There’s no time like the present for taking a look to the future and preparing ourselves for what we see coming. 2019 promises to bring some dramatic changes to the way the SEO game is played. Huge technological innovations, including artificial intelligence, blockchain, and augmented reality, stand poised to revolutionise the way people search for information online. In the article below, we’ve gathered three major predictions from industry experts who are gazing over the horizon of SEO.
1) AI is Going to Revolutionise Keyword Research
Jana Garanko is marketing giant SEMrush’s head of PR. She expects dramatic changes in the near future thanks to the impact artificial intelligence (AI) is going to have on keyword research. Tied directly to this, Garanko expects private demographic data to become an even greater driver of marketers’ ability to improve search rankings.
Garanko predicts that 2019 will be the year businesses in every industry reach out to embrace AI. Marketers who specialise in search engine optimisation or SEO agencies are obliged to cultivate in-depth, first-hand knowledge of the changes machine learning and automation can produce.
One significant change AI is likely to bring is greater effectiveness – and therefore greater popularity – to voice search. Marketers will need to understand the changes this method of input brings to the search engine optimisation playing field. “Voice requests deliver dramatically different search strings than typed queries,” Garanko points out. “We’ll need to start researching new keyword combinations.”
Although Garanko believes machine learning is primed to make an immediate impact on how SEO works, she takes a longer view of the potential changes that could be caused by virtual technology. Although virtual reality and augmented reality will carve increasingly-broad niches for themselves, Garanko doesn’t believe the impact on optimisation is going to happen immediately. “It’s coming, but it’s not coming for a while. I expect VR and AR SEO to start getting important only five to ten years down the road.”
2) Amazon Search and Voice Search May Pose Threats
Kent Lewis is the founder and president of Anvil, a performance firm operating out of Portland. He foresees a banner year in 2019 for voice search and Amazon Search. “I think Amazon Search is going to be the biggest news in the SEO world in 2019,” Lewis said. He points out that, according to a study conducted by Kenshoo, Amazon is already the launching point for 56 per cent of consumer searches. “The implications here are enormous,” Lewis said. “Amazon may well be ready to dethrone Google.”
Lewis also believes 2019 is going to be an important year for the growth of voice search. More consumers are going to be using this technology in the coming year, and Lewis believes this will be challenging for marketers.
“Voice searches are just incredibly different from written ones,” Lewis asserts. “The first difference that leaps out at you is how many more long-tail queries come out of voice search. This is a real optimisation challenge. Does voice search call for creating new hub pages? Do we create specialised pages for each long-tail variation we see?”
3) Organic Search May Be Segmented to Accommodate AR and VR
Yogesh Jain is the founder of Concept Allies, a leading Indian agency in digital marketing. He firmly believes that virtual reality and augmented reality will start changing the optimisation world sooner rather than later. “In 2019,” Jain said, “although these technologies won’t change optimisation entirely, they will already be opening up new options for link-building, user engagement, and lead generation.”
Jain sees 2019 as an experimental, ambitious year for content marketers in particular. Video can already play a transformative role in a content strategy, and cutting-edge firms will be looking for ways to multiply that effect with VR and AR.
“Video is already dominating content marketing,” Jain said. “Now it’s time to find out how VR and AR will fit into the picture. Are they going to be supplements or replacements? Can these new technologies, for instance, fill the same role currently filled by infographics?”
“Google already adjusts its algorithm considerably to favour sites that are mobile-friendly. Will there be new developments to favour AR and VR in similar ways? Or will Google treat AR and VR content to a specialised search experience, similar to the way they currently handle images?”