Does SEO Have a Future?

There are questions about the future of search engine optimization as a marketing asset. Most of the doubt’s come from Google’s quashing of free organic visibility. Google would prefer to see the end to SEO.

And pundits did loudly predict the death of SEO for more than a decade now, yet it’s just kept rising in importance.  As ad rates climb and conversion rates fall, SEO’s dollar value and ROI is immense.  We all need leads and to build customer loyalty. Advanced SEO does this and more.

As long as there is a searcher and content for them to access, SEO strategists will be at work to bring the two together. We’re the matchmakers businesses love.  SEO will never die. It solves consumer’s needs too well.

The only reason SEO is subject to doubt is due to Google’s prison-like caging — the company’s desire to turn real life into a zoo it can make money off of.  Google’s windfall though is coming to an end. Whenever something reaches its extreme, it reverts to the opposite. Which is why we should get involved in the anti-trust investigations and push to eliminate the monopolies. If this happens, the forecast for SEO would be sunny.

Crushing Organic Visibility

Google has crushed visibility with a number of techniques. The reason — to force businesses to pay for advertising. By monetizing everything, Google’s created trillions of profits for itself in the last 18 years. Yet, small business and small publishers have been badly injured because of these business practices.

There is talk of anti-trust, anti-monopoly action from government, but few believe it will result in renewed competition. Google’s search dominance may never end due to political protection from US governments. That would lead us to believe that Google will retain total power to reduce free visibility even further.

Yet eventually, their system and monopoly will become too much of an economic burden. Since deglobalization is trending now, it stands to reason Google will be controlled and online competition will be stimulated.

If the company was broken up and it lost its 90% share, it would create new search engine competition and that would lead to increased organic exposure for everyone. That scenario is the most optimistic picture. The most likely picture is the increased use of better advanced SEO pros + AI technology to capture the available organic traffic from an all-controlling Google.

SEO will always exist simply because B2B and B2C buyers look for information, products and services to satisfy whatever need they have. Knowing a little about the current playing field and future outlooks can help you formulate your new advanced SEO strategy.

Google’s AI Automation Dream May End

Systems such as Google’s Rankbrain attempt to usurp the user experience by replacing natural human search experiences it with “pre-established” sequences of content for users. That would threaten businesses by downgrading all the other content that doesn’t match their preconfigured “experience” scheme.

RankBrain is a component of Google’s core algorithm which uses machine learning (the ability of machines to teach themselves from data inputs) to determine the most relevant results to search engine queries — From

Data inputs is the operative phrase.  It means they’re using databases to replace human judgement.  What Google thinks searchers should see, might not be what consumers really want.  Generalities never fulfill individuals.

That AI driven algorithmic change has affected search results greatly, and lessened the degree to which other content gets seem. Google’s belief is that their system can replace normal human research and investigation, which they believe is flawed, subject to spam and misinformation, and crime — or that searchers are simply stupid.

They’ll continue to push for total Orwellian AI-driven control of the information quest. Google continues to tighten the core algorithm which favors content from specific providers deemed “credible authorities” in a topic. These are web publishers they approve of (Google is a major financial contributor to the US Democrat party).  Outliers who are not connected to that core group of publishers will see increasing difficulty in capturing visibility on Google search.

Google, the global predator is the problem. A new US government is the solution. We’ll see what happens in the upcoming mid term elections. So far, the Republicans aren’t talking much about competition in the marketplace. The Democrats were much ado about it, but did absolutely nothing (vote pandering).

Analytics Solutions Guide SEO Strategy

AI SEO vendors are building systems that analyze algorithm changes, to automatically draw an understanding of Google’s factors and ranking weighting.  Success is limited, but we know they’ll improve.

There’s little doubt this can help an advanced SEO consultant. If SEO consultants have access to these AI SEO tools, they can use them to orchestrate both onsite and offsite SEO, and perhaps guide offline engineering of SEO inputs.

The AI SEO software available is shallow and primitive, but we can expect these systems to improve where they offer the kind of sophisticated insights that advanced SEOs can actually to direct our sophisticated strategies.

As an example of this, these systems provide a more holistic overview of all ranking assets and how they work together. A simple conclusion then is the advanced SEO consultant would have much better control of his/her strategy and then produce better results (including eliminating wasted ranking power). Certainly, there could be much better focus using monitoring and analytics SEO tools.

The Rise of AI SEO

AI guided systems use computing power for analytics well beyond what an expert human analyst using Google analytics would. These systems can see trends, patterns and relationships in data and entities that may prove vital to any SEO campaign. And it moves them into the realm of prescriptive analytics to guide current content development and SEO activity.

The rise of AI SEO systems will definitely impact SEO overall and improve ROI.

The idea being pushed is that AI SEO systems will figure out the ranking factors, weighting of algorithms and then produce content that matches Google’s algorithm without an SEO pro. Using the same natural language processing that Google uses, they might create content that seems human-generated and win the ranking wars.  Ostensibly, the AI system would also do everything with minimal human input. That view of the future is tainted.

Marketer’s Machines vs Google’s RankBrain Machine?

In reality, AI needs inputs from humans. For instance, AI can’t see offline marketing activity and Google can’t either. Offline activity is very influential, and Google has no connection to social media either. Branding too has big power to influence human valuation of content, content engagement and value propositions — something Google nor AI can interpret.

Branding is a much bigger factor in SEO than anyone is willing to admit. AI systems can’t gauge individual human emotion.

Google’s system however has evolved immensely in detecting spam and contrived content. It’s recently punished a site that was using scraped, AI-generated content. Often, these SEO software products insert keywords in mechanical fashion to match a general guideline. Of course, this type of auto-optimization makes it easy for Google to spot AI produced content and demote it.

Thus Google deems non-human involved content as perhaps spammy and low quality.

The key point might be that although businesses will need AI SEO software to optimize content, it will be humans that make it strategically effective.

AI Generating Highest Quality Original Content?

As we well know, researching and creating content is hard work and requires significant mental analysis, creativity and imagination in presenting it persuasively to real human readers (customers who know the difference). Currently, AI systems scrape content on the web and reproduce a version of that collection for publication. That is not validated, authoritative content, and Google is most likely preparing for the auto generated spam that is coming their way.

What will the future bring for organic search engine content marketing? Here’s 21 top changes that might dominate advanced SEO strategies:

  1. personalized search results
  2. more pre-conceived AI generated content stream experiences for searchers
  3. more reliance on advanced SEO strategists to remain competitive
  4. increased use of fast servers and delivery platforms (Google AMP)
  5. user engagement becoming an increasing ranking factor
  6. less visibility for sites with fewer inbound links and lower PageRank (domain and page authority)
  7. increasing use of anti-optimization filters and penalties
  8. lower and slower Googlebot spidering for low domain authority sites (no way to stay fresh)
  9. anti-AI content filters to limit automated content networks
  10. businesses will focus more on creating authoritative content and strong branding
  11. more refreshing and enhancement of aging content
  12. improved analytics and predictive analytics results in better performance
  13. more emphasis on blogs as the core content experience of a website
  14. video may have more influence on non-video rankings
  15. bigger rift between Google and social media companies
  16. AI SEO software used to reverse engineer Google’s algorithm
  17. greater emphasis by big companies to control content networks (buying them or creating partnerships to aggregate ranking power, and get rid of competitors on those channels)
  18. more use of SEO to build impact, significance and memorable experiences
  19. protection from hacking will grow in demand
  20. Google will push emphasis from traffic to engagement and conversion signals
  21. keyword usage will be more sophisticated with stemmed variations, synonyms and related words as Google tries to evolve further away from a keyword dependency.

The next 5 years will be more interesting for businesses as they are forced to upgrade all of their marketing since it affects their ranking results. Business owners and marketers will use SEO analytics to improve their branding, conversion funnel, and customer loyalty. What was neglected before will have to be taken care of.

The best way to create success in the next 5 years is to hire a talented advanced SEO consultant. Focus on your overall strategy as a way to master Google and keep competitors from eroding your marketshare.

Contact Gord at 416 998 6246 to get your search engine optimization strategy on a solid footing, with techniques that will grow traffic and increase conversions.

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