When we asked Tom Shurville, founder of award winning SEO agency, Distinctly what he thought about the future of SEO, his trademark honest response was, “a bit unsure…a bit scary.” And that’s the thing with SEO really…it is constantly shifting, moving and evolving so agencies have to move quickly and efficiently to keep up with the ever changing Algorithms of Google and the world of SEO. So, whilst neither we nor Tom can promise there won’t be a sudden change, this is the current take on the Future of SEO as of April 2018 (on a side note, how on earth is it already April?)
As of only a few months ago, Google implemented a new tool whereby you can search for a result, such as, “the time in New York,” and find yourself with a page with only one result – the time in New York. Due to the uproar of the online community, they quickly reverted back to the original search engine use, but it does pose the question: Is this the thinking of Google? It is something they will look to re roll out?
Because, even as it stands, you don’t even have to visit a website to find out a lot of information. This can be a little frightening for the SEO expert whose sole aim is to drive traffic through a site, through increasing the Google ranking. Certainly, it will radically increase the importance of the Schema markup, and making sure that your microdata is a helpful in outlining precisely how your website adds value.
Stating that the speed of a site is important is not exactly new….for some time now, Google has been penalising those sites who are slow and burdensome and increasing their expectations of websites to be as quick as loading in under half a second.
However, the pressure to achieve lightening quick speeds has been increased by the introduction of Accelerated Mobile Pages. Created mainly for news outlets, they exist as a stripped down form of HTML, making mobile pages super lightweight and far more fast loading. Like we said, so far, this has mainly been used by media outlets with the Guardian being one of the first adoptees. However, it will be interesting to see if this adopted by other brands – it may well be worth considering building AMP pages for your website – a slightly intricate procedure which involves careful tagging and validation by Google itself. Although, more and more, there are Plug-ins that do the hard work for you and this is definitely something worth considering.
Ultimately, Google is a business, and like all businesses their main aim is profit, which means they really want you to spend money on PPC, and are making it ever more enticing to do so. The PPC ads that are at the top of any search are now 50% bigger than last year whilst their effectiveness is impacting upon SEO. If you have the same ranking as you did 2 years ago, you will now get less traffic due to the impact of SEO. More and more we may find that successful SEO and PPC campaigns go hand in hand, and that for SEO you will have to not only invest in SEO, but in PPC.
Rise of other search engines
We should add that this is purely speculative, but unquestionably both Google and Facebook are under ever increasing scrutiny; seen only this week where Facebook’s value dropped by $37 billion due to the reports that Cambridge Analytica helped Trump win the US election through using Facebook’s data. Now everyone is desperately trying to evade and deny this story, but there seems little doubt that something serious went wrong, and it is affecting not just Facebook, but all the big tech companies, who many fear control far too much data.
This could well see a rise in other search engines. One alternative is DuckDuckGo whose USP is stated clearly on their home page, “the search engine doesn’t track you.” This combined with their wonderfully adorable duck logo, may well see an increasing number of converts. Not only that, but the popularity of Bing is increasing especially as it comes ready installed with Microsoft.
Content is King
This is true now and will continue to be important. Honestly and truly the best way of ranking is to produce consistent valuable and engaging content – it will increase your ranking, drive more visitors to your site and keep them there longer.
If you have any more questions about SEO feel free to drop Tom an email on [email protected] or give him a call on 01923 728 191, you can also check out their website for a whole slew of SEO related information.