SEO started from simple optimization of landing pages on a desktop computer.
Today things are much more complex. There’s an ever-changing process of enhancing existing content. Then there’s a demand to create regular new engaging content that answers the needs of the target audience on various platforms, including mobile.
While many of the basic tools SEO uses are still the same like keywords, regular updated content, internal and external linking and optimising images and meta tagsfor search – todaySEO also includes much broader considerations including mobile search, UX, and social media profiles.
So, today new technologies are impacting SEO and changing the landscape even further. The IoT and voice search, mobile, machine learning, AI and VR are all important aspects.
In this article we will look at the theories about upcoming changes in SEO strategy, looking at how new technologies will influence the future of SEO. What must search marketers do to stay ahead of the game?
RankBrain has been around for a while. It is Google’s algorithm that works via machine learning, a form of AI.
Essentially, Machine learning is the learning in which machine can learn by its own without being explicitly programmed.
For Google the main focus of using this AI is to improve the experience for the user, and RankBrain is tasked with improving the relevance of content for the searcher.
The point is that by using AI Google is now going beyond just keywords and traditional keyword searches,and this is a clear sign of the future of search. This changes things for SEO.
RankBrain works by interpreting not only the content, but the context of that content and showing users pages that may not include the words they initially looked for, but which contain information related to the idea or category they are searching.
Google is trying to make search algorithms complex enough to understand not only semantics but also concepts and even feelings. The bottom line is AI will arrange results on relevance, quality, and value of content. It moves SEO specialists and marketers from just keyword based content production to concept inspired content.
Mobile search has grown and surpassed desktop searches in recent years thanks to smartphones. According to HubSpot, In 2017, 50.3% of web traffic took place on mobile phones.
Google has invested in enhancing mobile pages and making them load faster. The search giant introduced AMP (accelerated mobile pages) which has resulted in page load speeds becoming twice as fast and incorporating display ads.
Other tech giants have also been working on dedicated mobile offerings. Facebook Instant Articles is one example and Apple has launched its own Search Ads platform that will appeal to marketers when you consider Apple has 2 million apps in the AppStore.
Search marketers will need to ensure there are creating AMP pages as this is going to be a factor in search ranking algorithms for mobile search results. This kind of enhancement has a clear benefit to the end user with faster load times and will be seen as important by Google’s algorithm.
Voice search is a growing sector. Virtual assistant devices connected to the web have grown in number and popularity.
With Alexa from Amazon, Apple’s Siri, Google Now and Cortana- voice is becoming integrated into many devices including smart TV’s music players, gaming consoles and more.
Virtual assistants can help perform a range of tasks and searches answering questions, giving directions, finding a local restaurant and providing useful information and services.
Searches made by virtual assistant are more conversational in nature, so this will influence how SEO professionals optimise voice search for their audience.
Ultimately, voice search is here to stay for a long time and will grow in reach. From in car systems where you can ask an assistant questions and search for information, to being fully integrated into smart homes, the usefulness and growing usage by consumers means marketers need to include this technology in their search strategies.
It could be easy to believe that VR (virtual reality) is just for gamers, tech enthusiasts or even just a passing fad. This truth is that this technology has the potential to change almost every industry, including SEO.
Owning a VR system is still not mainstream but the video gaming industry is looking at ways to maximise on VR technology. Social media is adapting with features live 360 videos.
When it comes to search and online content, VR and 360-degree videos can be filmed, distributed and optimised for searches with various Google tools.
These include tools like Google Street View, Cardboard Camera and VR View where content can be shared on various platforms, including WordPress and social media such as Facebook or Instagram.
Other social aspects of virtual reality that can influence rankings and SEO is social sharing. While today infographics, memes and photos are used as clickbait, VR is the bait of the future. As VR can be repurposed as online video content or engaging graphics, you can reach a wider audience base and fresh and creative VR content will generate more traffic and backlinks to your website, improving domain authority and ranking.
VR videos can also be embedded directly to webpages and viewed by visitors without any specialist VR equipment. VR content created with Samsung or Ricoh Theta is listed in organic search results.
It’s clear then that the future of SEO is going to be impacted by many diverse technologies and touchpoints where users are looking for answers. Finding a balanced approach that makes use of each and every one of these tech touchpoints is going to be key in delivering successful SEO campaigns.
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