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PREPARING FOR THE IMPACT OF VOICE TECHNOLOGY: FIVE ACTIONS TO TAKE TODAY

By 2020, 30% of all web browsing sessions will be done without using a screen. Voice-activated digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa Google Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana now enable us to use speech as the primary web interface to search the web and get answers to everyday questions.

“50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020” according to comScore. In a single day you may use voice technology to find the nearest coffee shop, to ask Siri to find a date in history, to request music be played when you walk in the door, to add an item to your shopping list, and to turn on and off lights in your home.

Despite the prevalence of voice technology in our everyday lives – many Associations have not prepared for the impact this technology will have on their organizations.

After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars building beautiful and intuitive interfaces for the web & mobile what happens when possibly 1/3 of your users will never interact with those interfaces?

Here are some things you can do today to keep ahead of the voice revolution:

Make sure your website CMS is implemented using structured content
Structuring your content means separating your content into independent parts in order to better control where the content is published. The independent parts are often labeled "fields" in the context of a Content Management System, but are commonly called "chunks" by content strategists. By structuring your content and maintaining a separation between content and presentation, it is easy to pick and choose content elements to use reuse and repurpose for different devices.

Write content in a natural conversational tone
Unlike a typed search query, spoken voice searches are usually conversational and reflect how people speak in everyday life. Think about the types of questions that customers ask you. Start documenting the exact words they use when they talk to you. Use that information to revise your keyword strategy so that it targets long-tail, conversational keywords and phrases. Use these longer phrases in your organic and paid SEO.

Bring back the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages
Using the research you did to better understand the questions and phrases your customers are asking in a more natural-sounding way, create FAQ pages that focus on those long-tail conversational keyword phrases. You will want to group common questions on separate pages and remember how important it is to keep your answers succinct!

Claim and update your Google My Business listing
Keep in mind that voice search right now is typically mobile and often locally focused. Make sure your Google My Business listing is claimed and up-to-date. This is particularly important for retail establishments who are impacted by “near me” searches. Claim and optimize your Google My Business listing.

Enable AdWords’ location extension Adwords location extension enables you to have your business’ address, phone number, and directions to your business displayed alongside your ads.