Voice search optimization has been steadily growing in importance as part of a broader SEO strategy. There’s really no question about whether this trend will continue over the long term. But one thing that’s much less certain is the short-term impact that recent events will have on the prevalence and sophistication of voice search.
As far as I can see, no one has investigated this topic thoroughly yet. So it’s difficult to say whether any given SEO strategy should accelerate or scale back its emphasis on voice search optimization. But anyone can speculate. And certain website owners might be interested to discuss the near-future of voice queries with their web marketing firms.
On one hand, the coronavirus pandemic has forced many people to be more sedentary. This has potentially reduced the need for them to use voice search as a time-saving measure or an alternate option when their hands are otherwise occupied. But on the other hand, lockdowns have left many of those same people within range of their smart devices at most times. This has presumably given them additional opportunities to experiment with those devices and figure out what they are capable of.
Since services like Amazon Alexa and Google Search are based on machine learning, their algorithms are sure to benefit from more widespread and free-wheeling user communication. Inevitably, the ongoing development of those algorithms will make voice search optimization more complex, accurate, and effective.
It will take time for the effects of expanded at-home usage to make their way back to users. But when they do, voice search optimization will be all the more important for web marketers. Of course, that was going to be the case anyway, but I suspect that the pandemic has moved up the timeline for voice search to overtake traditional search engine optimization.
At least, that’s the outcome I foresee for in-home smart devices. The question then becomes whether voice search on a phone is recognizably different. The technology is fundamentally the same in each case. But that technology might respond differently if you ask different questions, in a different way, when you’re at home than when you’re at work, or traveling, or running errands.
It’s not impossible that voice search optimization will be skewed in favor of at-home use in the weeks or months after life returns to normal. Still, the ultimate trend in VSO is upward. So while some forms of voice search might confront digital marketers with more work than others, the effort is worth it. More and more consumers will be finding businesses that way, while major services will be getting better and better at giving those consumers what they need.