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The future of SEO: what to expect in the coming years?

By: Pinar Ergin | Digital Marketing Manager (NMQ Digital)
There’s no doubt that SEO is a complex and ever-changing field and is already evolving into its next form as we speak. But despite the challenges it can present, the effort is always worth it. Because if you can stay ahead of the trends and optimize your content accordingly, you’ll be able to achieve great results for your business. As search engine algorithms are constantly changing and evolving, predicting the future of SEO is a difficult task. However, by taking a closer look at some of the latest trends and changes in the industry, we can get a better idea of what to expect in the near future. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the top SEO trends that are expected to take hold in the next year or two.  So, what are the SEO trends we can expect to see in 2022? Keep reading to find out and start planning your SEO strategy today! Let’s start with some statistics to show why it’s critical to stay on top of SEO developments and adjust to Google’s algorithms as soon as possible:
  • Google owns 92% of all desktop searches, and 96% of all mobile searches.
  • 53% of website traffic comes from organic search*
  • 70-80% of users mainly focus on organic results and ignore paid listings.
  • And 28% of organic traffic converts, resulting in a purchase**.
As a marketer, you can’t afford to ignore those figures, and you should keep them in mind as you plan, implement, and evaluate your SEO strategy. Let’s have a look at some recent advancements that will have a significant impact on how we handle SEO in the very near future!

Mobile-Friendliness – The First Ranking Signal!

Perhaps the most game-changing development in SEO is mobile-first indexing, first introduced by Google in 2019. This means that Google will now prioritize websites that are designed for mobile devices over those that are not.

Roughly 73% percent of internet users are predicted to access the web exclusively through their smartphone by 2025.

This is a huge shift, and it’s one that you need to be prepared for if you want your website to rank well in the coming years. With over half of all web traffic now coming from mobile devices, it’s no surprise that Google is placing more and more emphasis on mobile-friendliness in its search algorithm. Given that roughly 73% of internet users are predicted to access the web exclusively through their smartphone by 2025*, it’s not needed to make high-level analytical projections to determine that your website must be optimized for smaller screens as we speak. This means making sure your site is responsive, loading quickly, and easy to navigate on a mobile device. You should also check that the meta-tags on your mobile and desktop devices are identical. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you can expect to see a decline in your rankings very soon. Not sure how your website scores for mobile-friendliness? You can use Google’s free mobile-friendly test to see if your website is mobile-friendly.

AI-Powered SEO – RankBrain

One of the most significant changes in recent years has been the introduction of RankBrain in 2015. RankBrain is a combination of an AI and machine learning algorithm that helps Google interpret search queries and provide more relevant results, based on user intent. How this algorithm exactly works remains a mystery, but the logic is nicely put via an example by Hubspot: If you were to search for “the scary hotel movie with the maze”, the RankBrain algorithm would show you results for The Shining. It does this by anticipating your intention, which in this situation is most likely to find the title of a specific film. How is this going to impact our approach to SEO? This change has had a major impact on SEO and how ranking signals are interpreted by Google. After backlinks and content, RankBrain is considered the 3rd most important core algorithm. What we will see is a shift from keywords to user intent. Even though keyword stuffing is still an effective way to game the system and get your website to rank higher, search engines are getting much more sophisticated and they’re able to understand user intent much better. As a result, keywords will become less and less important.

After backlinks and content, RankBrain is considered the 3rd most important core algorithm.

So, the big question is, how can you optimize for RankBrain? The answer is that Google does not reveal how this algorithm impacts organic search. But experts reveal that there are a few things you should be doing to keep ranking well on Google:
  1. Concentrate on producing high-value content that delves deeper into themes and provides answers to client questions.
  2. Make sure your content is easy to interpret for the algorithm by using schema markups.
  3. Keep track of your visitors and conversions as this will tell you how successful your SEO implementation is.
AI will help search engines better understand user intent, which is essential for providing relevant results. As machine learning continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more AI-powered features and tools to be introduced that will further impact SEO. Your job as a marketer is to make sure that you have user-friendly content and machine-friendly markups in place now to ensure that your material is ready for any algorithm adjustments in the future!

The Rise of Voice Search

More and more people are using voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant to perform web searches. By 2022, it’s expected that 55 percent of households will have a smart speaker, rising to 75 percent by 2025. And as voice search gets better at understanding natural language, that number is only going to grow. The rise of voice search is going to have a big impact on how we do SEO and therefore it’s important to consider how voice search will impact your website.

If your website content isn’t optimized for voice search, you’re likely missing out on key visitors and leads.

Here are a few things you can do to make sure your site is ready for voice search: First, start by ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly. Voice searchers are often using their smartphones or other mobile devices to conduct searches, so it’s important that your site is able to accommodate them. Next, focus on long-tail keywords to mimic the way people speak. When people speak their searches aloud, they tend to use natural language rather than abbreviated keywords that they might type into a search engine.

Google EAT Principle

Google has always been clear that content quality is critical for ranking success. The company’s search algorithms are designed to surface the most relevant and useful results for users, and high-quality content is a key part of that equation. In fact, the search engine giant uses a metric called the EAT principle to determine if a webpage has useful quality content. The acronym, which stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, takes into account a variety of factors that help Google identify high-quality content.

Marketers and content creators need to ensure that their online materials meet Google’s high standards for quality if they want their pages to rank well.

For example, Google looks at whether the content is well researched and accurate, if the author is an expert on the topic, and if the site is reliable and trustworthy. By taking these factors into account, Google is able to surface the best results for its users. So, what does this mean for you as a marketer or content creator? First, it’s important to understand your buyer personas and what they’re looking for at each stage of the consumer journey. This will help you create content that meets their needs and answers their questions. Additionally, it’s important to do your intent research to make sure your content aligns with what people are actually searching for. Google algorithm updates will continue to keep us on our toes, as they always have. It’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest changes in order to ensure your website is ranking well in search engines. If you’d like to learn more about how you can use these technologies and trends in your own marketing, we’re happy to help. Our SEO experts are ready to explore with you how we can help you enhance your online visibility, reach your target audience, and prepare your company for the future of SEO. We look forward to hearing from you!
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