What trends will we see with SEO in the future?

1) Rapid increase in the utilization of voice search increases the amount of Q&A content

The way people talk is often different than the way they write. This reflects to search behavior as well, people will tend to ask direct questions “What is the best budget hotel in Brooklyn?” instead of “budget hotel Brooklyn”. We are expecting to see more Q&A content that will aim to directly answer these questions.

2) Timing/relevance factor for links due to RankBrain algorithm

We suspect that Google might be moving to adjust link values in real time. For example, traditionally a valuable link in a respectable newspaper is helping your site to rank no matter if the news article is still relevant or not. In the future, we estimate that link value will be more of a fleeting signal that is coming and going, depending on the current time relevance of the specific backlinks.

3) Increasing importance of SSL encryption

Google is really pushing for encrypted Internet by giving a boost in rankings for sites served over HTTPS and marking sites without SSL encryption insecure in its Google Chrome browser. We expect to see a lot of sites abandoning HTTP and moving to more secure HTTPS during 2017. This is especially vital for e-commerce sites, who might see a drastic drop in conversion rates if their site is marked as insecure on shoppers browsers.

4) Fighting spam

We’ve noticed a significant increase in aggressive negative SEO campaigns in some highly competitive niches. By negative SEO, we mean building spammy links that are targeted to your competitor’s websites in order to hurt their rankings. This can be quite effectively fought by disavowing these bad links via Google Search Console, but these tactics can have a short-term negative effect on rankings and therefore sales, and of course, the time spent cleaning the backlink profile could have been otherwise spent on more positive marketing promotions.

Also “innovative” Google Analytics spam, where for example, fake traffic is using manipulated language settings to promote their own site or cause while simultaneously messing Google Analytics tracking, seems to be increasing as well. Once again, these can be dealt with proper filtering settings, but it is an additional annoyance.

How will SEO be different from what it has been before?

SEO has to keep up with the changes in technology and the way people behave online. Like mentioned, voice search will change the exact queries that people are using. Google recently reported that 20% of its mobile app queries were voice searches.

SEO is also getting more dynamic as the RankBrain algorithm is not only getting better at understanding synonyms and themes but also taking account on the time-relevance of the backlinks. This means that marketing teams and SEOs need to stay on top of their game constantly to stay in top positions. For users, this is obviously a good thing as they can be sure that the results provided are most relevant to their search.

Will SEO and PR become more intertwined?

SEO and PR should already be very closely linked. As most of the journalistic publications and press releases are distributed online, they should be optimized for search engines as well. Traditional PR persons often forget to pitch for backlinks, when handling press inquiries, which often leads to lost link building opportunities and referral traffic.

What are we going to do differently?

The constant changes keep us on our toes. We need to constantly adapt by splitting larger SEO projects into smaller tests which help us to analyze the SEO effects of different variables and simultaneously builds our understanding on how search engines rank pages.

What are your predictions? Leave a comment below!