Voice search optimization is a growing part of the SEO industry. And that growth trend is certain to continue over the long term. But right now, the short-term trends are a little harder to understand.

Voice search optimization becomes more sophisticated as voice activation features become more popular. Ordinarily, that popularity is tied to people’s usual ways of navigating the web and doing business. But of course, those habits have been thoroughly disrupted by the current global pandemic.

It’s not clear whether that disruption benefits or harms voice search optimization. It may actually do a little of both. And until someone releases a reliable study on the topic, it’s probably best to operate on that assumption. In other words, your SEO strategy should re-evaluate the details of its voice on voice search. But if you were already focusing on that aspect of optimization, then you probably shouldn’t scale back.

Even if the short-term impacts are negative, you can be confident that voice search optimization will strongly rebound once people fall back into normal routines. When that day comes, you’ll want to be in a good position to compete with others who are vying for a place in the top responses from Alexa, Siri, and Google Voice.

Short-term changes and long-term voice search optimization strategies are both topics you might consider discussing with your local web marketing firm. If that firm has carried out an audience analysis for you already, it can help you to understand how your target audience – and your actual audience – might have adjusted their behaviors to accommodate the pandemic.

Certain audiences have definitely responded by becoming more sedentary. These include elderly and immunocompromised individuals, as well as many non-essential workers who have been laid off during lockdowns. And as you think about those groups, you can probably start to see how their relationships with voice search could have shifted in either direction.

On one hand, the elderly are less likely to adopt new technologies on their own. But on the other hand, many older individuals have received voice assistants from relatives so they can avoid interacting with screens and apps. For them, lockdowns are actually an opportunity to experiment with devices they might have previously been wary of.

In fact, the same can be said for younger users, too. Then again, if they’re staying home, those same users are probably not using voice search on their phones as frequently. This once served to save time or to help users during multitasking or a long commute. Now, the more common use of voice search for laid-off workers is just to remain entertained.

This just reinforces the original point: The pandemic may not have made voice search more popular or less popular, but it has changed how people interact with it. And this is bound to have knock-on effects upon voice search optimization. Specifically, it is giving the algorithms behind popular services a different set of inputs. For now, their AI systems may be struggling to keep up. But before everything is back to normal, they will probably have altogether new capabilities.

It may take time for the effects of this situation to get back to the users. But when they do, voice search optimization will surely be more complex, accurate, and effective. In other words, it will be continuing the trend it had started years earlier. It might just be taking a bit of a detour along the way.

In either case, you can be sure that the day will come when voice search optimization overtakes traditional search engine optimization. And when that day comes, you’ll want to be ready. Getting to the top of the rankings will be more important, because people can’t exactly scroll down to select a voice assistant response in the same way they can scroll down on a Google search results page.

Voice search optimization requires a unique strategy. That strategy is still evolving. And its evolution may have changed as people have been forced to change their behavior. But if your routines have changed as well, you may find you have some time to think about the future of digital marketing, to talk with your local web services provider, and to develop a strategy that accounts for the major pending changes in the industry.