And here we are, at the last leg of our journey through the history of SEO, where various search engines have risen and died over the years, but Google seems to be going at full strength still. And before we talk about the future, let us take a look on what SEO is all about now:
Content, the king of SEO!
The 90s saw the mindless stuffing of various important keywords into webpages, coupled with backend optimization, these techniques were soon frowned upon. This happened because Google wanted smarter ways to produce genuine, useful and relevant results for every search. Today, search intent is king, Google’s latent semantic indexing techniques produce contextually relevant search results based on a user’s search history and preferences, device, location, etc. Images and videos, which were not considered important before now gained prominence, with high-quality images and video content helping webpages rank better on Google.
The rise of Social Media Marketing
The social media boom took over the internet around the early 2000s, gaining momentum throughout the years. Today, a strategically-placed Facebook or Instagram post can get you an immediate jump in the number of visitors to your website. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Quora have helped boost online sales and create a stronger, clearer brand voice. Even YouTube has now launched a social feature where you can connect with friends and acquaintances on the platform. Having a large social media following or being acknowledged by getting a shout out from an influencer can be better than 100 paid marketing campaigns. However, the emphasis on creating engaging, shareable content that adds value to various users remains as strong as ever.
Machine Learning! Will Machines Steal our Jobs?
The answer is, sort off? Maybe? Machine Learning , which is a branch of Artificial Intelligence, has only recently emerged as a field of study. It uses data from past experiences and events to recognize patterns and perform various tasks without the need for explicit programming. Sundar Pichai, the current CEO at Google, puts great emphasis on AI, stating that the search engine will be completely driven by it in the future. While many people are opting for digital personal assistants like Alexa of Amazon or Siri, and searching using images or even videos, the need for intelligent, contextual search is greater than ever.
In 2015, comScore released a report that showed that the number of mobile-only users had overtaken the number of desktop-only users. Mobile-first indexing is changing how websites are crawled by Google, and changing it fast! Actually, Google has plans of indexing all new websites this way in the near future. Local SEO helps users to discover local businesses closest to them. This means that the web publishers and developers must pay close attention to the mobile responsiveness of their sites. This is a recent development as there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of smartphone users in the past few years, but business around the world are being quick to catch up. In fact, websites without proper mobile optimization might experience a decline in their positions.
Keywords and Link-building
New search features like Google’s Featured Snippet, Knowledge Graph, etc. redefined the way information is discovered and used online. They have also given rise to intense competition between websites to feature in the top spot and grab the attention of the users. While in the past SEO was all about focusing on the ranking of a webpage, today things have changed. Now, it is about much, much more, including how users engage with your brand online. While SEO experts used to focus on singular keywords and spammy backlinks coupled with increased tagging and comments, now, the focus is keyword intent, long tail searches (specific multi-word keyword/search phrases) and quality backlinks founded on relationship building.
The Future of SEO
In the past, a single, small algorithm change could take a long time to implement, which allowed many black-hat SEO techniques to be used. But now Google is much more vigilant and intelligent, constantly evolving to foster the steady growth of clean SEO tactics. Personalization is king, with users demanding more contextual, wholesome search results with the least effort from their side. Google might even use external platform data to accomplish this objective, something website owners can prepare for by optimizing in-app content to make it more user-friendly and tailored to suit their user’s intent. Google will recognize patterns by accumulating data from different digital platforms and social media channels, which means that staying consistent across all of them with a single brand voice is a very wise move. Featuring well-optimized content, especially high-resolution images and videos, across all devices and in all forms (local search, mobile sites, voice search, etc.) is a must. Reaching out to your customer base for valuable feedback on your online presence and communicating clearly with content creators must be your top priority in these modern times.
This is it for the history of SEO until now, let us hope for a bright future without robot overlords ruling over us. For now, you can always find all the help you need in Project and SEO Management with us. We assure that our professional team at Rangval will make your life way simple!