SEO for the Roaring 20s

SEO for the Roaring 20sSEO for the Roaring 20s

What do we know about the future of SEO? Well, to put it simply, Google is putting an emphasis on validating your content and ensuring you're using the best technology available to you. So, how can you get on this train before it leaves the station and you spend the next decade (as many of you spent the last one) trying to play catch-up? Read on and find out!

What SEO Will Look Like by 2030

Expect your SEO to revolve around providing information that is sourced by experts, or at least validated in that way. Google has long been preaching their E-A-T methodology and has clearly been putting effort into ranking those sites that follow those principles and try to increase their validation within the algorithm.

Although some sites will always benefit from default validation through E-A-T principles - like .gov and .edu sites - others can creatively expand on that system by including author bios, expert review profiles, and other features that can ensure you are providing the best possible source of content to users. You can also do smart things such as linking out to resources that validate your expertise and ensure that you are using the latest information in your content.

Other ways of ensuring that your content will rank well will include updating information with time - facts change and the information can and should be improved. Always producing new content ensures that the site in general can get the most out of the search engine, but you need to be inspecting your competitors' sites and making sure you aren’t falling behind.

Finally, you really need to have an overarching strategy for your content that is backed by a healthy amount of SEO research using modern tools like Semrush or Ahrefs.

If you are using an agency to help with your SEO (all the better), then ensure they are giving you a comprehensive strategy that is backed by data. I’ve seen a lot of agencies spring up over the years that win clients with fancy pitch decks and smart sounding strategies, but they deliver low quality execution and content. Get rid of them and find a smart vendor or build your own team!

Your Technology for Your Website

Google is trying to make this painfully clear: if your site isn’t technically optimized and well designed for user experience, with naturally intuitive user interfacing, you will eventually be in a world of hurt. They are making it apparent with their recent Page Experience Update that they want your site to use modern technologies.

Eightfold has emphasized this by using not just React.js to build our front-ends, and modern CMS tools like Strapi and Contentful, but ensuring we use SEO-smart frameworks like Gatsby. You need good technology. It needs to be flexible enough to address marketing needs and changes, but smart enough to ensure your content is fully indexable, loads quickly, and has a perfect user experience.

Using modern technology can not only take the pain out of publication, but also ensure that you aren’t weighed down by platforms that require a variety of plugins and additional javascript features to ensure your content reaches your users when they are actually on the site. Further, it can actually make the experience of those technologies even more effective in the way users interact with the site, and ensure higher conversion rates. Stop using bad technology - it will cost you in the long run.

The weird thing about Google over the last decade is that as they have added new pieces and features to their algorithm, they haven’t really done away with any of the older features of the SEO universe. Links are still important, no matter how much they try to downplay it. You still should have some level of focus around keywords and what you are trying to address. If it’s intuitive for people, it’s intuitive for Google.

Domain rank and authority still have weight, but Google isn’t ignorant to power players in the real world and has given a lot of authority to companies like Home Depot, Walmart, and the newer stalwarts like Amazon.

And there is still plenty of room for new brands and players to come in and disrupt that visibility. The search engines are smart to new players and in-kind, they responded by benefiting those tactically savvy groups with better rankings and allowing them to displace the big hitters when they think the users will benefit.

Content hierarchy and tagging are more important than ever. Without proper structure and form - metadata on up - we can’t tell Google, or our user for that matter, what’s important and what is the focus of this content. It also limits our ability to inspect the performance of the content and make downstream adjustments, or come up with new pieces of content to explore and elaborate upon. Needless to say, we need to have good hierarchy and formatting.

In summary, you need the whole picture. Google hasn’t completely abandoned any part of it’s indexation project, so you can’t just dismiss an aspect of the work, but you can definitely give some areas of the site more weight and focus.

Make Plans, Make Money (Or Something Like That…)

To put it succinctly, you’ll need to start making plans for your site. It’s not enough to work on a 3 - 6 months SEO plan anymore. You need to start looking down the road 3 - 5 years and thinking about how you can rally your efforts around what the foreseeable future looks like, and not get bogged down by any one tactic.

SEO requires a professional, structured approach and shouldn’t be done in a backroom without lots of strategy and influence with all of the other organizational goals. Make plans for the future and integrate them into all of your other content strategies and you’ll have a great decade in SEO!