Whether the target audience uses a Google Home, Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, or Amazon’s Alexa, content marketers need to keep pace with the developments and shifts in voice search to take full advantage of its opportunities and stay ahead of the competition.

Over the last six months, the reliance on voice search technology for shopping, ordering food, weather forecast, market research, packages tracking and temperature control has increased tremendously. The NPR and Edison Research reported approximately 65 million Americans owning smart speakers today. And the user base is only expected to grow, as Gartner predicts 30% of all searches will be done without a screen by 2020.

Firms need to understand the characteristics and differentiation of voice-driven search as compared to traditional text search. In content marketing, specifically, firms need to understand how consumers are leveraging this technology and how this can affect SEO ranking.

Because searches using voice technology are structured differently, there is a need to adjust the SEO keyword strategy accordingly to reach the audience.

SEO remains pivotal to the success of marketing efforts and voice content is no exception. Failing to update and optimize the content can hurt the brand just like forgoing these efforts on social. The voice optimization tips can help avoid ranking slumps and dismal ROIs that’ll upset the key stakeholders.

People tend to use longer phrases in their natural speech, so voice-optimized content should include long-tail keywords and conversational language. Voice search questions are almost three to five keywords long, if not longer, whereas the average traditional search comprises of just two keywords. Using specific question-oriented phrases—such as who, when, why, how, what, where, can, top, and best—in your keywords and natural language can help make the content heard by more audiences.

  A survey by Google confirms that 53% of mobile website visitors will leave if a page doesn’t load within three seconds. Page speed also affects bounce rate as slower the site higher the bounce rate. Voice optimization relies entirely on mobile optimization. Hence, firms need to remember that page speed is absolutely critical to engaging site visitors. Users wish that the website and pages get loaded quickly, if not instantaneously.

Additionally, research from BrightLocal states that 76% of smart speaker owners search for local businesses weekly, with 53% of them using these devices for daily searches. Considering these percentages, the criticality of content optimization for local SEO is confirmed.

One smart way to connect with your audience is to create FAQ pages, perfect for searching via voice.   Backlinko reports that FAQ pages come more often in the results for voice searches. Firms need to try to anticipate how specific and direct those questions might be. If firms can offer fast, concise answers to these kinds of questions, they will not only boost the voice rankings but also increase the chances of appearing in a Google Featured Snippet as well.

Voice technology is still relatively new on the scene and is continuously evolving. Further recommendations will inevitably crop up as this technology grows, and as more people bring voice-enabled devices into their daily lives. At its core, voice optimization will need firms to craft a solid SEO keyword strategy. Firms need to produce content that can quickly and easily answer the questions raised by consumers to engage with audiences through these devices.