The SEO industry is always in flux thanks to Google, Facebook, and other internet heavyweights. Investment in SEO has reached over $70 billion annually. And the growing sector shows no signs of slowing down in the future.
While SEO was previously viewed with suspicion by many marketers, it’s now well-established as an essential part of digital marketing. But what’s around the corner for the industry?
It’s always difficult to predict the future of any industry. None more so than the future of SEO.
What is the future of search engines? What is the future of Google? What’s the future of SEO?
It’s impossible to know for sure the answers to any of these questions. However, there are ways that businesses can adapt and prepare for the future.
Keep reading to find out how you can future-proof your SEO strategy to anticipate the developments to come. Let’s go!
1. Prepare for AI
Is there a technology that has ever received the same hype as artificial intelligence?
Commonly known as AI, it’s starting to become a reality in our lives. This has been brought about by two significant developments.
Voice Recognition and Interaction
The first is the vast improvements in the quality of the voice search and digital assistants.
If previously interaction with Apple’s Siri was the cause of yelling at our smartphones.
“Siri, how’s the weather in Tampa?”
“…I don’t know where you are…”
“Here’s the weather today for Hammer, Minnesota…”
And yet, nowadays, the experience increasingly reflects a natural conversation between two intelligent beings. And things are set to continue to improve.
As voice search improves, the number of people using voice search will rise too. With over 50 percent of searches expected to be voice searches by the year 2020.
The second development that changes everything is the widespread use of Smart Hubs in the home.
There’s Amazon’s Echo, Google Home, and Apple’s Homepod. There are also new smart hubs coming out all the time by the major tech companies.
Over 38 million Americans report owning a smart home hub. This number is set to rise significantly over the next few years. Before long, every household in the US will have a smart home hub.
What Does This mean for the Future of SEO?
As any SEO expert knows, keywords are the cornerstone of an effective SEO strategy.
But keywords have to reflect what users search for on Google and other search engines. If the way people interact with search engines changes, so do the keywords used in your website’s content.
If someone is searching for an SEO company in Tampa, they’ll type the search different to how they would voice search.
Instead of typing “SEO Tampa,” they might voice search – “Are there any SEO companies in Tampa?”.
As a result, it’s important to include natural language keywords in your content. This includes keywords in the form of questions and full sentences.
There are many ways to prepare for the rise of voice search and digital assistant use.
Change Your Content
For example, you need to include a FAQs or Q&A pages on your website. This allows you to produce content in the form of questions and answers.
Are you currently writing your blog posts in a formal-style of language? You need to switch to a more conversational manner to reflect how people talk.
But users don’t just ask questions of the digital assistants. They also make commands. For example, “Search for the Future of SEO on Google.” It’s important to make sure your content is optimized to reflect this change too.
Answer Boxes Matter
Do you know the answer boxes that come up on SERPs (search engine results pages) you search for anything?
Previously they’ve not been especially crucial regarding boosting your SEO.
But with the rise of voice search, they become increasingly important. This is because the snippet will be read aloud by the digital assistant to the user.
You know link-building? Well, this in Link-less link-building. I know, confusing.
Link-building remains a significant part of SEO for small and medium-sized companies.
But with the introduction of updates to Google’s algorithm, especially Penguin and Fred updates, it’s not easy to build up your links anymore. Google and other search engines are no longer turning a blind eye to poor quality links. You can’t trick the system anymore.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to concentrate your SEO efforts on improving the quality of your backlinks to other websites. It’s all about quality for Google, not quantity.
Link-building is about convincing another company’s website to backlink to your website. But how can you do this?
By building relationships in the real world. You might do this by reaching out to companies at an industry conference or contacting a company through social media platforms, such as Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.
Check out our blog on the best practices on social media to find out more about how you can harness the power of social media.
But what’s changed recently with how search engines evaluate your website is the difference between backlinks and simply mentions. That’s where we come to link-less link-building.
Link-less link-building has emerged as one of the latest SEO tactics.
This is because Google and other search engines can now evaluate the quality of your website by mentions of your brand elsewhere. And also, whether it’s mentioned in a positive or negative light. Such mentions are called “link-less links.”
Search engine algorithm then uses this information to determine whether your website can be trusted or not. This consequently influences whether your website is boosted on SERPs.
That’s why it’s essential not only to encourage other websites to promote your website’s brand by mentioning you. But also you need to be tracking how your brand is being talked about online.
3. Mobile Friendly Websites
Since 2016, over 60 percent of searches now come from mobile devices. Without a doubt, the percentage has only increased over the past years.
Recently Google introduced its mobile-first index to its algorithm. Other search engines are set to follow the trend towards boosting mobile-friendly websites on SERPs.
This is why it’s imperative that your website is prepared for the increased use of mobile devices to access your site. If you’re not mobile-friendly, you’re going to experience a dramatic fall in your web traffic.
Improve Your Website’s Speed
Did you know that 40 percent of users abandon a website if it requires over 3 seconds to load?
That’s a lot of potential customers that you’re losing simply by not ensuring that you have a super fast website speed.
Websites that aren’t mobile-friendly are often much slower. However, it doesn’t matter which device a user accesses your site from; you have to have a fast loading speed.
Several things could slow down your website. Maybe you need to switch to another web host? Or perhaps, you need to reduce the number of visuals on your site?
Whatever the problem with your website’s speed, you can’t afford to frustrate mobile device users with slow speeds.
People Use Mobile Devices Differently
Businesses are only just waking up to the fact that mobile device users behave differently to desktop users.
Even the peak times when mobile users access the internet is different, according to research by Microsoft and the Financial Times. Mobile device users reach peak use in the early morning and late evening. Whereas, desktop use peaks during the middle of the day during 9-5 work-hours.
Just think that mobile device users can access the internet anywhere on the go. Whereas, desktop users have to be sat down at home or in the office to access your website.
That’s why your website needs to be able to respond to different contexts all the time.
Prepare for the Future of SEO
The world of SEO and search engines are always changing.
It’s challenging to keep adapting and changing your SEO strategy to respond to Google’s latest algorithm update.
However, what if you could weatherproof your SEO strategy to anticipate the changes to the future of SEO?
With our three ways to get your business ready for the future, you can stay ahead of your competition by making preparing today for tomorrow.
Now you know what you need to do to future-proof your SEO tactics, it’s time to take action. It’s not easy coming up with your digital strategy entirely on your own.
But you’re not alone. We’re here to help you.
Our digital marketing gurus can make sure you have the digital strategy that can withstand the coming changes. Get in touch with us today, and we’ll help you!