The Latest SEO Trends
Old school SEO is dead, or at least it’s dying a slow death. While there are some black hat SEO tactics that will still work, it’s only a matter of time before Google’s AI wipes these tactics out as well. SEO is no longer about tricking Google, in fact, it hasn’t been for a while now. Instead, SEO is becoming more of a marketing discipline.
When it comes to SEO trends, we need to be constantly improving our skills and adapting to the changes that Google brings out. This is nothing new, it’s always been volatile, however, the next 5 years will change everything. Here are the top 5 search updates that will change SEO forever.
BERT was a game-changer when it came to Google’s ability to understand the context of sentences. Then came SMITH, with its ability to understand paragraphs. Now there is MUM, Multitask United Model, which has the ability to understand complex search queries, images, and videos.
Learn more about MUM’s functionality in this quick video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7t4lLgINyo
MUM will bring more meaning to image, audio, and video optimisation. High-quality written content is already essential for improving ranking, but it will be even more necessary, while content spinning, content generated to manipulate search engines, and superficial content simply won’t work anymore.
With Google rolling out its AR-based search results, augmented Reality (AR) content is going to rise in popularity. In fact, as you will see later in the article, AR likely to become essential for your content strategy.
Zero Click Apocalypse
The number of features on the search engine results page (SERP) seems to increase each year, and with it, so does the number of zero-click searches. There are a number of features that are worth noting here, some you will already be aware of, others are new.
Featured Snippets have been around for a while now, but the type and number appearing in Google SERPs are increasing. Some of the most recognisable are: Paragraphs, lists, tables, and videos.
You’re likely to see paragraph snippets if you’re looking for a definition. They are brief and practical, but deliver a quick answer to your query. Lists are what they sound like, they are lists that appear within SERPs. You’re likely to see these in ‘best of’ type content, or listicle-based content.
Tables appear when there is data to present, for example, a pizza menu, or the different Nasa missions, with the year and the name of the space shuttle. Video snippets appear if it provides the best answer for your query. These often appear in a ‘how to’ search, where you’re looking at how you can do something. For example, ‘how to change the coolant in my car’ would produce video results for various car makes and models.
People Also Ask
Similar to the paragraph featured snippet mentioned above, another feature that is pretty commonplace these days is the People Also Ask box. The People Also Ask box provides a brief paragraph, answering a question related to your search query. Where it differs from the paragraph featured snippet is that it is enclosed within an accordion with 4-8 other questions related to your search query.
Google Discover curates content from around the web and presents you with personalised content that it thinks you will like. As the name suggests, the objective is to help you discover new, fresh content that may interest you. This helps to bring your together your content marketing strategy.
Google’s Passage Indexing technology takes passages from a page and puts them within the SERPs based on the search query you use. Because Google can now understand relevance and context within a page thanks to their artificial intelligences, BERT and SMITH (insert joke about Ernie here).
Most people will be familiar with the knowledge panel that appears on the right when you search for a company or celebrity. Soon you’re likely to start seeing a brand’s entire digital world on display, including their social media profiles and YouTube channel. This is why claiming your brand’s digital assets has never been more important.
About This Result
About This Result is accessible within Google SERPs via the 3 dots beside each search result. It provides additional information about the listing, including how long it has been indexed, whether the site is secure, and links to additional information.
EAT Replaces SEO
SEO is such an antiquated term these days. We aren’t really optimising for search engines anymore. While we still want to identify the keywords people use, such as long tail search keywords, we also want to optimise for topics. One way of doing this is by writing for people, which is a new SEO trend. Google’s smart now; we should be optimising for people. It’s becoming less about making changes to the website and more about demonstrating your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
The EAT Framework comes from Google’s Search Quality Guidelines. It’s certainly not a new concept, but it is what we should be focusing on. Rather than trying to trick Google, just demonstrate your expertise through high-quality content, your authority in the industry by others linking to you, and your trustworthiness with your audience and Google by minimising technical errors, improving page load times, ensuring your site is secure, and providing a great user experience.
Anyone who has watched enough Netflix will understand how difficult it is to watch something outside of the genre they usually watch. With the introduction of more sophisticated AIs, it’s likely that search will become more personalised. So much so that two people may search for something about the same topic, but it will provide them with a different set of results based on their previous search criteria.
We already see this to some degree with localised search, but in the not too distant future, you can expect to see dramatic changes in personalisation in the search results.
One way you can prepare for this is to start thinking about personalised journeys for your target audience. By knowing who your audience is and what their journey is from being unaware through to being ready to buy from you, you are able to prepare content across the entire journey.
Virtual reality, augmented reality, and the metaverse are going to completely change the way the websites are designed, and how they function.
Picture this, you have a business meeting with a potential client from Singapore in 3 hours. You decide to eat lunch with friends prior to this, so you walk into a restaurant and your augmented reality glasses notify you that there is a 45-minute wait for the food. It automatically updates your calendar with wait time plus estimated eat and conversation time, plus pulls in traffic reports to include travel time into your calendar. Based on this, you receive a notification identifying that you will have a 1-hour and 20-minute window between your meal with your friends and the meeting.
Two hours later, you put on your VR headset and enter the virtual meeting room. You understand your client perfectly as their Malay is translated into English, and they understand you perfectly as your English is translated into Malay. You present a digital model of the proposed product you are creating for your client, and you close the sale.
After the meeting, you navigate to the Aldi website and walk through the virtual isles, choosing items from your grocery list. You pay for your items and then exit, taking off your VR headset. Your groceries are then collected and delivered to you the next day.
This tech exists and it’s only a matter of time before this because an average day for most people. This means that business owners need to start thinking about how they can integrate augmented reality into their business. Further, they need to start thinking about how augmented reality will affect how their customers find them.
More than this though, the entire landscape of the internet is going to change, with customers beginning to expect more from online shops, and online services becoming more interactive. How we search is likely to change as a result of these technologies.
SEO Trends – In Summary
There is a lot more to SEO nowadays than keywords and link building. With Google Search becoming smarter and more sophisticated, it’s never been more important than now to start thinking about the future of your business as it relates to search. Online search is one of the most common ways people find businesses to purchase from. If you’re not adapting, you’ll simply miss out on these opportunities.
Steve Jaenke has been involved in the digital world for over 2 decades. Seeing the power of SEO early in the market he pivoted his business to focus on assisting SME to understand and leverage the power of Google. He is a recurrent judge for the Australian Web Awards awards.