Search Engine Optimization (SEO) maybe starting a slow death. Optimizing websites for search visibility through content, inbound links, and technical upgrades is more now going to be more important than ever. On the other hand, it’s become very apparent to our web designers that see beyond the immediate horizon that traditional SEO is slowly but surely going to be going away. We’ll explain why:
- Artificial Intelligence is killing the need for keyword matches
As Google improves its operations and technology, it is moving closer to “understanding” content in written, spoken or visual forms. This diminishes the value and need for having exact-match keywords to associate searches. In summary, search engines don’t necessarily have to look for matching keywords to deliver the kind of information the searchers are actually looking for. Instead, intelligent algorithms can analyze an entire website or group of websites to find the best matches, even if it doesn’t seem to line up to a search query in the strict direct-wording format. This means that content is becoming even more important than previously thought.
- User Engagement is the SEO of the future
The popularity of search engine optimization with searching for keywords stuffed into content presents a problem to Google. The biggest problem is that more and more companies are adding pages with lots of content. This leads to a lack of clarity about which results have the highest relevance in the search. For search engine programmers, an easy solution is to emulate what Facebook has done as far as managing news feed overloads. It means paying attention to the engagement of content and pages rather than simply keywords. The more people that like, share comment etc. or maneuver around a website, the easier it is to determine that it’s a worthwhile search result. In the near future, this could likely lead to showing the most popular websites and content items rather than matching on keywords.
- Search Patterns are becoming contextual and non-predictive
It isn’t just Google that is playing around with search results. Users are increasingly entering longer search terms and even asking simple questions such as, “Where is the best Italian food in Anaheim, California? This causes the search engines to adjust to the search terms. They account for such things as location, previous searches and known demographic information to provide the best results to the specific user who is asking the question. There are already signs that search engines are relying more on context, semantic matching, and contextual models to determine the intent behind a given search request. These two trends intersect in a way that leads search users to be less predictable and the results displayed to be more individualized. This requires webmasters, website builders and marketing staff to fully determine just who their target audience is and what exactly are those potential customers looking for.
Also published on Medium.