The new “roaring twenties” is upon us! But the new decade will bring with it new technologies that will impact SEO trends, and experts will need to prepare for them. This will present a huge challenge for even the most seasoned SEO professionals, as they will need to learn new technologies, tools, and best practices if they want to implement a successful SEO strategy.
Here are 4 SEO challenges you’ll need to prepare for sooner rather than later:
1. Optimizing for Visual Search
Before 2017, all online searches were text-based. There was no way for a consumer to upload an image online and then get recommendations for products or content similar to that image. But when Google Lens and Pinterest Lens were launched in 2017, that all changed. Just a year later, Pinterest Lens had more than 600 million visual searches, and two years later, Google Lens had more than a billion visual search inquiries.
The challenge for most businesses is that you have to have the right system in place to make visual search possible, which means making adjustments to your website. There are three types of visual search you need to prepare for:
- Image Meta Search: This visual search option uses text-based queries based on images tagged with metadata. For example, you could tag your products with file names, alt tags, and descriptions based on the content of the image. Then, SEO would match your image to a query based on the metadata. This is the most widely used visual search navigation, which invariably is limited by words.
- Reverse Image Search: Instead, you could upload an example image and then get similar search engine results based on your image source. This type of visual search is powered by content-based image retrieval (CBIR), which analyzes content based on color, shape, texture, and other image-related information.
- Snap and Search: This final visual search tool uses image recognition technology, powered by computer vision, to identify different objects in images. It can look at more than just a simple product, and instead analyze everything from logos to places, people, and buildings to recognize shapes, colors, etc. and return similar items.
To take advantage of visual search, you need to create more content using image SEO best practices. That means:
- Adding your images to your XML sitemaps
- Naming your images properly based on descriptors
- Adding titles and alt tags to all images
- Surrounding your images with the right textual context so that search engines understand
2. Optimizing for Voice Search
The challenge is that voice search and text search are not the same. Voice search follows more natural language processing (NLP), which is often a different pattern or way of asking the same question in text. For example, you might type the question “Disney vacation plan,” but you would never say something like that out loud. Instead, you might ask, “give me a vacation plan for Disney next summer.” The best content is optimized for both types of searches.
To get started optimizing for voice search on your website:
- Start using more long-tail keywords that match the longer wording of voice search—this helps you to rank for featured snippets.
- Use question phrases that begin with who, what, when, where, why, how, and total. Answer the Public is a helpful research tool for this.
- Create more content that a 9th grader could read—catering to the masses more than the experts.
- Use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper tool to optimize your website for voice search.
- Create more local content, since 22% of all voice queries are used for finding local information.
3. The Growth of AI
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is reshaping SEO. It uses advanced machine learning algorithms to identify patterns in data to gather real-time, accurate information, evaluate content quality, and segment target markets.
What this means is that Google and other search engines are relying on AI to process billions of search queries a day and provide the most relevant results. It’s made technical SEO more abstract and difficult to master for many marketers. For example, Google uses the AI algorithm RankBrain to deliver exact results to search queries before providing a list of other search results.
If you want to get the most out of your SEO with AI in the mix, you need to:
- Stop stuffing your content with keywords, and instead create content that’s associated with a specific concept, category, or query if you want to rank well in the algorithm for more specific audiences.
- As mentioned above, align your content with both visual and voice search so that machine learning algorithms can gather the right data from your website.
- Use AI-powered advanced analytics to determine how your website is performing online and to optimize for better results. For example, cluster analysis can help you pull together content/objects in similar categories to create a pillar resource.
4. AR and VR
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are already having a huge impact on SEO and link building best practices.
- AR uses technology to overlay online visuals into the real world. For example, the Pokemon Go app adds Pokemon to the real world.
- VR creates a simulated environment that the user can experience through sight and sound. For example, virtual showrooms and 3D vision fall under this category.
For SEO, these two technologies are ranking more and more with search engines or being used by consumers to search for information online. For example, Google is already testing AR apps that may allow users to hold up their phone to a business to see Google reviews, menus, and other key information. Geotargeting may also be combined with AR for location-based searches. For example, the Ikea Place app allows consumers to see what Ikea furniture looks like in their own home.
The key thing to note for VR and AR is that it enhances the user experience and creates more engagement. The more engaged your consumers, ultimately, the better your SEO ranking. For example, social engagement is directly connected to a change in SEO rank. Immersive website experiences also impact SEO by reducing your bounce rate, which enhances SEO.
The Future of SEO
SEO is changing quickly and constantly. Best-in-class brands need to stay on top of the latest technologies to keep up with the trends to continue ranking well. It’s not enough to just stick with old SEO methods; you have to prepare to use the tools and best practices that match Google’s algorithms such as visual and voice search, AI, and VR/AR.
To make sure your SEO keeps up with the times and stays ahead of your competition, contact Keyscouts today.