We witness the ‘roaring 2020s’ of digital commerce – technologies have taken over and AI chatbots built on voice recognition technology are now used in a large part of consumers’ everyday lives.
Today we have different search options – through voice, visual search and the good old text search. For example Alexa or Siri and search for everything from the weather forecast to where to buy a good coffee. Or if you don’t like to talk, why don’t you just snap a picture of what you’ve liked? Visual search is highly important – it enables customers to quickly find what they’ve been searching for.
Text search will always be present but voice and visual search are changing the way eCommerce works. SEO is so much more now than just the words on a page – it’s all about natural speech and images we use.
Let’s see some of the most popular search variations today:
Voice Search In Practice
We have Alexa, Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant today that use voice search technology and voice recognition to control things at our homes without you having to do anything. They can turn on the lights, lower the blinds, and search the web for anything we need.
As per Statista, predictions are that the number of digital voice assistants will reach 8.4 billion units by 2024.
Voice Search is changing how people search as the input is your voice and it is quite different from a traditional search on the Internet.
Let’s say you’re looking to buy Zara dress – if you’re typing it into a search engine, you will probably use the phrase like ‘Zara dresses’, but with voice it is much more conversational ‘Hey Alexa, tell me where can I buy Zara dress’.
Some studies show that people are most likely to search for simple answers using voice – even voice messages became more prevalent as typing longer messages can be burdensome. Enabling consumers to use voice to search items in your store can be a key to new customer acquisition. If you want to get the most from voice traffic, make sure to have a strategy and follow-up with website visitors upon their search.
How to Prepare for Voice Search
There are many elements you should focus on like SEO and a quality user experience but adding an option of voice (or visual search) can be a game changer for your business.
There are some steps to check so that you can improve your voice search optimization:
- Target Long-Tail, Conversational Keywords – since the nature of voice search is conversational, long-tail keywords are crucial. Long-tail words are more specific, having lower traffic volume but also less competition. There are many online tools to help you but you can do it on your own – just imagine what would you ask when using voice search. When trying to analyze how many people visit your website from voice search, try to look for a few things like:
- If data shows a lot of conversational keywords, it is a good indication that those were made by voice
- Longer length of the queries may also indicate voice, since those are longer due to their conversational nature
- Reshape content – content is a crucial part of SEO so shape it to be more conversational. Having long-tail keywords in your FAQ section can be a good idea. You can also create blog posts in an interview style and instead of writing a post, you can make it more conversational by interview format. If you have a podcast, make sure you transcribe each episode and share it on your website.
- Improve Website Structure – structured data provides info to search engines for indexing.
- Make it suitable for more voice assistants – When customers use Google Assistant, they may also get search results from Google Shopping or search your business on Google My Business, so make sure you present on popular user platforms. You can try to build a skill for Alexa – for example, some retail stores have Alexa allowing customers to add products to their shopping lists and track orders. That way, you ensure an excellent user experience.
There are many devices that offer voice search but they do not work in the same way. Such a diversity means that not a single strategy can work, but a multi-faceted approach would be the best.
Users use voice search in eCommerce for things like:
- Online product sales
- Information about upcoming events
- Business or brand information
- Customer Service help
Optimizing eCommerce listings for voice search starts here:
- Voice search is longer and more conversational, so use long-tail keywords
- Use of keywords has to be included in products listings
- Make your website responsive since voice queries are never done in front of computers
- Build an FAQ page, the better FAQ now, the less customer enquiries later.
Visual Search In Practice
Visual search is present for a while and already making a significant impact on how consumers shop.
Visual search uses real images, including screenshots or images downloaded from the web as a trigger for an online search query.
Do not confuse Image Search with Visual Search – the first one uses speech or text input to find an image, while Visual inputs the image to learn details about it.
In eCommerce, industries like fashion and furniture have benefited the most from visual search. Those brands found new ways of suggesting theme or occasion-related products to a shopper who searched for similar items.
The most popular visual search engines today are Amazon, Pinterest and Google. The stats show that images play a central role in eCommerce consumer psychology and with the growing trend in the market, a rapid adoption of visual search engines (ViSE) will be seen in the ecommerce industry.
How to Prepare for Visual Search
Visual search is based on optimizing images to high-quality ones and displaying your products from every angle – for example, 3D rendering, look inside photos and videos etc..
Find below some common practices in visual search at the moment:
- Use platforms that already have visual search technology (e.g. Pinterest Lens, Google Lens etc.) to build your brand presence.
- Prior to sending your eCommerce website image sitemap to Google, make sure that every image on each page is familiar to Google.
- Include structured data as part of your SEO in your website and make sure that your product images contain structured data coding.
- Optimize images for the correct size along with accurate metadata.
Text Search in Practice
Text search is still the omnipresent form among all eCommerce search types.
However, the refinement level in text search technology has grown as algorithms of Google, Amazon etc. have become ‘smarter’. For this reason, your eCommerce text search strategy must keep pace with times.
If your search field is not placed properly or isn’t user-friendly, it may cost you losing your customers. You may add auto suggestion as an additional feature, suggesting consumers relevant results and reducing the typing process for them.
Google’s search engine makes suggestions even if a user types in nonsense keywords for example: ‘tlknbur’ which is not a word but the engine still manages to retrieve some suggestions as you can see in the image below.
Google servers are powerful and have the bandwidth to handle such queries but ecommerce ones cannot so it may be overkill for your ecommerce business at this stage.
When your customers type in one or more words into a search bar, your SEO strategy is what positions you in the search results.
How to Prepare for Text Search
Some key SEO for ecommerce includes:
- Find the right keywords and review them often
- Place keywords strategically in product titles, anchor text or listings
- Write detailed product descriptions with users in mind
In order to match consumers’ search and shopping habits, it is vital to have an ecommerce product search engine that can automatically and consistently optimize results based on context and needs.
For example, some of the vital features for an effective product search engine:
- Search previews
- Text query
- Real time search bar suggestions
- Geo-location detection
These search types for ecommerce can all be summed up to product data management. Your products need listings optimized for visual or voice search and every other search type on any of the popular platforms.
Product data management today is managing all data being text, voice syntax, related images or videos in optimized versions of each product listing for multiple marketing platforms.
Word for the Future
We can be certain of one thing – voice and visual search are going to grow in popularity as the technology becomes more widespread.
Those search types offer convenience to its users and the output results are getting more refined and accurate.
When eCommerce platforms provide exactly what users search for, they can improve their conversation metrics and activate engaging shopping. All taken into account, it ultimately boosts search-generated revenue while providing shoppers with a memorable user experience.