WILD THOUGHT: What’s the future of SEO?

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

Search engine optimization – aka SEO – like many other digital marketing strategies continues to evolve. That won’t stop so I might as well dream about some advancements here.

Way back when, adding perceived keywords was a pretty standard strategy. Then people started doing keyword research with online tools to see what terms people actually were searching for. They then started using terms that got a lot of search volume.

I like those tools and use them all the time to pick the right words to maximize my content production. I know others use them too and often we can tell who is doing keyword research well.

For example, every time there’s a new term that enters the digital marketing area somebody who is trying to reach marketers is bound to write about “what’s the definition of that term?” Content producers do this because it works.

Of course the next trend is voice search. How do we create content that people find when they’re searching via their voice? That’s a fancy way of saying that people now search like the way they talk. Previously, people would just type keywords-a.k.a. words-into a web browser. In voice search they ask their phone a question verbally.

Given that storytelling and content marketing should be conversational – similarly to voice search – this shouldn’t be a huge switch for those content marketers who have followed that practice for a long time.

But using the right words matters! I’ve seen articles tank because I picked the wrong words. Just because I use a certain word doesn’t mean that my audience will find the article if they’re using a different word.

For example: I explained in an article how to unsubscribe from somebody. And that article pulled some traffic but not as much search traffic as it could’ve because the people that were looking for the same information were actually searching for how to unfollow somebody.

At the current state when that article was published search engines didn’t make the connection that the searcher’s intent in the end is actually the same.

Today, even though keyword research, mapping and search engine results have evolved dramatically over the years you still have to pick the right words that searchers use to be found.

So here’s my prediction And thought. What if search engine behavior will dramatically change over the coming years. And it’ll be less about the words used but more about the intent. Of course, the words we use kind of signal our intent but if we pick the right words and the writer picked the wrong words we still may not find what we’re looking for.

I mean I go to Google at times and search for something and throw my hands up in the air and proclaim that none of these results are useful at all.

But what if down the road it’s less about keywords and more about the actual intent. So whether or not I use the exact keyword as a searcher is less relevant and important as it used to be. Of course, that’s a lot harder for machines to learn but maybe it’s something they can learn in their machine learning classes.?‍♂️??

Once that’s improving and moving forward Google can serve even more personalized content (aka more relevant) to people and even serve better ads.

With all the privacy concerns and social media flying around in early 2018, this also could present problems because the more search engines know about us the more privacy we potentially have to give up. But I see this more of a language, intent and sentiment based technology as opposed to serving results based on what they know about me specifically.

Evolution like this certainly could make content marketers’ lives easier-because their content could be found wider. It could also make it harder if the search engines can’t map the searchers’ intent correctly and if it doesn’t lead to your content.

It’ll likely be a while before we get here and maybe will never get there but here’s today’s wild thought about the future of SEO.