One of the most common questions I get is what the future of SEO looks like. Above all, I often read about findings that it would be impossible to know what Google will come up with next. This isn't quite right, let me explain why.
What we don't know
We don't know exactly is how Google's algorithm will change, but Google itself doesn't know that either. Which means we'll never be able to do that.
What we know
We know what search engines like Google want to accomplish, and that's the most important thing. Since Google was founded 20 years ago, they have always had the same goal and that is to deliver as relevant search results as possible. When I started with search engine optimization (SEO) 14 years ago, Google was still a primitive search tool that was relatively easy to manipulate. Today it is virtually impossible and the role of SEO is constantly changing. Today, it is much more important to make users happy than robots.
We can predict the future is about understanding intentions. Google does all its updates for the same reason. The goal is always to reward relevance and punish pages that don't meet quality requirements, such as not having unique content or natural links. So if you are working to always offer relevant content, to create value, and follow the technical guidelines available, then you are on the right path.
Things to consider for the future
1. Mobile first
The term Mobile First you have heard before, but that mobile has grown and passed the number of desktop users back in 2016, it tends to be forgotten. The development has a strong focus on mobile, so today it should be obvious to reward the mobile experience and meet the customer where it is. So if today you rank well on desktop, it does not mean that you are automatically strong in the mobile search.
Keep thinking Mobile First in all communications to ensure a strong presence in the mobile search results.
2. User experience
An example of that is how much more emphasis Google has placed on page speed, which is clearly only about wanting users to have a pleasant user experience from the search results Google presents.
Thinking about UX is future-proof, but don't make the mistake of too stripped down because Google still has a hard time valuing content-thin web pages. There's a reason why average first-place finishes on Google average about 1,900 words.
3. Voice search
In mid-August this year, Google Assistant was launched in Swedish, which is a major step for the future of voice search in Sweden. You don't have to latch on to all the trends that are apparent, but it's important to keep an eye on how user behavior strains.
There are ways to optimize for voice search right now and we continue to monitor the evolution of search behavior.
4. Artificial Intelligence
Google's search engine is already based in part on Artificial Intelligence (AI) or machine learning in the past, and is one of the most important aspects of how a page ranks. Google's AI is called RankBrain and works primarily to understand behaviors. Pogo sticking is a perfect example of how RankBrain monitors behaviors and predicts whether people get what they're looking for when they click on a result in the search results.
As AI gets smarter, Black Hat SEO will decrease at an even higher rate, and the importance of great content and a great experience will become increasingly important.
Focus on your users' intentions and behavior, and you'll always develop your web page in parallel with Google's development.