Digital Marketing

Is SEO Dead? A Fresh Look at the Age-Old Search Industry Question

SEO Techniques

In 2022, SEO will still be a crucial digital marketing strategy. Here’s why this misconception endures and where we should put our current attention. Time will pass, that much is certain. And each year, a brand-new piece of technology puts the last nail in the coffin of aging technology. Everything ultimately becomes outdated, whether the horse and buggy are replaced by the car or the slide rule by the calculator. And if you believe the reports, search engine optimization is the culprit this time. I bid you farewell, SEO: 1997–2022. There is only one very minor issue. SEO is still very much in existence. It still has the same meaning today as it did then. It could be more significant. Today, organic search accounts for 53% of all website traffic. On average, 26.9% of clicks on mobile devices and 32% on desktops go to the first search result on Google. What else is influencing Google’s decision as to which results should appear first on search engine results pages (SERPs)? Of course, SEO. Want more evidence? We have additional data to support that. The entire SEO industry is evolving quickly as a result of the Google search algorithm’s ongoing adjustments. In the past ten years, we’ve witnessed several significant upgrades, disregarding the numerous minor adjustments the search engine’s algorithm has experienced. Some of the most significant ones include:

  • Panda: When it was first implemented in February 2011, Panda prioritized customer satisfaction and quality. It was made to get rid of spam on the internet and black hat SEO techniques.
  • In anticipation of the rise of mobile search, Hummingbird, which was unveiled in August 2013, sped up and improved the search engine’s fundamental algorithm.
  • RankBrain – This upgrade, which was released in the spring of 2015, was first revealed in October of the same year. To better respond to ambiguous questions, RankBrain incorporates artificial intelligence (AI) into all of its queries.
  • BERT – This upgrade, which was first made available in November 2018 and updated in December 2019, aids Google in better comprehending natural language.
  • Vicinity: Vicinity was Google’s greatest local search upgrade in five years when it was launched in December 2021. Local businesses are given more weight in search results using proximity targeting as a ranking element.

Each of these improvements altered the way Google functions, thus SEO specialists had to reconsider their approach and adjust their plan to guarantee they obtain the desired results. But there was still a need for their assistance. Now that it has been determined that SEO is not dead, the issue arises as to where all of this death news originated. The majority of it is based on irrational supposition and erroneous conjecture. The fact that SEO is changing might be unsettling. And three factors are responsible for that transition:

  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence, especially Google RankBrain.
  • Organic space in SERPs is getting smaller.
  • Voice search and digital personal assistants.

Machine Learning’s Rise

Most likely, you are already aware of how AI has changed the world. Voice assistants, predictive healthcare, and self-driving cars are just a few examples of how this innovative new technology is beginning to spread throughout society. Additionally, it has long been a hot issue in SEO. Unfortunately, most of the information available comes from guesswork, reading patents, studying search engine activity, and insufficient information. Additionally, because AI is always evolving, it is challenging to understand how it is affecting search engines. However, we will focus on two distinct trends: natural language and machine learning. Machine learning is exactly what it sounds like: learning by machines. It may also be defined as “a method of data analysis that automates analytical model development… a branch of artificial intelligence founded on the premise that systems can learn from data, spot patterns, and make judgments with little to no human interaction,” for a more complex description. For SEO purposes, this is collecting and analyzing data on content, user behaviors, citations, and trends to develop new ranking variables that are more likely to provide relevant results for user searches. To get a more thorough description of how it will operate, see this article. Our second trend, natural language, is one of the most significant variables that machine learning takes into account when deciding how to rank websites. Computers have had their languages ever since they first appeared. Additionally, there was always a discrepancy between user intent and what search engines returned since it was so unlike the language that people use. However, Google has evolved significantly in this area as technology has become more sophisticated. The most crucial one for SEO specialists is RankBrain, Google’s machine learning system constructed on the rewrite of Google’s primary algorithm, Hummingbird, which we previously stated. Google had the vision to foresee the impending wave of mobile devices over ten years ago. Hummingbird concentrated on comprehending conversational speech as he anticipated what this would entail for search. On top of this, RankBrain transforms Google from a search engine that looks for connections between concepts to one that recognizes the concepts they stand for. It changed the focus of the search engine from matching terms in a query to more correctly determining user intent and providing outcomes that more closely matched the search. This required determining which terms were crucial to the search and ignoring the others. Additionally, it learned how to recognize synonyms, so if a webpage fits a search, even though it doesn’t contain the term, it could show up in the results. Long-tail keywords have seen most of RankBrain’s and machine learning’s effects. In the past, websites would frequently stuff their content with precise but infrequently searched-for terms. They were able to appear in searches for such topics as a result. Long-tail keyword concentration was once a wise move, but that was before RankBrain altered how Google processed them. Additionally, it assisted in removing spammers’ content that was attempting to rank for these phrases.

Honey, I Reduced the Area Of Organic Search

Nobody can argue that search engines are a significant industry. Additionally, Google has been gradually displacing organic search results in favor of sponsored advertising since 2016. At that point, sponsored adverts were relocated from the sidebar to the top of search engine results pages. Organic results were thus relocated lower on the page, or “below the fold,” to use an archaic phrase. This makes sense in terms of Google’s business. As the internet has grown to be a significant component of the global economy, more businesses are ready to pay for ad placement. Because of this alleged de-prioritization, organic SEO specialists are compelled to create fresh, cutting-edge tactics for not only appearing on the top page but also competing with paid ads. SERPs have been impacted by local search changes as well. Google has introduced a local pack to search results as part of its never-ending effort to provide people with more pertinent results. This cluster of three close companies seems to answer the question. On the first page of the results, they are listed first along with a map indicating their position. This was encouraging for small local enterprises that go off against big national chains. However, it added a new dimension to the task of SEO experts. This led to the emergence of local sponsored search advertisements in addition to increasing competition for local search results. Additionally, other factors also move organic results down the page. Your link could also have to contend with the following, depending on the search:

  • Advertisements for stores.
  • Extended automatically.
  • featured excerpts
  • Carousels of images or videos.
  • News reports.

Google has also started immediately responding to queries (and suggested related questions and answers). As a result, searches that terminate on the SERP without clicking over to another website are now known as “zero-click searches,” or ZCS. Nearly 65 percent of all searches in 2020 generated no clicks, which is concerning for anyone who depends on them for a living. In light of this, and as organic results continue to decline, it is understandable why some SEO specialists are losing patience. Knowledgeable web marketers, however, view them as possibilities rather than just difficulties. For instance, you may utilize structured data markup to acquire a featured snippet if you can’t get your link at the top of a SERP. Although not exactly an SEO strategy, this is a means to drive traffic and clicks, which is what we ultimately want.

Use Your Voice

Not that long ago, creating a note or a grocery list required finding some paper and writing with a pen on it. similar to a caveman Thankfully, those times are behind us, or at the very least are being replaced by technology. Many aspects of the internet are now accessible just by speaking, whether you’re asking Alexa to check the price of Apple stock, asking Cortana how much the moon weighs, or using Siri to play your favorite music. Globally, 4.2 million digital personal assistants were in use in 2020. And as more people start using devices like the Google Nest Hub, Sonos One, and Amazon Echo, that number is predicted to quadruple by 2024. Furthermore, consumers do not even need to possess one of these smart speakers to benefit from voice search. 75% of smartphone owners use Google Assistant, whereas 90% of iPhone owners use Siri. We’ve noticed a significant rise in voice searches with the introduction of these virtual assistants. Here are a few intriguing details regarding voice search:

  • Voice search on mobile devices is used by 27% of the world’s population, according to Think with Google.
  • Between 2018 and 2021, voice shopping rose by 213 percent.
  • 127 million Americans utilized voice assistants in cars in 2021.

Technology is great, isn’t it? Depending on who you are, yes. This poses some issues if you work in SEO (and since you are reading this, we will presume that you do). After all, if there are no clicks involved, how can you drive traffic to your website? The solution is fairly simple: You must voice search-optimize your website. Your SEO material needs to take into account the fact that voice-controlled gadgets don’t function the same as a manual search. Enhancing the caliber of your knowledge is the ideal strategy to accomplish this once again. To ensure that your material appears at the top of search results and receives the vocal click-throughs (is that a word?) you want, it must be the best response to a user’s query. Your content must meet that niche since users have discovered that more narrow inquiries lead to more particular replies. It’s no longer sufficient to just have online material that states, “T-shirts for sale,” since specificity appears to be a developing trend in SEO. Instead, you should narrow down your search terms to just what your target is looking for, such as “medium Garfield t-shirts + yellow + long-sleeve.”