VOICE SEARCH POPULARITY AND OPTIMIZATION

Voice search has increasingly become popular as most people feel that it is more convenient to explain what they need in a search through voice compared to typing. Analysis from Google shows that 55% of teens and 41% of adults use voice search daily with 20% of all mobile queries being done using voice. It is estimated that by 2020, 50% of all search and queries will be done on voice. The following are the main drivers to voice search gaining popularity:

1. Voice search is more convenient compared to typing since it’s easy to make queries by voice compared to typing.
2. According to Bing, Doing searches through voice is 3.7 times faster compared to typing.
3. Voice is convenient and perfect for mobile searches since it’s less convenient while typing in mobile phones. 

Voice search differs a lot compared to a general search that involves typing. Such is caused by voice search involving using speech to make queries online which eventually leads to the user having a conversation with the system compared to the regular search which involves typing short keywords describing the queries of the users. Voice search accommodates more details in the search compared to regular search. 

It is therefore essential to use specific search engine optimization for voice search, which is different from the SEO of regular search. Several points may be evaluated to ensure that voice search is optimized for rankings. Firstly, it is necessary to ensure that the website loads quickly since voice search favors sites that load quickly. It is, therefore, essential to ensure that files are compressed, images are optimized, and the website is responsive. Secondly,  It is necessary to ensure that content is optimized for web search where long tail keywords which make it sound more natural while talking as opposed to the short tail keywords that are used while typing. It is equally necessary to include the featured blocks of the content above the fold but under 29 words. Finally, it is necessary to concentrate on local searches as location-based content is mostly conducted using voice search.

USE OF CHATBOTS IN E-COMMERCE 

Electronic commerce has become an essential method of shopping on the internet. Such has been caused by more people continuing to trust in the process of undertaking their shopping activities online, which leads to the increased popularity in e-commerce. This has led to more e-commerce sites experiencing increased sales with competition among various e-commerce sites and user-sale conversion being a significant factor in determining the number of transactions that a website makes. 

Use of chatbots in e-commerce helps e-commerce sites in managing the conversation between prospective customers of an e-commerce site, thus helping in converting the user into an actual customer of the website. A chatbots is a program that uses artificial intelligence to carry out conversations through textual and auditory methods. They are mostly used to offer customer information services, acquiring information from the customers and generating leads to the site that may be used in optimizing its user conversion to customers. The following are potential applications off chatbots in e-commerce:

1. Getting detailed answers and explanations of products on an e-commerce site.
2. It is helping in resolving issues and complaints that may arise during the purchase of a product.
3. Making reservations on orders
4. Getting ideas and inspirations for products that may be purchased.

There are several benefits that e-commerce sites get from using chatbots. These include saving time and cost that would have been used when a person would have taken during customer care.  Chatbots also play an essential role in converting site visitors to sales since they are readily available to provide customers with information on any inquiries. Such information is also analyzed by the chatbots to formulate meaningful insights to be used in concert more e-commerce sales. Other benefits include guiding the users on products and how to navigate through the site, providing 24-hour chatbots services, customer engagement, reduction of errors when customers are making orders thus ensuring that customers are satisfied after shopping in an e-commerce website. 

 

Use HTML Caching to Increase Page Speed
Heavy traffic to a website can result in performance problems, slower page speed, and fewer conversions.
Note the screenshot below from Macy’s. It shows the effect of Macys.com not caching the HTML of the home page in its content delivery network. This adds one second of page load time. Every other page resource will load after the HTML content is downloaded and parsed. The page took 16.84 seconds to load, which is slow.
The Gap launched a new website that caches HTML content in its CDN. The HTML request now adds just 78.91 milliseconds — the home page loads in 3.60 seconds, which is much better than the 15 to 20 seconds it took in March.
Caching HTML content on ecommerce websites — and dynamic websites in general — is tricky. It doesn’t happen by default in a CDN. Most normally cache just static page resources such as images, style sheets, and scripts.
Dynamic vs. Static Content
For sites with static page content — i.e., not personalized in any way — page caching creates no problems. But for sites with dynamic content that changes among users, caching HTML content could create errors.
For example, a visitor that adds products to his shopping cart changes the content on all pages to show the number of items in the cart. If an ecommerce merchant cached the pages of this user, other users would see an inaccurate number of items in their cart. This concept applies to any type of personalization.
There are at least two solutions to the problem.
  • Implement web page personalization in separate JavaScript files and don’t cache them, or cache them for a short period.
  • Cache HTML only for anonymous users — users that are not logged in or haven’t added any products to their cart.
Personalization in Scripts
The first option, implementing personalization in separate JavaScript files, is what The Gap is doing.
The Gap uses scripts for user personalization so it can still cache the page’s HTML.
(To confirm The Gap’s approach, I disabled JavaScript in my Chrome browser at View > Developer > Developer Tools. Then, I clicked on the three dots to the far right, and selected “Settings.” “Disable JavaScript” is under the “Debugger” preference.)
Implementing user personalization in scripts allows caching of the page’s HTML. Then the scripts can modify the page after loading asynchronously.
Beyond using JavaScript for personalization, The Gap is caching HTML. How do I know this? Gap.com sets the standard HTTP caching header — x-cache-status — to report the status of cache resources. In the image below, the caching status of home page’s HTML says “EXPIRED.”
The documentation for Nginx (Gap.com’s server) states that EXPIRED means: “The entry in the cache has expired. The response contains fresh content from the origin server.”

 

After refreshing the page, the x-cache-status changed to HIT.
Anonymous Users
The Gap launched a new website that utilized the latest technologies. If, however, you need to cache HTML on an existing ecommerce platform, the anonymous user option might work better.
This technique is known as “punching a hole” in the cache. It works in the following way.
The web server or CDN will cache every page but avoids caching any request that meets exclusion criteria. The most common is a session cookie that the application sets when users log in or add items to the cart. The cookie is necessary to track each user individually.
Here are some sample session cookies for popular ecommerce and content platforms.
Platform
Session Cookies (Wildcards * Mean Any Character)
WooCommerce
wp-.*|wordpress.*|comment_.*|woocommerce_.*
WordPress
wp-.*|wordpress.*|comment_.*
Magento 1
external_no_cache|PHPSESSID|adminhtml
Magento 2
admin| PHPSESSID|private_content_version
Drupal
SESS.*|phpsessid
Again, these are cookies for users that have personalized content — such as those that log in or add items to their carts. Excluding their pages from the cache will not benefit them in terms of faster page speed. But they are likely a small percentage of total visitors. The rest will experience fast-loading pages.
Assume your site’s web server is Nginx, and Magento 2 powers your store. Here is the configuration setting to enable caching for anonymous users.
location /{ proxy_cache my_cache; proxy_cache_bypass $cookie_admin $cookie_PHPSESSID $cookie_private_content_version; # … }
Enabling this on a web server or load balancer will increase performance. But the greatest benefit would come from implementing this on the CDN layer.
Here is how to do this for popular CDNs. Be sure to confirm with the CDN, however.
Finally, for some sites it is not possible to find cookies to bypass. In those instances, we can explicitly cache key pages such as the home page, primary category pages, product listing pages, and product detail pages. A disadvantage of this approach is that the rules must be updated for new pages and categories.