As stated in the OC&C Strategy Consultants report, the total amount of money spent on shopping via a voice assistant will increase by up to $40 billion in 2022. There are 2 main reasons for this: the increasing mobile traffic and the growth of smart speaker devices sales. At the beginning of 2019, the mobile share of the retail traffic was around 64% according to Statista research. This shows us a growing trend for shopping on the go and, as a result, the rising popularity of the use of voice search. These changes primarily affect online store navigation and SEO. Thus, Google already uses mobile-first indexing.
Let’s see why optimizing your M2 for mobile search is important and how you can make this.
Why consider adding voice search to your Magento 2?
According to the official Google data, voice search is now used by 41% of grown-up people and by 55% of teenagers in the US.
Where does the popularity of the voice search come from?
There are some categories of people who would prefer to use voice search instead of text:
- people who have physical disabilities. It’s impossible or hard for them to type a search request;
- people who are with cognitive and learning disabilities;
- people who are unable to use the keyboard or mouse because of temporary limitations. For example, they have a broken arm.
Everyone can enter information, give a command to the device, etc. much faster by using voice search than doing it manually.
It doesn’t matter where you are or what you are doing at the moment. Voice search is available for your users on-the-go.
Moreover, you need to take into account that smart speakers have AI that analyzes the previous shopping experience of your visitors and offers results according to their preferences. What does it look like? Say, you have a Magento 2 store with pet products. AI learns that your customer with some IP needs to buy new packs of dog food every month, so it will remind them to add one to the shopping cart. The emergence of new technologies makes the competition among vendors even more intense.
How does voice search influence Magento 2 shopping process?
Voice search has a direct impact on e-commerce -- around 36% of people who own smart speaker devices such as Google Home or Alexa use the voice search to order online. And we believe projections, this number will increase by up to 55% in the next 2 years.
With the help of voice, visitors now complete the customer shopping journeys from the landing page to the checkout without using the website navigation. They can control every step with the voice: search, comparison, placing an order, etc.
Why is it so popular among users? It’s all about time and convenience, the average typing speed is around 30 words per minute, but a voice search can process about 100 words per minute, how about that?
As a result, proactive Magento 2 merchants are already adding voice search features to their e-shops so as not to lose potential and current visitors.
How does voice search affect Magento 2 SEO? How to optimize your website to voice search?
Due to the difference in the length and format of keywords entered by voice and text, different sites can be displayed in the first lines of SERPs.
We give you 5 tips on how you can optimize your e-commerce site for voice search.
Tip 1. Mobile optimization
According to Statista forecast, the global share of mobile sales in e-commerce will reach 70% of the total sales in 2020. And Google reports that 27% of users around the globe are using voice search on mobile devices. In addition to this, Google uses the mobile-first indexing approach, which makes mobile optimization the number one step to take if you want to keep your Magento 2 store at the top of the voice search results.
- Develop a mobile version of your store;
- Test your mobile speed loading and make improvements if needed;
- Test your design for UX. All pages should be convenient for your users;
- Synchronize desktop and mobile responses, for example, make sure that redirects are configured the same way for both the mobile and desktop versions;
- Check your sitemap and make sure that all mobile pages are included, and Googlebot sees them (crawls and indexes);
- Ensure that your desktop content and metadata are the same for mobile devices;
- Run the speed tests once again to make sure all the changes you’ve introduced haven’t affected it.
We also recommend considering the use of PWA technology or AMP extension to create lightweight mobile pages for your website. AMP pages are 85% faster than non-AMP ones. Our extension allows you to create AMP versions for any CMS page.
Tip 2. Get to Google zero blocks
Being placed on a zero position means that Google rates your answer as the best and it will be read out to voice searchers:
This block was created to let users see the answer without clicking the website link, thus, saving Google resources for indexing millions of pages.
Here are a couple of tips on how to get to zero positions:
- use info keywords and requests that already have zero blocks;
- include the main keyword in the question you want to answer;
- write a relevant and short answer to this question using lists and bullets.
Tip 3. Choose a semantic strategy over a keyword
Since Google started using Google Hummingbird, the context and long-tail keywords became more valuable for ranking higher in search results. This algorithm emphasizes the natural language and is aimed at making online interactions more human. Most SEO specialists agree that following strict rules of keywords usage, in particular, if we are talking about voice search, is irrational and outdated. You need to think about visitors' needs instead and think about the task the content should solve.
If we talk about vice search queries, they are longer than text ones and often include question words like “how”, “why”, “where”, etc. This makes prioritizing a semantic strategy even more logical.
Tip 4. Speed optimization
More than 50% of customers will leave your site if it loads more than 3 seconds. And in case of voice search, they are expecting to get results even faster. We’ve written a lot of articles about speed optimization and what you need to rank higher in Google, here are the must-haves:
- Test your website in the Google PageSpeed Insight to understand the current situation;
- Analyze the results - the list of issues and use the recommendations to introduce speed improvements;
- Pass the speed test again to make sure the changes have a positive effect.
Usually, Google recommends resizing images, deferring offscreen images, minifying CSS and JS files, etc. For all these tasks, you can use one tool - Google Page Speed Optimizer:
- this module optimizes JS, CSS, HTML code;
- resizes pictures for mobiles without quality loss;
- offers lazy loading to browse JS files by demand.
Learn how this plugin improves your score in Google PageSpeed Insight and check our webinar to see all the features in action.
Useful hacks for M2 speed optimization:
- start with the beginners guide on how to improve Magento 2 loading speed;
- see how to leverage browser caching.
Tip 5. Structure your site according to a new customer journey map (CJM)
Consider the behavior of voice searchers and analyze the new sales funnel when planning steps towards conversions increase. See the difference between voice and text searches.
Analyzing the voice purchase funnel will help you find out how shoppers come to a product page and what actions take before placing an order, at what step users leave the site without completing the purchase and why. Without building the new CJM you won’t learn the best way to convert them.
Note: Find out how to increase conversions extending your M2 functionality - see the infographic about 30 must-have M2 features.
To sum up
- Over 110 million people use voice search every day;
- 27% of mobile users around the globe now use voice search;
- The mobile share of the e-commerce traffic is around 65-70%;
- Voice search changes SEO approaches. Thus, voice search requests have longer keyword tails and question words;
- Google uses the mobile-first indexing, Google Hummingbird, and zero blocks to enhance UX;
- You need to build a voice search purchase funnel to analyze how it influences usual customers' behavior and optimize the steps to convert more users into customers.