What will SEO look like in five years time?

To feel comfortable enough working within the world of organic search you also have to be very comfortable with change. SEO is constantly undergoing changes, it can be expected that in the five short years between now and 2020, Google will have an entire zoo worth of updates to go along with Panda, Penguin, Pigeon, and Hummingbird.

No one can predict the future, we know that, but with the evidence already laid out for us we can have a pretty good go at it! In this blog post we’re going to make four predictions centred around what we believe SEO will look like in five years time.

Prediction One: Content must be authoritative to succeed!

If you’ve read a few of our blogs already then you’ll know that content is best when it’s written about a niche topic and aimed at a specific audience. The problem that we predict arising in five years’ time is that these niche clusters will begin to get crowded, making it more difficult to stand out.

We also predict that generic link-building techniques (black or white hat) such as, keyword stuffing (very black), and relationship building (very white) will begin to fail.

If the above predictions do happen then the only possible (free) avenue left will be to create absolutely outstanding content that will be noticed as authoritative within your industry, and ultimately gain the attention of the right people.

Prediction Two: Google will become more human!

Google’s Hummingbird update is kind of old news by now. But, imagine if someone told you five years ago that you’d be able to type conversational text into Google, no emphasis on keywords, and it would understand you. I’m guessing you’d be pretty freaked out. However, thanks to Hummingbird that is now the norm. So, five years from now how can we possibly predict just how advanced Google will be?

The worrying thing is that, the more advanced Google gets, the more difficult SEO becomes. Google doesn’t care about your website getting hits (sorry!), Google only cares about helping users find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible. That’s why they make algorithms that can assist them in understanding conversational human dialogue. Check out this quick example below:

I didn’t type the word ‘weather’ into the search bar, but Google knew by the word ‘snow’, and my location, exactly which weather forecast I was looking for. And Google was the only website I had to visit to find out the chances of snow this week, meaning that the three top search results below did not receive any traffic to their site!

If Google continues to move forward like this then we predict that websites will have to rethink the way they place keywords (see prediction four!) and/or look into alternative search engines. There are plenty of people searching within apps, social media, and other sites — If you’ve got video content then it may comfort you to know that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world!

Prediction Three: The ‘Internet of Things’ will have a huge impact!

If you haven’t heard of the Internet of Things yet (IoT) you’ll still know what it means, and you may even own one of these ‘things’. IoT refers to smart technology that’s all linked under one roof. So right now that might refer to your customers’ Smartphones, tablets, laptops, and maybe even TVs.

With this in mind, if you haven’t already, then you should be frantically focusing on optimizing your content and website for mobile devices. Statistics have found that there are roughly 2 billion PCs in the world, and more than 5 billion mobile devices! Most SEO experts are expecting mobile searches to surpass desktop searches before the end of next year.

So, to prepare your SEO for the IoT in five years we suggest you keep an open mind to new devices. We already have wearable technology like Google Glass, and no one can predict the leap technology will take in half a decade. In five years time we might have smart-refrigerators that re-order foods as you run out of them — you never know! For new advances in smart technology, you need to optimize by thinking of what content your customers will be searching for on different devices.

For example, if the smart-fridge does happen then users won’t want to read a 1500 word article about milk on it, they will want short snappy content.

Prediction Four: Keyword placement will become an art!

Some people have predicted that keyword data will become redundant in the near future as technology gets more personalised and gains a higher understanding of our needs. But, the bottom line remains: no form of technology will have the power to automatically predict what users want without the expression of language. It’s impossible — at least until a mind-reading device is created.

So, as we approach the future we simply have to get a little bit more technical with how we place keywords. Here at Keyword Eye, we predict that in five years the only type of keywords that will have any worth will be longtail keywords that are dispersed naturally. Keywords that appeal to users in their own language, preferably the exact language that they type into search engines. Focus should be shifted from keywords as ‘objects’ and more towards what keywords mean to your users.

Final Thoughts

So, it looks like we have some trials and tribulations to come in the world of SEO. But also some great advances in technology, with the IoT giving us more data on our users and more ways to reach them. If you continuously utilise your SEO skills, and keep updated within technological advances we’re confident that you’ll be just fine!

If you have any predictions yourself then we’d love to hear from you in the comments box below.


Avatar photo
Written by Jackson Miller

Jackson is a 10-year veteran of the SEO industry with expertise in in-depth keyword research, content marketing, and social media marketing. He shares his knowledge on the KeywordEye blog. Read more of Jackson's articles.