What Does the Future of SEO Look Like and How Can You Prepare for It?

SEO is vital for any business that maintains an online presence. Without SEO, websites end up lost and forgotten. But the rules of SEO are always changing. If you want to future-proof your SEO strategy, here’s what you need to know.

Beyond Browsers

Everyone knows that mobile is king in 2020. A website that isn’t optimized for mobile is going to be severely limited in terms of the audience it can reach and reflect poorly on the brand behind it. However, the way that we use our smartphones to browse the internet is quite different from the way that we browse the internet on a laptop or desktop. When we want to access online services or search the internet, we don’t necessarily open up a mobile web browser and do it that way. Instead, there are a plethora of other apps that we can use.

Many of the apps that we use on a daily basis enable us to communicate with our friends and exchange files and other data with them. Because of this, many users are now being directed to online content not through internet searches but through direct recommendations from friends. Businesses need to look beyond SERPs and consider other avenues for reaching out to new audiences.

Natural Language Processing Will Make Links Less Important

Google has been developing its natural language processing capabilities for some time. Using natural language processing, Google is training AI tools to ‘read’ and analyse text. Obviously, computers have been able to read text for a long time, but NLP takes it to the next level by enabling AI to actually understand the meaning behind the words in front of it.

There are a number of reasons that Google is interested in NLP. The ability to read and understand webpages automatically will give Google a very powerful tool for fighting spam. While Google’s algorithms are much better at spotting low-quality spam content than they used to be, their current systems are far from foolproof. But with the power of a fully-realized NLP system, Google’s algorithms will be able to accurately assess the subjective quality of pages and can determine the intent behind the content.

Another reason that Google has invested so heavily in natural language processing is that it enables them to ascertain why a user is searching, not just what they are searching for. By looking beyond the keywords in a query, and focusing on what the user wants, Google can provide them with search results that address their needs.

On-Page Time Will Become More Important Than Clicks

One of the main purposes of an SEO strategy is to get people to visit your website. In the past, this used to be enough. As long as you could get people to click links to your website and pay you a visit, you would be able to reap the SEO rewards. However, a user has no way of judging the quality of your website until they have actually visited it and looked around. Whether a user clicks on your website or not only tells you whether they are potentially interested in it, not whether the content is high quality.

Because of this, search engines are relying on other metrics to tell them whether visitors to your website are satisfied with what they find. The on-page time, the amount of time a user spends on a webpage, is the most important of these right now, but there are others that are also beginning to play a bigger role. For example, the bounce rate of your website, the number of users who click through and then almost immediately leave again, indicates how many of your users are actually finding value in your content.

Just getting users onto your webpage is no longer going to be enough. If you want to build and maintain a high SEO score, you need to convince them to stick around once they arrive.

More Social Media in SERPs

Social media platforms are about a lot more than being able to communicate with friends. Many people now use social media to get their news and to access a range of content. Google has partnered with platforms like Twitter to index some of their content. Google is now indexing social media pages from high-quality and authoritative sources and including them in SERPs.

This means that social media is going to become an even more important component of SEO strategies going forward.

Preparing for the Future

The world of SEO moves fast, and it is difficult to keep up. The best way of preparing for these upcoming shifts in the landscape is by partnering with an SEO specialist like Big Surf Digital. Big Surf Digital is a London-based SEO agency serving clients in the UK and the USA. Working with SEO specialists like these ensures that you have access to the up to date knowledge and expertise you need to succeed.

SEO is constantly changing and evolving. What we have outlined above are just some of the most important shifts currently underway.

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