SEO is one of those terms that gets thrown around a lot, but few (especially if they say SEO optimization!) really understand what it means. Regardless of how much you think you know about SEO, it is always the subject of much conjecture and it is always changing.
Because Google is always changing the way it interprets data, people are always changing the way they search for what they want, and technology companies are constantly bringing out new devices. In other words, the only thing we can be sure of when it comes to SEO, is that we can’t be sure of anything.
The most effective way to get your website to rank both now and in the future is to pay attention to emerging SEO trends and be willing to change your SEO habits often, and sometimes, drastically. Michelle Robbins, Head of Digital at Milestone, gives us her insights into the future of SEO in the latest episode of the Search Engine Journal Show.
What Is SEO Best Practice?
According to Michelle Robbins, consumer behaviour has changed a lot within the past 12 -18 months and the changes in Google are a reflection of that behavioural shift.
“Google’s mission has been to be the one that produces that one best answer. I think that Google has done a better job of getting to where they had always hoped to be.” (source)
In practical terms, the key changes Michelle Robbins highlights are:
- People are getting information from a much broader range of sources, not just a search box.
- People’s interactions with their devices are changing, as is the way they consume information.
An example, is the growth of voice assistants – Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana. Therefore, what was best SEO practice 12 months ago, is no longer best practice today.
Is Traditional SEO Practice Redundant?
Michelle Robbins certainly thinks yes. A narrow focus on keywords is not going to produce the best content. Content stuffed with keywords is not going to resonate with the reader, nor make sense to them, and therefore it won’t be discovered by Google.
“Talk about topics, talk like a real person. Write your content the way writers write stories.” (source)
She also believes old school link building strategies, ones that focus purely on a number without consideration of quality, demonstrate a misunderstanding of Google’s algorithm.
She admits her thinking on keywords and link building is at odds with many industry experts, but she is firm on her position. Instead, she advocates for creativity, a unique perspective and valuable information as the key components of good content.
Future Of SEO: Key Takeaways
- Site Speed – if your site is slow, it will not rank. And as 5G gets rolled out, the bar of what constitutes a fast site is going to be raised. Be prepared to fine-tune your site.
- Google is in a constantly evolving state. Your work is never done.
- Have a strong brand and understand who your customers are.
- Think holistically: Google is important but there are other ways to improve your rankings.
Search Engine Journal Podcast
The Search Engine Journal Show is a fortnightly podcast covering the latest developments in the digital marketing industry. Featuring interviews with industry experts, the SEJ show keeps you informed of emerging trends and best practice guidelines surrounding paid ads, organic SEO, content marketing and social media. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts or listen to episode 158: where search & SEO are heading in 2020.