The Future of SEO
SEO has changed a TON in the last ten years. As an SEO company, we are simply at the mercy of Google and we have to adapt to the changes that they make. More changes are sure to come. Here are our best predictions as to how SEO is likely to change in the next five years:
Spammy techniques will become less and less successful – Google’s algorithm will get more sophisticated and spammy techniques will become less impactful. For everything that you hear about Penguin and Panda and all of these other updates that have one purpose – eliminate spam from the search results – there are still websites out there that employ EXTREMELY spammy techniques that achieve amazing results QUICKLY. While there will always be ways to game the system, I think that blatantly spammy techniques in which you go from zero to half a million in a month will be ineffective. Those techniques still work today if you have some idea about how to fly under the radar (and if none of your competitors report you).
Links will become less valuable – Everyone talks about all of these other factors that might become or already are big ranking factors: social media, time spent on site, bounce rate, etc. If you have ever REALLY done SEO and have been very successful with it with really competitive keywords then you have probably figured out that all of that stuff is BS. If you have a properly optimized site then it still comes down to one thing… links. If those other factors play any role (they probably do), the impact that they have is pretty insignificant compared to the impact of links. Links can be easily manipulated. That is all SEO companies do really… make Google think you are more important than you really are. In the next five to ten years I think that links really will be devalued because links are easier to manipulate than other factors. Time on site and bounce rate are probably drastically underutilized variables in Google’s algorithm. What about contact form submissions and phone calls? What if Google develops ways to track phone calls and contact form submissions – wouldn’t that be the ultimate way to judge whether a user has reached a site that satisfied the criteria they are looking for? If a user trusts a site enough to provide their contact information then it’s probably a high quality site that “deserves” to be ranked.
Google will find more ways to make money – Newsflash! Google is a public company. Public companies are supposed to keep on generating more and more profits every quarter. If investors think that a company will continue to increase their profits then they will buy the stock. That drives up the stock price. A public company’s main goal: increase your profits and increase your stock price. The management is responsible for making that happen. If they don’t, they risk losing their extremely well paid job. People like keeping their high paying jobs… therefore, people will do what they need to do to keep their high paying jobs. To keep their high paying jobs people need to keep on increasing a company’s profits. A HUGE source of profit for Google is Paid Search. People spend $75 a click on some keywords. That is pure profit for Google; there is no cost of goods sold. Newsflash #2! Google makes no money whatsoever on SEO. Those companies are getting free clicks and Google makes nothing. Why would a high level manager of Google, whose job is to grow profits, embrace SEO? Yes… you need to give your customers what they are looking for… that’s why Google exists in the first place. However, there are ways to do that make the company money. SEO makes the company no money. If I were a high level employee of Google, I would constantly be searching for ways to make more money each time someone conducts a search on Google. Since SEO makes the company no money… I would try to phase out SEO as much as possible and replace it with something that makes the company money. Paid search makes the company billions of dollars. SEO does not. I think that paid search results will dominate the search engine results pages more and more and SEO will become less relevant for the real “money terms.”
Notice how I only talked about Google in this article. Why did I only mention Google? What about Yahoo? What about BING? Isn’t Bing such a great search engine… I mean we see their commercials about how people like their search results better and everything… right? I must be dumb to not consider Yahoo and Bing in this article.
The reason I did not consider Yahoo and Bing is because I have looked at countless analytics accounts. Yahoo and Bing might claim to have X% market share… but when you actually dig into the data it’s completely insignificant compared to Google. I am not talking about sites that rank well in Google but might not rank high in Yahoo and Bing; I am talking about sites that rank well in all three. Look at an analytics report (or even a simple PPC report) for a company that is dominating all three and you will quickly come to the conclusion that any other search engine other than Google is hardly even worth paying attention to.
I wish that that were not the case. I don’t like that we, as an SEO company, are so completely at the mercy of Google. We have to completely adapt our strategy to Google’s every move. Google could make SEO companies obsolete in an instant if they wanted to. I wish that it wasn’t such a monopoly. But it is. Until things change… we are slaves to Google. Whatever Google wants us to do to get our sites ranked, we will do it!!!