One decade after Google launched the Voice Search app for the iPhone, continued advances in artificial intelligence and voice recognition technology have ushered in a voice search revolution.

Ten years on, the ascendance of voice search has marketers across sectors scrambling to pinpoint and implement the right strategies for capitalising on its potential. And there’s potential galore; Voice searches already account for more than one billion searches each month, per Alpine.AI’s most recent statistics, and by 2020, half of all searches will be voice searches, ComScore projects.

While such figures underscore the pressing need for marketers to adapt, the question of how to do so effectively has proven a vexing one. For affiliate marketers, long-tail keywords are an indispensable piece of the puzzle. By successfully leveraging these three- to four-keyword phrases, you will significantly increase your content’s visibility, widen your reach with target audiences, and maximise your SEO strategy’s impact. Here’s how:

Step 1: Take a deep dive into your target audiences

It’s one thing to know who you want to reach. But how much do you actually know about your target audiences – their online behaviour, their search habits, their expectations, their receptiveness to different messages…

Search engines and competitor site statistics offer a treasure trove of data providing answers to such questions. To create truly impactful campaigns, marketers should harness this data to develop a fuller understanding of what exactly their target audiences are looking for, and which long-tail keywords they are likely to use when searching by voice.

Step 2: Predict

Think about how your audiences speak in everyday conversations – because that’s how they’ll be conducting their voice searches. By anticipating conversational voice tones and specific questions your audiences have, you can turn them into long-tail keywords that will direct them toward the content they’re looking for while boosting your SEO rankings – a win-win.

Consider a consumer seeking a prime hotel deal. In a text query, she may well type “best hotel deals,” but in a face-to-face conversation, she would not say this out loud. Instead, she’d be more likely to say something like, “Find me the best hotel deals.” Marketers who most accurately predict conversational voice patterns will better position themselves both in search rankings and, not coincidentally, to win over the consumer.

Step 3: Plan for micro-moments

When it comes to voice search, long-tail keywords define micro-moments – short windows of opportunity when consumers are ready to act. These searches also define consumer intent. For instance, a consumer who voice-searches “Find the best Thai restaurants near me” is expressing more urgency and explicit intent than one who types a query for “best Thai restaurants New York”. In the former case, you have a consumer who wants a delectable drunken noodle and doesn’t want to travel far to enjoy it.

While we know that the text searcher is interested in quality Thai fare, it’s less clear when he wants it, and he’s not restricting his search to any particular neighbourhood.  Amid mobile-centricity and the rise of voice search, the importance of micro-moments has been magnified. With users increasingly demanding instant, relevant, and personalised results, it’s more important than ever to develop your content with these moments top of mind.

Step 4: Think local

Research shows that voice search queries are overwhelmingly local. Indeed, they’re about three times more likely to be locally-related than text searches, which is hardly surprising given that voice searches are taking place on mobile devices.

With “near me” searches soaring on Google, marketers should plan accordingly. Optimise your website for long-tail keywords that answer questions specific to an immediate area.

Seizing the voice search opportunity

As voice recognition technology becomes increasingly sophisticated and more consumers discover voice search utility as a means of delivering the instant, tailored results they crave, voice search is poised for significant growth in the coming years. While the voice search market is likely to expand and develop in ways we cannot currently foresee, the difference between marketers who latch onto voice search and those who ignore its importance will mark the divide between those who are positioned for success and those who are left in the dust.

Just as the rise of Google compelled businesses to integrate SEO into their marketing strategies, the growing prevalence of voice search demands meticulous attention to voice SEO.

And though Siri may not be able to find your target audiences for you, the smart leveraging of long-tail keywords will help bring consumers your way.