The Google team is extremely good at communicating the most recent changes to their products and services. Also, from time to time, they go beyond the here and now and discuss potential developments of the internet and the way people will use Google Search in the future. This is exactly what happened during a recent podcast with John Mueller and Gary Illyes – Webmaster Trends Analysts and Martin Splitt – Developer Relations at Google. The three specialists ventured to discuss various SEO predictions.
Why Do We Share SEO Trends by Google?
We cannot be sure if all of these SEO trends will actually come true. But we know that if top Google specialists discuss them, there is a high likelihood that they may actually happen sooner or later. After all, Mueller, Illyes and Splitt are some of the veterans in the Google Team. They have seen Google Search move through its various stages of development, to the current state.
Also, looking at the predictions we will discuss in this article, they make a lot of sense. The way Google is reshaping its tools and services indicates a specific move towards a clear direction. This direction involves:
- Simpler access to Google’s products and services
- Ease of use of various tools, which used to be highly technical
- A holistic approach to all of Google’s services (all in one place approach).
What Do Google Techs Predict about the Future of SEO?
Let us explore in detail the SEO predictions presented and debated during the Search Off the Record podcast with John Mueller, Gary Illyes and Martin Splitt.
1. SEOs Will Not Need to Learn Coding
Currently, there is a SEO trend saying that SEOs and anyone managing their own SEO strategy should learn HTML at least at average level. This would allow them to implement on-page SEO more effectively and without having to hire a web developer whenever they need to make changes.
According to John Mueller, this trend will soon dwindle and go away. CRMs (website backends) become increasingly intuitive and user friendly. Using various add-ons and plug-ins (such as the YOAST SEO plugin for WordPress) anyone can add meta tags, title tags and ALT text for website images.
However, Gary Illyes believes that SEOs should at least acquire basic HTML skills, at least to the extent of understanding how page titles and snippets will appear in search results.
- Adding multimedia
- Animating images
- Serving dynamic content to different user types.
According to the Google techs, these code bits will become increasingly important for SEO, as web pages and apps become more and more interchangeable. Users want to experience a seamless interaction with brands on any platform and any device. On the other hand, brands what to measure and understand user behaviour across all these platforms.
This will be possible by developing progressive web apps (PWA), which will achieve both goals – both for users and for companies.
3. The URL Is Here to Stay
One of the alarming SEO predictions for brands that were floating around on the internet said that URLs will be replaced by IP addresses and other entities. Gary Illyes hastened to dispel this idea:
“Fortunately, URLs cannot go away […] The same way domain names cannot go away because of how the Internet is built […] The same way, URLs cannot go away.”
Martin Splitt nuanced this statement, to indicate that there is just a bit of truth in the rumours shared by other SEOs. He explained that URLs are evolving, in the same way in which internet addresses changed from IPV4 to IPV6. Thus, they may look different in the future, but they will not disappear.
4. New Meta Tags Are Unlikely to Appear
So far, you have a lot of on-page elements to check in order to make sure that each page is SEO optimised. What if there will be more of them in the future? This would mean more work for you.
However, this is one of the SEO predictions that Google techs dismissed categorically. For Martin Splitt and John Mueller there is “very rarely a good reason” to add a new type of meta tag to the existing list. In Splitt’s words, the Google team is “pushing back quite aggressively” any attempt to do so.
5. Voice Search Is a Passing Trend
For some time now, many SEO specialists, including us, advised business owners to and marketers to optimise their website for voice search with Q&A pages, detailed FAQ page and a focus on natural language in key phrases.
While these are best practices that can only make your website more helpful for users, voice search is not likely to be a big thing in future SEO trends. Martin Splitt explained his belief by stating that there is no significant drop in the use of keyboard input for search queries, despite the wide availability of digital assistants.
Gary Illyes concluded the topic on a humorous note:
“I think we are going to experiment with just projecting our thoughts into search engines and then that’s how we are going to find things.”
Now, that is an interesting thought for the (maybe not so) distant future!
6. The Role of Content in SEO
We reach one of the SEO trends that you were waiting for. What happens to content? Will you still need to write your own content, or will you able to rely on AI? For Gary Illyes, AI will soon be able to generate content indistinguishable from articles written by humans.
However, Google will not let robots take over content writing. At the present any machine generated piece of content must be reviewed by a person before being published. Otherwise, Google will not rank it.
This is one of the SEO trends that will give you peace of mind – you will be able to be assisted by smart bots, without being completely replaced by them. At least, not as long as Google has a say in it.
7. Structured Data May Become Less Important
Finally, in answer to many webmasters’ questions, Martin Splitt shed light on the issue of structured data. Will they continue to be so important for Google in understanding what a website is about?
This is one of the SEO trends that may go away. However, as Splitt put it, even if structured data may not be absolutely needed, “it’s kind of nice to have this explicit machine-readable information”, a sort of “glorified meta tag”.
Google techs envision the future of SEO as simpler, and easier to manage by companies with the aid of AI or by removing elements that are no longer relevant. These SEO trends are in line with the increasingly automated world we live in, not just while doing a Google search.
One thing is certain: SEO will never go away. It will continue to evolve and change direction. But it will continue to play a key role for companies that want to get found by potential clients in Google searches.