It is really hard making predictions for search engine optimization.
Experts working within this niche are affected by technological changes. This makes it practically impossible to know what will happen tomorrow. Only Google can answer that question.
Still, there are some things we can call a certainty.
Let’s check all the major changes that are likely to happen within the next couple of years.
Internet security will improve
Even if you’re coming from a country with a high cybercrime rate, where people are exploiting e-commerce sites in particular, you probably feel safer today than you did several years ago.
The trend of improving site security is becoming highly visible throughout the Web. Given that online shoppers can order goods from all over the globe, countries with underdeveloped systems need to keep up the pace in order to stay competitive.
But this isn’t the only reason why website security will improve.
Cybercrime is a fast growing area and organizations constantly have to invent new methods that will keep them safe. Regardless of where you live, companies are doing their best to protect both themselves and their visitors.
This can be seen through the migration from HTTP to HTTPS protocol.
The trend has become so common that you have to switch to HTTPS like it or not. Google is down ranking sites that don’t have a secure encryption. It directly affects your SEO performance and our profession in general.
When creating a new website for a client, you need to consider all the security aspects. Be certain that Google is considering them as well.
In other words, unless you’re able to have a secured site, there is no point in even creating one. Because of this fact, owners and SEOs will do everything to protect their sites driving the whole Internet upwards.
Graphic and visual content will become more relevant
We are experiencing an extreme shift in generations.
While older generations are slow adapters when it comes to technology, younger people simply have to have latest mobile device, gadget or application. This has gone really far and it even shows trough recent drop in desktop usage while mobile devices are on the rise.
In a way, this technological dependence makes sense: our time is very limited and majority of people lose about 10 hours per day just working. This leaves us with very little time to read and get informed. All the information we get, we get them from our smartphones.
This doesn’t only affect the devices we use; it also affects the type of content we consume.
Basically, it is much easier to check a short video than to read a 500 word article. As a result, graphic solutions such as infographics and videos will likely to have more views in future. Google has also noticed this change and nowadays you can find much more video results in the top 10 results.
Younger generations also have shorter attention span (on average) as they are raised with all this technology. This is precisely why videos suit them better.
When talking about a particular types of content, I already mentioned infographics that have been around for a while. But there is a form that might even overtake them and that is explainer videos.
This short form video usually lasts for one to three minutes and is used to explain or define something. This makes it ideal for commuters who need both visual and audio. While written texts require your full attention, you can turn on explainer video while commuting in your car. It doesn’t require any additional engagement and that is precisely why I predict that this type of video content will become more popular in the upcoming years.
SEO Audits will become more sought after
Even though most sites perform SEO website audits from time to time, it isn’t something that is often mentioned. You won’t see it in the limelight or discussed by the SEO community. However, it is undeniable this this aspect is crucial for your company.
So, why do I think that audits will become important in the following period?
Search engine optimization has gone a long way in the last several years. We are no longer affected by one or two factors. You can no longer spam keywords within your article and meta description or get numerous irrelevant links to your pages in order to boost them. Google has become much more sophisticated.
Sites have to consider various aspects such as security, having a mobile version, speed, architecture, individual pages, link profile etc. There are so many factors that can pull you down and only by performing a thorough analysis can you discover what’s wrong and where you can improve.
RankBrain is another factor that will increase the popularity of SEO audits. As user-based factors become more important, there will be much more things you need to consider. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if companies start analyzing their individual pages more thoroughly.
Website speed will increase in importance
Based on everything that has been said so far, it is easy to understand how website speed is going to be important in the forthcoming years. I mean, it already is important.
For me, website speed is bit of a conflicting topic. Let me elaborate.
Although users require responsive pages, they also like pages with a nice design. Those two simply do not mix as intricate site design usually affects loading speed.
Even though you need to hasten your pages for Google search engine, you still have to make them appealing enough so that users respond to them and are more engaged.
Regardless, website speed as a factor will continue being more and more important. I think that in future, slow sites will become down ranked by Google given how user-focused the most popular search engine is. Still, you will have to find a balance where you’re able to pull off a nice looking design without sacrificing too much speed.
I see 2017 as a transitional period. Hopefully, in the next years we will learn more about Google’s future intentions especially in regards to RankBrain, links and user engagement factors.
At this point, we know that Google wishes sites to be more user-friendly, faster, with diversified content that will leave a long lasting impression on its users.