Over the next five years, SEO won’t make dramatic changes to our websites. However, we’ll definitely see significant changes. Gone are the days when a marketing team could simply add links or other on-page SEO techniques to make a website perform better.
An Alt-Tag Will Replace a Featured Image
Up until now, the featured image in search results was one of the most effective on-page SEO techniques.
But, with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), that isn’t the case anymore. Google is only interested in showing relevant content to users and the most engaging elements of it.
And that’s why over the next five years, SEO will focus on on-page SEO like an alt-tag, which is an image tagged with a meta description that appears above the listing.
On-Page SEO Will Improve Proximity Queries
Think about proximity keywords. They are phrases like “destinations” or “plants” that are used in search queries to narrow the results.
But, you’ll notice that Google doesn’t show all the sites that have the exact keywords in proximity. Instead, it shows the ones with the most relevant websites. What it does do, though, is make it much harder to rank highly for a website with exact keyword phrases.
But, by improving proximity queries, you can easily make your website rank higher.
No Short Form Keywords Will Rank Higher Than Long Form Keywords
Short-form keywords are a good fit for most websites, especially niche sites. Long-form keywords are great for big brands with a ton of relevant content. But, to rank for long-form keywords, you’ll need more than a keyword-heavy site. In fact, you’ll need a short-form site with all the relevant, relevant content.
So, over the next five years, you’ll see more site owners use short-form keywords. But, there will be a trend of websites leveraging long-form keywords for a different purpose.
Small Businesses Will Win Over Multinational Brands
While small business websites are the most commonly used for on-page SEO, they are no longer the most competitive. In fact, most of the major brands have mastered on-page SEO techniques.
Google can now rank any company with a good website. So, instead of investing your resources in a small business with a bad website, you can focus on reaching more users and more relevant pages.
Your Copy Will Matter More Than the Quality of Your Images
You’ve probably heard this before. The quality of your images won’t matter. It’ll all be about your copy. The thing is, we know that that’s not the case. We see it every day. Even with the best image on your website, Google can still find it irrelevant.
But, with the on-page SEO techniques discussed in this article, you’ll be able to rank for important keywords like keywords, your website will be optimized for keywords.
You’ll Use “Smarter” Phrases to Rank for Keywords
For example, if you’re searching for a restaurant, your usual phrase is likely going to be “dining in.” But, you might start seeing things like “go-to restaurant” or “popular place to dine.”
Google care about how you ask a question, so it’ll display the phrases that you use the most often.
Links Will Become A More Important Niche SEO Tool Than Keywords
We’ve discussed how links are a way to rank. But, as the rankings move away from keywords and start to shift towards links, you’ll be using keywords less.
You’ll see links used in places they’ve never been used before.
While links have always been a significant part of SEO, we’re about to start seeing more organic links coming from other SEO-optimized websites.
More Efficient Search Ads Will Impact SEO
Back in 2014, Google began experimenting with Search Ads, which are ads that are injected directly into search results. While they’ve been controversial for many reasons, most SEOs agree that there are positive aspects to Search Ads. You’ll likely start seeing more Search Ads used over the next five years. And they’re an effective way to get people to click on a link and get them to take a specific action.
You’ll need to figure out how to avoid the by creating great content on your website.
Machine Learning Will Impact SEO
We’re also about to start seeing more machine learning (ML) and AI in search. Machine learning is an important part of most applications — for example, in language translation or image recognition. However, these systems aren’t applied as search ranking signals.
You’ll start to see this kind of technology applied more and more in order to improve search results.
The Conversions Effect Will Still Be A Big Problem
While Google is getting better at understanding people, it’s still pretty tricky to understand how people navigate your website. That means that it can be difficult for people to find the information they need on your website, and that they might not get to the right pages of your site even if they did. This is where you’ll need to put more work into your content strategy. You’ll have to build products and features that will help people navigate your website and find what they’re looking for.
You’ll also want to do this on a smaller scale by testing these tools and improving your conversion rate over time.
More Transparency Will Help Get Searches Right
Right now, search engines offer very little transparency in the results they show. While they tell you some things about the content on your website, this isn’t much help if you’re searching for something specific.
You could make the search terms broader to get the searchers’ attention, but that’s only going to confuse them.
This allows searchers to understand how and why search results are relevant to their queries. As a result, they’ll be more likely to see their desired results rather than the sites they end up on.