Google announces new features that push content marketers to anticipate customers' questions and continue conversations past the search bar.

Google is on an endless pursuit to make users’ search experiences as productive and enjoyable as possible, so it continuously updates its algorithms and adds new features that generate better results queries. The Google Inside Search Blog recently introduced the “OK Google” feature, which could force brands to change their SEO strategies so their online content anticipates and answers users’ questions.

Instead of typing queries into Google’s search bar, internet users can say “OK Google” to open an application, which is similar Siri on Apple iPhones. The Google voice search option is available on desktop computers through Chrome.

“People communicate with each other by conversation, not by typing keywords – and we’ve been hard at work to make Google understand and answer your questions more like people do,” the blog states.

Questions are key

As this feature rolls out, marketers will need to make their content writing customer centric. Rather than building a keyword strategy around internal goals, brands must position their web content around questions that direct users to their sites.

“People communicate with each other by conversation, not by typing keywords”

For instance, a company that makes electronic health records software might target search terms like “EHR software” and longtail keywords like “EHR software for pediatricians.” In the future, Google might look for sites that include terms such as “Which EHR program is best for pediatrician’s offices?”

In a recent Google Webmaster Help channel video, Search Engineer Matt Cutts asserted the importance of considering users’ questions when creating news or blog content. Cutts said brands that fail to use the words on their pages to answer search queries are missing out on SEO opportunities.

Cross-channel content marketing

Google says this is just the beginning of a series of features that aim to start conversations with internet users and carry them across multiple screens. The search engine wants to give people answers with context through its Knowledge Graph feature, which shows how answers have changed over time. It also plans to deliver answers sooner – even preemptively – with Google Now, an application that reminds people to leave restaurants in time for the last trains home, or alerts them to buy flowers for their anniversaries as they pass florists when leaving work.

If brands want to reach their target audiences, they must to take the cue from Google and make their content marketing strategies more conversational and responsive.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.