How to Optimize Voice Search for Alexa

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By Boris Dzhingarov

Amazon Alexa is the smallest of the major voice assistants in terms of the number of users. However, the Echo accounted for 67% of all smart speaker sales in 2019. It is widely regarded as one of the best smart speakers out there, while Alexa is a capable voice assistant. Amazon does not have the same reach that Apple and Google do, but the Alexa app was one of the most downloaded free apps on Android and iOS last year.

Since the earliest iterations of voice to text on smartphones, we have been slowly moving towards a world where voice search is the primary method of searching the internet. For users, voice search is just more convenient and easier. Instead of formulating queries for search engines, people can ask their devices questions in the same manner they would with another person.

Amazon Alexa can perform more than 70,000 actions, which include interactions with services like Yelp, Uber, Lyft, and Spotify. Businesses don’t need to optimize for every single one of these. You can do several things to optimize your website and make it more likely to appeal in search results for voice searches made through Alexa.

Provide Comprehensive Product Pages

Amazon prioritizes products that are marked as Amazon’s Choice on their store when processing a voice search query. There are several criteria Amazon uses to determine which products are nominated as Amazon’s Choice. These metrics include the popularity of the product, its pricing relative to its competitors, the rate at which buyers return the product, and whether it is available through prime shipping or not. If a product is not marked as Amazon’s Choice, it is very unlikely that Alexa will ever suggest it to a user. However, that doesn’t mean that your product has to stay hidden entirely.

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If your products are not an Amazon’s Choice, it’s difficult for you to rank for transactional intent. This means that users will not be able to order your product directly through the Echo devices. However, you can still optimize your product page so that Amazon gives it high billing in the search results list.

Bing powers Amazon’s internet search. This means that if you optimize your website for Bing, you will also optimize for Alexa simultaneously. A link to your business in the search engine results pages might not produce transactions instantly; however, it will increase awareness of your brand and could lead to sales further down the line.

Conduct Specific Keyword Research

Keyword research has always been important for digital marketers, but before the advent of voice search, it was a relatively straightforward process. Now that voice search is becoming more common, digital marketers and website owners have had to adapt to a new set of rules.

Most people do not speak the same way that they type. As a result, users searching with their voice will use subtly different queries to users that are typing their searches.

The easiest way of identifying which phrases to target for your voice search optimization is to look to previous campaigns and the search queries that brought users to your website. Google makes it easy for you to export a report that contains this information if you want it.

It is also worth creating a list of negative keywords that you don’t want your website to appear for. For example, if your business sells high-end electronics, you may well want to avoid appearing in searches for terms like discount electronics, bargain electronics, or cheap electronics. This ensures that your business is not presented to searchers who are looking for something else entirely.

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Get Your Products on Prime

If you want users to be able to order your product directly through their Alexa enabled devices, they will have to be available through Amazon Prime. Alexa will never automatically recommend a product to a user that cannot be delivered via Amazon Prime.

Numerous Amazon sellers have taken advantage of the retailers fulfilled by Amazon program. Under this program, sellers send their stock to Amazon, who stores it in their warehouses. When a customer orders the product, it is shipped from the Amazon warehouse by Amazon. This program enables ordinary sellers to ship their products to consumers through Amazon Prime.

However, the fulfilled by Amazon program is not without its issues. For one thing, Amazon is currently experiencing a severe excess of warehouse stock. This excess has led Amazon to institute much steeper fees for storing inventory in its warehouses. If inventory stays in the warehouse for more than 12 months, additional charges will need to be paid. These additional fees can be significant for smaller merchants.

Note that many items, mostly those that are large, expensive, or difficult to ship, might be unsuitable for the FBA program. It is still possible for sellers unable to take advantage of the FBA program to have their products marked with the Prime badge, although the requirements for doing so are very stringent.

The Seller-Fulfilled Prime program is ideal for sellers who have access to the necessary infrastructure to ship products for next-day delivery from their location. Make sure that you understand the company’s shipping policies and guidelines. You will need to adhere to these if you want to remain in Amazon’s good books.

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Manage Product Reviews Proactively

The reviews that customers leave on your products have a big impact on how Amazon views them. If your ultimate goal is to attain that coveted Amazon’s Choice status so customers can order your products directly through Alexa, your product reviews will be critical.

Amazon sellers can take advantage of several services that will automatically send follow-up emails to their customers. If customers are happy with their purchase, the emails will ask them to leave a positive review. If they are unhappy, they will be directed to your customer care department.

Voice search is here to stay. Whether you use it or not, you can’t help but have noticed that other people around you are. With voice search becoming more common, businesses can’t afford to ignore it any longer. Ideally, you want to optimize for each voice assistant – don’t just focus on one.