQs) on your product pages and blogs. This is a more natural place to include full-length questions and answers than on your storefront. The FAQ-style format makes it easy for Google to pull content from your website and display it as a featured snippet.
Aim for about 29 words in the answer, which is the optimal length, and you’ll be rewarded because you’ve made the crawler’s job easier. Instead of having to construct its own sentence, the voice assistant will borrow yours.
Another voice search best practice to improve ranking is to use bullet points to break your content into smaller fragments. that can be extracted for snippets.
2. Provide text for Featured Snippets and Rich Answers
Smart devices are looking to answer longer queries with full-length sentences, so when they discover one – as in a Featured Snippet – they will prefer to snag that one and use it for their spoken answer.
A SEMrush voice search study found that 60% of those returning at the top of a SERP were a Featured Snippet result.
Featured Snippets- Coming from third-party sources, Google displays this information on top of organic results (and above the ad) with attribution to the original source; this is done to provide users with quick and concise answers.
Here’s one example of a Featured Snippet:
Rich Answers – Rich answers display full-sentence responses to a query, as opposed to a metadescription and link to where the keywords were located.
Google uses three major categories for Rich Answers. These include:
- Featured Snippets: These are results from third-party websites (such as, hopefully, yours) that appear at the top of the web search results, after sponsored ads but before the list of organic results.
- Answers provided by Google: This comes from the public domain, and sometimes from licensed data. These are also shown at the top of the web search results.
- Basic Snippets: Often, these appear within the regular web search results. Use of strucured data through Schema will automatically add these types of enhancements to your search listings. (See “Use Structured Data,” below.)
To provide the best user experience these days, Google mostly displays rich answers to questions, a trend that’s on a steep rise with the advent of voice shopping.
3. Use Conversational Language for Content
We can benefit hugely from using natural language in whatever we write and publish on the web. When using natural, conversational language, there is a lot of scope for matching the way verbal queries are phrased.
Write content that you would speak yourself, rather than the words of a query you might type in a search bar. When you write user-intent content, your words should be taking on the shape and form of someone asking a question out loud. When queries begin with What, Where, Which, When, or How, those are good words to include in your keyword phrases. This helps Google crawl the content and return it as a top voice response to the query.
4. Improve your content’s readability
Writing good, readable content is pretty much a basic must, but not all of us are great writers, so it might require some practice or help from hired writing talent. It’s worth the extra time and effort though, because precise writing at a standard readability level helps in ranking our content.
A ranking of around 8 on the Flesch Kincaid grade level scale is recommended following a voice search study, so make that your goal. It’s about what you’d need to read the Harry Potter books. Avoid technical jargon and use simple, natural language.
5. Use Structured Data
Structured data helps Google to better understand your content. It consists of a code that’s added to HTML markup and gives you better control over how your content will end up being returned in the search results. It helps you show up in featured snippets and increases the click-through-rate to your website. As your content starts showing up in featured snippets, your ranking for voice search will also increase.
Visit schema.org to understand how to implement the schema tag or structured data on your site. It’s easier to create than you might think.
6. Speed up your website’s load time
Optimizing your product page or storefront loading speed is essential if you want to win high rankings in voice search. Begin by analyzing your current page speed and look for the reasons that are slowing down your site. Implement proper strategies to improve page speed. Examples include:
- optimizing the webpages,
- reducing the number of redirects,
- optimizing images, and
- trying to improve the server response time
These changes will help speed up your site’s load time, thereby enhancing your chances of appearing in the voice search results.
Take advantage of Shoppingfeed’s ProductGraph technology, designed for optimized voice searches.
Our future-oriented engineering team at Shoppingfeed began work on developing the product graphing system in 2018, because we knew the day was near when machine learning would need to interpret the human voice when the query is about shopping for merchandise and not just weather reports, restaurants or recipes.
The ProductGraph was first deployed near the end of 2019, and is now integrated within the feeds of all Shoppingfeed enterprise customers. Its rich data and fluid product tagging capture the way humans speak and can interpret the context for what a shopper is seeking when they speak their question. There is no other technology like this currently in our industry.