The landscape of the World Wide Web is an ever-evolving environment that poses challenges to webmasters, marketers, and online advertisers alike. We’ve all had to adapt to the rapid changes that continuously sweep through the online marketplace. Whether you own a website, market for webmasters, or optimize ads for mobile devices, we want you to know what to expect for the future of digital marketing. Search engine optimization has been at the heart of the changing world of digital marketing. What does the future hold for SEO? We look into our crystal ball to share a few secrets with you.

Conversational Keyword Phrases

When Google introduced an update to its Hummingbird algorithm in 2013, it brought with it a new change that reflects the manner in which people now conduct searches online. The most important change from this update was the improved search algorithm for “conversational” phrases. Instead of looking at particular words in a phrase, Google is no better equipped to understand whole phrases as they are used in conversation. As an SEO expert, what does this mean for you?

  • You can no longer rely on your PR company to build links and ensure your linkbacks are trustworthy.
  • Anchor text that links back to your site must be more natural and appear less “keyword focused.”
  • Your website needs to be more entertaining and useful to your consumers. Shareable and multimedia content will become more critical.
  • Your social presence needs to increase across all major platforms.

Nontraditional SEO becomes More Important

According to Stephan Spencer of SearchEngineLand, nontraditional SEO will move center stage in the coming months as the rapid expansion of mobile and voice search intensifies. As more consumers search and shop from mobile devices, how those searches are conducted is changing. Even though larger screens have become commonplace on popular smartphones, consumers are still shifting away from typing exact search queries into Google, Yahoo, and other search engines.

Search functions will have to embed into applications in order to better serve consumers. Apple was the first to step into the fray with Siri; now Google and Microsoft have entered the battle with voice-search systems of their own. SEOs will need to develop a new skill set to deal with changes brought about by Linguistic User Interfaces. Search will become more personalized and influenced by the users. If you do not understand the intent of users at the time of their search, even the best on-page SEO tactics will matter little in the grand scheme.

Mobile Optimization Continues

If you were waiting for the adoption rate of smartphones to slow down, you’re wait is bound to continue. Mobile optimization is not a new trend, but it is also not a dying trend. What will be different going forward is the choice to optimize your site for mobile users. It was possible, at one point, to ignore mobile optimization, that is no longer an option. Every website should have a mobile optimized version as well.

Why does a mobile optimized site matter? Google algorithms can now take user behavior into account when judging the value of your website for search engine results pages. If your users have a bad experience with your website when using a mobile device, your ranking will be negatively impacted as a result. You can ignore mobile optimization if you wish, but you will do so at your own peril.

SEO becomes Deeply Embedded in Companies

Marcus Tober of SearchEngineLand believes that SEO will become a strategic element of corporate web tactics. In the past, it was possible to focus on SEO on a tactical basis. In other words, SEO was a passing fancy that could be implemented or ignored. Today, and in the future, SEO is far too important to ignore. How does Tober believe this will impact SEO?

  • Brands will adopt lean, fast websites with better structures designed for easy user interactions.
  • The focus on relevant content will increase. SEOs will need to care about topics more than keywords when creating fresh content.
  • Earning links from authoritative sites becomes more important than link building.
  • SEO will branch out into other areas, such as data science and product management. The number of people working with SEO tactics will increase.

Social Media Ramps Up

Google algorithms represent a sort of artificial intelligence in modern society. These search algorithms crawl through business websites, ecommerce sites, blogs, and social media pages to provide users with relevant, accurate search results. If your company is ignoring social media or is half-heartedly involved, you’ll pay when it comes to your search engine standings. Social media is not going away, and you need to understand how your target market interacts online and deliver content they deem valuable.

This doesn’t mean just focusing on one social media platform either. Facebook and Twitter are the dominant forces, but Google looks for action on Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn. While you won’t necessarily need a robust profile on all platforms, you should have a combined effort that takes advantage of all varieties available. For example, your Facebook or Google+ page is a great way to share information with your target audience and keep them updated on changes in your company.

Meanwhile, your Twitter feed is a great way to share breaking news or launch promotional campaigns. Using YouTube, you can deliver media-rich content to users that can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms.

SEO isn’t Dead

With every new algorithm update from Google, the pundits chime in and launch the debate about SEO’s future. The immediate reaction from many is that SEO is dead. In reality, SEO itself will never die. Strategies that are used will die, and as SEOs we’ll need to find new strategies to create fresh, relevant content that is shareable.

SearchEngineLand’s Mike King states that great SEO hasn’t really changed in the last few years. Poor SEO strategies have changed with each algorithm change because Google is working to eliminate short cuts and loopholes to improving search engine results.

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