SEO is evolving and competition in the industry is heating up. Gone are the days when you can get the top spot on Google by stuffing keywords. Today, search engines are smarter and thanks to natural language processing, they can understand the context and intent behind your search query. Google’s latest BERT update is a testament to that. What does the future of SEO have in store for digital marketers? If that is what you are thinking, then you are in the right place. In this article, you will learn about seven things that every SEO firm and marketer should know about the future of SEO.
Future of SEO: 7 Things Every SEO Firm Should Know
1. Declining Organic Reach
If you compare search engine ranking pages of today with search engine ranking pages of a decade ago, you will see a massive difference. That’s how much search has evolved over the course of a decade. To give you an idea, here is what SERP looked like in 2008.
Today, search engine ranking pages are no longer limited to organic results and paid listings. Today, it contains everything from featured snippets to videos to business listings. This means that you have fewer organic listings to target. Featured snippets are also stealing clicks from organic results as more than half of Google searches now ends without a click.
SEO companies need to adapt according to the changing SERP dynamics. They should target featured snippets because data shows that 54.68% clicks go to featured snippets on Google. On the brighter side, it gives you an opportunity to generate more organic traffic to your website even if you are not ranking on the top position on Google. Make the most of other opportunities such as videos, maps and images.
2. Think from a User Perspective
In the quest to rank number one on search engines, most marketers tend to ignore users. What they don’t realize is that even those search engines they are trying to rank on are focusing on user needs, so if you don’t pay attention to what your users want, you won’t rank well either. That is why it is important to put yourself in the user’s shoes. This allows you to tailor your messaging and communications according to customer needs.
3. Voice Will Continue to Dominate
Smart speakers, virtual assistants and advancement in natural language processing is driving a voice search revolution. According to this infographic, 50% of search queries will be voice-based by 2020. Voice search works in a different way than traditional search.
With more and more people searching for information via their voices, digital marketers will have to shift their focus from keywords to more question-based approach. Optimize your content for conversational queries and try to answer users’ questions. This will help you rank higher for voice-based queries.
4. Quality Content Is King
Quality of content will matter even more as search engines become more intelligent. The goal of search engines is to show the most relevant and helpful results and if your content fails on those two fronts, it won’t rank well. Your content should deliver value to users and solve their problems. Identify the pain points of your target audience and create content around it. Choose the right content format and promotion channel to get the best results. Once you create content that your audience loves to consume, you might have a higher chance of ranking well on Google and other search engines.
Did you know that 8 out of 10 people will only read your headline and 2 out of 10 people will read the rest of your content? That is why it is important to spend time on crafting compelling headlines. Make your content easier to skim by including bullet points. Keep the paragraph short and use short sentences. Use visuals such as images, videos and infographics to keep your audience engaged.
5. Think Like a Machine and Act Like a Human
With search engines using a sophisticated algorithm that uses advanced technologies like AI, machine learning and natural language processing to index and ranks web pages, digital marketers will have to change the mindset. They must think like a machine and develop a better understanding of user’s psyche.
Answering questions such as how your target audience search, what results do they click on, what they want to see and how they behave when they land on your website will help you fulfill your user’s needs. On the other hand, SEO agencies should also understand the science behind search engines. They should also keep pace with the latest algorithm changes and be able to anticipate its impact on business.
6. Build Authority and Trust
Search engines use hundreds of ranking factors to rank pages and two of them is authority and trust. If you want to rank higher on search engines, you should focus on building authority. You can get backlinks from authoritative sites, share your expertise and experiences with the world and present yourself as an expert.
Once you establish yourself as an expert in your industry, your content is more likely to rank higher. The more credible your brand is, the more likely it is to rank. This is very important when it comes to industries like health care and finance, as search engines only rank information from credible sources.
7. More Emphasis on User Metrics
Google and other search engines also look at user metrics and consider them when ranking web pages. If your content is ranking on the second position and it is getting more clicks and users are spending more time on it than the first result, Google will see this as an indication that the second result is more relevant, so it deserves to be on the first position. Soon, Google will demote the content at first position to second and promote your content from second position to top spot. Similarly, if your website has a higher bounce rate than other results, it tells Google that your content is not fulfilling the need of user and should be pushed down the search rankings.
What will the future of SEO look like in your opinion and how it will impact businesses? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.