The search results pages of
popular search engines are
changing dramatically into far
more dynamic resources. Is
your digital presence ready;
is it future proofed?
Many of the search engine optimization industry
elite today believe both Google and Bing
SERPs will look, perform and act far differently
in the future — we’re looking at you Google
Glasses. But will the search results pages of
search engines, the primary source of traffic for
a vast majority of websites, actually be unlike
today’s? And will future SEO demand that big
brands, small companies and startup enterprises
change the tactics they currently use to acquire visitors
from those sources?
There’s a different way to think of the future. Perhaps
what will change most about SEO is how those
responsible for its success (defined as gaining more
qualified unique visitors from the likes of Google
and Bing’s unpaid search results) approach the practice
on the whole. In the future, top search rankings
will be the product of a more proactive and comprehensive
plan covering the entire digital experience.
This could result in smarter design and broader, yet
more relevant awareness initiatives, and even a more
profitable experience for the business itself.
So, what should your brand expect? How can your
SEO team future proof its efforts? Let’s explore what
the future may hold and how enterprises can prepare.
DESIGN a SMARTER Web
There's a reason that HTML5 and CSS3 have entered
the digital media professional's lexicon. They're important to a broad range of marketing and technical
responsibilities, as important to SEO as it is to digital
For example, CSSs provides SEOs the ability to
separate style from content, just the type of data that
search engines seek out, process and return in the
form of search results. Separating stylistic elements
from the data, enables search engines to better and
more efficiently match documents (e.g. Web pages)
to queries, because they are able to more clearly and
quickly understand the context.
Approaching the search engines in the future with
a smarter design will be one of the main roads toward
natural search marketing success. And there are considerations
that you should be making right now. For
example, there’s a reason that both search engines have
publicly shown their support for the use of responsive
Web design (RWD), which forces the prioritization of
content based on device type (removing the unnecessary
elements in some instances).
But RWD isn’t the lone answer. There is another
one: clean up your code. Many sites using responsive
design aren’t truly optimizing for the multi-device
experience, including any manner of third-party
and connections that aren’t always as quick as Web
workers would like to imagine. In fact, the average
size of Web pages continues to grow.
According to the website HTTP Archive, which
regularly studies the top 10,000 most visited sites
online, the average Web page now weighs in at about
1.3 megabytes, up about 35 percent in the last year.
It’s not the “content” per say, it’s all the marketing
To solve this issue, consider the use of a Tag
management platform to aid in designing nonbloated
(or less bloated) code. Solutions, such as
those provided by Tealium or Google’s Tag Manager,
take the hard work out of integrating various analytics
and tracking scripts into a Web page, which can
dramatically slow down the user experience and potentially make pages load incompletely, to the frustration
of users and search engines.
OPTIMIZE the content EXPERIENCE
The amount of information that is produced and then
optimized for the purpose of getting documents into
the search results and then in to competitive positions
(defined as at least the first few natural listings) is by all
accounts impressive, and it needs to be.
Every day, Google provides results for more than
1 billion questions, even many first-time ones. Coupled
with all of the individual personalization in the search
experience of today, there’s no one SEO practice that
will ensure a consistent rank for even the most relevant
result. As such, enterprises are thinking more
about the user’s experience once they click through,
and how to optimize that experience. Doing so provides
its own, potentially big, reward.
Search engines may take into account bounce rate
and any number of other variables to determine the
quality of the experience a user received on a website,
at least as it relates to directing to and returning from
a particular search result page and the individual
query of the user. If the search engines can determine
that users like what they find when they arrive and ultimately
move through a website (ideally toward some
manner of conversion goal and encountering additional
social sharing opportunities along the way) then
the chances a document/page will consistently appear
on the SERPs increases dramatically, because now
there’s evidence of quality.
To make it all work, it remains essential to increase
the amount of time and interactions from the user experience,
and Web content presents as good an opportunity
as any available to start. By sending users to
known “high-velocity” areas of your digital property,
brands are able to better control the user experience.
For example, if a visitor to WebsiteMagazine.com came
from a search query about a recent Web hosting news
item, it would benefit that user and our internal business
initiatives if we can direct them to an area where
they would spend more time consuming information
(e.g. downloading whitepapers) and improve our site’s
reputation in the process.
The challenge is that website analytics solutions,
such as those provided by Adobe and Google, tend to
show us only what we look for, not what we don’t. We
know the most popular content items and which conversion
funnel we want users to end up in, but what’s
missing is the connective virtual tissue. Solutions such
as LinkSmart provide its content analytics and insights
platform free, are able to analyze and provide insights
that ultimately make it possible to send users to high-value
areas of your enterprise.
The Future is Now
There’s no crystal ball that will reveal the future of natural
search engine optimization, but many believe it is
the user experience that will change the most and have
the greatest influence on search success. There will always
be an opportunity to indicate relevancy (e.g. title
tags and anchor text) to the search engines, but to top
the search results pages in the future, the experience a
brand provides will need to be more efficient and more
effective through smarter design and a more thoughtful