With an increasing number of digital devices becoming voice-enabled, it has never been more critical for business owners to understand the impact of voice search on the future of their companies. From voice-enabled vehicles to voice-activated home and office assistants, voice technology is everywhere. Consumers are becoming accustomed to using voice to find answers to their queries instead of typing their questions into a smartphone or laptop computer. Savvy business owners who get out ahead of the shift to voice computing will be able to build a substantial lead over their less-savvy competitors. If you’re a business owner, who doesn’t want to get left behind as voice technology takes over, here are five voice facts you need to understand in 2018.

21st Century SEO

Voice search is increasingly getting used on mobile devices and digital home assistants. Businesses revamping their websites to become voice responsive will be ahead of competitors solely relying on old-school SEO (search engine optimization). My company recently launched two voice apps on Amazon’s Alexa platform. Not only are we prepared for the future of technological advancements we are also benefiting from the public relations value associated with producing future innovations (profoundly impacting our brand’s SEO).

New Search Capabilities

Long-tail keyword phrases are essential for voice SEO. Consumers speak their queries differently than they type them into a digital interface. Consider the types of questions consumers ask when looking for your business and use those answers to guide your voice SEO strategy.

Growing Voice Enabled Device Adoption

As digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home gain in popularity, an increasing number of users will complete online searches without a screen. Brands understanding the switch to screen-less searches will be able to optimize their SEO for this dramatic change.

SEO Driven

Basic SEO won’t be enough to rank your business in a voice-enabled future. Brands will need to double-down on highly informative content that answers the needs of searchers if they hope to win at search engine optimization. Savvy brand marketers should already be upping their content creation efforts and focusing on creating educational content that serves the needs of those who perform voice searches.

Targeting Future Generations

Teens use voice search more than adults do. If you are targeting a younger demographic as a business builder, optimizing your online marketing for voice search is no longer optional. Understand the search preferences of your target audience and the types of questions they’ll speak into their digital devices (where, how, when, etc.), and you’ll increase your chances of being found by consumers.

Voice SEO isn’t going away. Today’s executives can’t bury their heads in the proverbial sand and hope voice search is just a passing trend. The time is now to optimize your online presence for voice SEO; wait any longer, and it may be too late to catch up to your voice-savvy competitors.

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Jeff Shuford is a nationally syndicated columnist, award-winning technology expert, and a decorated Iraq War Veteran. Shuford became one of the youngest nationally syndicated writers in America at age 30 and contributes articles that reach 1.4 million newspaper subscribers in 44 regions weekly. A regular contributor to Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Huffington Post, Shuford's passion for producing captivating content extends far past his columns in prestigious publications. Shuford's Forbes article titled “Nine Unique Ways To Brand Yourself As A Thought Leader,” was named by LinkedIn Business as one of the Top 10 Most Popular Articles Among Recruiters in 2017. In addition to Shuford's LinkedIn Business honor, his piece was also named as an Editors Pick and the most viewed and shared article from the Forbes Coaches Council of 2017. Bestowed the Community of Heroes Award by the DAV, Shuford's innovative leadership and passion for helping veterans led his company also to be named the Best Veteran Tech Startup of 2016 by The Huffington Post. In addition to that honor, the Huffington Post later named Shuford number one on the list of the Top 5 Emerging Veteran Tech Founders of 2017. Shuford's dedication to STEM is evident in his technological achievements. Shuford also recently led his technology company to win a 2017 BizTech Award presented by The Jacksonville Business Journal for their work developing, deploying, and successfully marketing the self-funded Vets 22 app. Considered an expert thought leader and influencer in public relations Shuford has also positioned his brands to be featured in publications such as Sports Illustrated, Forbes Sports Money, NFL Network, The Jacksonville Business Journal, The Huffington Post, ForbesCouncils, WJCT, WJXT, and Entrepreneur Magazine among others. Shuford served with the U.S. Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-07 and earned a Combat Action Badge for his heroic efforts at age 19.