Predicting the Future of SEO

future of SEOOver the years, SEO has gone on a wild ride of changes. So what’s in the forecast for search engine optimization now?

Let’s take a look into the SEO crystal ball and see what types of things may lie ahead.

SERPs Makeover

Google loves a good shakeup. We recently saw huge news from them about featured snippets, and how having a featured snippet appear for a query positively affects your rankings. And as universal search has become more of the norm, this aspect is only going to grow. We have almost completely moved away from the classic Google search engine results page (SERP) of just a few links stacked on top of each other. Now, we typically see this:

universal search

Now, there are a range of results types including photos, news articles, review listicles, and more. In the above example, there are only four legitimate hot dog businesses listed on the page – the three from the local pack and the one organic result above the images – which shows that getting noticed for certain terms will only continue to get more difficult as Google offers a mix of results to please their users.

Even More Consumer Focus

Similar to with universal search, SEOs have started to see third-party snippets in Google Maps listings for businesses that are featured on select lists. Joy Hawkins recently posted about it on Local Search Forum:

local search forum(Source: Local Search Forum)

It’s always been known that reviews play a large part into SEO, and with various “high authority” sites that accept reviews (e.g., Yelp) or post listicles such as “Best Things to do in Dallas” (e.g., Buzzfeed, Thrillist, Trip Advisor, etc.), it would be no surprise that their inclusion in SERPs grows and starts to affect rankings.

A segment of this could also include AR (augmented reality), as it has already started to take over much of the social media world. Various ecommerce sites have begun introducing more ways for consumers to get a better shopping experience, including ways to test glasses or see how pieces of clothing fit. There is definitely an opening for AR optimization to make its way into the marketing realm for a variety of fields.

Bigger Hoops to Jump Through

In terms of local SEO, being listed on Google My Business has never been more important. And since spam has been an issue on the platform for ages now, finally Google has started to make things a lot stricter in order to get a presence on their maps.

Many businesses that once had a spot on Google Maps are now being removed due to breaking various rules set by GMB. And as local SEO continues to become more popular, we can only imagine how hard it will be later on for new businesses to try and get verified.

Slow or Unsecure Sites Get the Boot

We already know that Google penalizes sites in various ways when they aren’t secure and/or have bad load times, but as the search engine continues to tighten its grip on rankings, you shouldn’t be surprised if it becomes even stricter on what businesses show in SERPs based on those factors.

Voice Search

It seems like everyone now has some sort of AI device, whether it’s Amazon’s Alexa or iPhone’s Siri or something else. With the ability to ask about the weather, check random celebrity facts, and even order groceries, we are all getting more and more acquainted with voice search. Before you know it, it could really start to affect our marketing!

Think about how many people could be asking “What are the best restaurants for Thai food near me.” Depending on how a given device gathers that data (through organic results, featured snippets, or review aggregate websites), it can completely switch up how we do SEO.

The Bottom Line: It’s Inevitable

We already know that no matter what, SEO will be forever changing due to Google’s algorithm alterations and core updates, meaning we’ll all have to stay on our toes to grow and develop as a collective field.

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