Today we will try our best to see the future of SEO with the present available knowledge in the sky of world-wide-web.
Why Future: Aren’t we making with present tricks and techniques of SEO, driving bus-loads of traffic to our blog? Why waste time gazing the crystal ball?
Do you think – people are still following their styles, which were considered the hottest trend in their time? Nope! Not at all.
Just like above, buying 100 links for 1$ and putting meta-tags in all possible permutation and combination is no more in use. The SEO practices or trends which were considered hot in yesteryears is no more hot.
If the webmasters and SEOs while buying bagful of links would have given some thought about future of SEO; they wouldn’t have beaten by Panda and Penguin today.
Moral of The Story: Don’t be carried away with the current trend. Don’t go overboard with the hypothesized future trend. Adopt a route which is in between present and future. Which is evergreen.
Common formula to predict the future of SEO
Let’s find out a base formula or concept, which will help us to derive all the future trends of SEO.
The main aim of all the search engines including Google is to earn money. They are here to do their business. And, they know, the best way to be on the top is – by providing better customer care, or better user experience.
According to Google – If content are for people, let them decide their rankings in the SERPs. Instead of the publishers. Google is gradually taking away the command and control of content from publishers and handing over to people or users to rank them in search results.
One thing is clear – Google is, and will be focusing more and more on Better User Experience to rule the web. And to earn more revenue.
So, Better User Experience will be our common formula to predict the future of SEO.
1. Time Spent
If Google will give electoral power to people to decide the rankings of content in SERPs, then “Time Spent” will be the biggest search engine ranking signal in future.
Everybody knows links are the currency of the web. But gradually, Google search engine algorithm is moving away from links and focusing more on site usage or interaction of people with your content.
Recently Google owned YouTube has added time watched as a ranking factor to promote engaging videos. Google says – Less clicking and more viewing will benefit your channel if your video drive more viewing time across YouTube.
So, get ready to see time spent as a search engine ranking signal for content in future. The more compelling your content, the more will be the time spent by the web-surfers, and the higher ranking it will achieve in the search results.
This search engine algorithm is completely based on better user experience. Here, consumers will decide which sites should rank higher in Google.
Let’s create some awesome stuff to take advantage of time spent as a ranking signal in future.
2. Social Signal
Do you think – Social networking has peaked out? No. It’s a perceptional bias. Since last couple of years experts are feeling social media has reached its highest point, and now it will gradually go through a decline phase.
In fact, all the social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter or Google+ are adding millions of users every month. No doubt, they are growing, and will be growing for next 4 to 5 years atleast.
Although Google has been telling it has added social signal while ranking content, it is still struggling to incorporate Facebook and Twitter in its search algorithm. In a recent SES (Search Engine Strategies) meeting Matt Cutts has admitted they don’t crawl Twitter fully. May be Twitter’s infrastructure is not ready to take the load.
Some of the best minds of the World’s are working in Google. Today or tomorrow, they will definitely find out some ways and means to blend the social signal better while ranking content in SERPs.
Again – likes, tweets and G+s by people will decide the fate of your content. Moreover, your influence in social media circle will matter a lot. If your friends and followers are famous people or social influencers, or you have a great fan following on top social networking sites, then you are on advantage.
3. Author Rank
Mark my words, Google’s author rank will be the next big thing in SE ranking, and will impact future of SEO in a big way.
Since 2005, Google has started a project to promote content in search results on the basis of popularity and authority of the authors. That time, Google had patented the term “Agent Rank” also. But, due to the lack of resources to claim authorship in a transparent way Google was silent till yesterday.
Now the field is set. With the roll out of Google Authorship (tying your Google+ profiles with your content in SERPs), the hunt for quality authors is on. When Google will gather sufficient data about high quality content creators/authors, it will announce author rank as a search engine signal.
When people will search something in Google, they will see content of their favorite authors ranking higher in search results. It will not replace the traditional age old Page Rank for ranking content. Instead, author rank will supplement Page Rank to promote content in search results.
Factors Influencing Author Rank: +1 shares of posts, comments on the post along with your interaction with the commenters, posting frequency, Google+ engagement level, page rank of the site and authority of the site.
Biggest Threats to Your Author Rank:
1. Guest posting using guest blogging communities. I mean, where the site’s sole intention is to promote guest posts.
2. promoting content on blog networks.
3. Keyword stuffing, grammatical mistakes and spinning articles will definitely ruin your author rank.
The day is not far. May be tomorrow, or after six months. But Google is trying hard to add author rank as a ranking signal to serve better content to its users.
Google is trying its best to identify users’ intention to serve them better content. To some extent it has gotten success also.
Now, it’s time to integrate author intention as a search engine algorithm to rank content in search results.
So, what actually is author intention? It is the level of honesty and dedication with which you produce your content. How much information you share with your readers, transparently, and linking to other sites as sources.
The more compelling, the more open, and the content with more in-depth analysis will be ranked higher. Content created with sole intention of driving traffic applying cheap SEO tactics will be demoted.
Of course, it’s a challenge for Google to incorporate author intention to SE algorithm. But, sooner or later it will happen. And, when it will come, billions of sites will suffer just like the suffering after Panda and Penguin.
5. Criminal Record
Sounds funny! But, it will be a fact in the future of SEO.
Google will apply all the criminal records of your site to judge your content while ranking. Like DMCA Requests, Google Panda penalty, Google Penguin penalty and any sorts of online spammy activities.
In future, there will be no place for criminals to hide.
6. Over-optimization Penalty
This much talked about penalty is about to come. Over optimization is much more prevalent than you think.
Webmasters and SEOs are over optimizing their content in an effort to rank higher. In Google’s eye, anything which tricks its search algorithm is punishable.
Over optimization like – repetition or over use of targeted keywords in URL, article heading (H1) and H2 tags. Repetition of H1 tag in content. Repetition of keywords in meta-description which shows on SERPs.
In fact, it includes all the on-page SEO tactics you employ to optimize your content for better ranking. Just like – Excess of everything is always bad; Excess of SEO is always bad.
Result : Create content for people instead of search engines. Let people SEO (Search Engine Optimize) your content instead of you. Make compelling content keeping an eye not only on the present trends, but also on the future of SEO.