Clients are always asking our search engine optimization experts why everything in search changes so frequently and what to expect next. Google is constantly testing things and improving their platform, so search experts need to adjust strategies and best practices accordingly while always staying on their toes for what’s to come next. While no one can be 100% sure what the future holds for Google and SEO professionals, we’ve challenged a couple of our experienced team members to make a few predictions. Check out a few changes Drew & Katrina expect to see for Google within the next 10 years!
View the recent webinar we referenced in this video!
What is Google Search Going to Be Like 10 Years From Now?
That is a question that our team is always asking ourselves! We’re always looking for what’s going to be coming next and how we can prepare for their continuous updates. We believe search results are going to look completely different than they do today!
Prediction #1: Complete Personalization
Our team believes every search result is going to be completely customized and personalized to you, the device you’re on and your location. We already see a little bit of this type of customization - if two people pull out their phones and perform the same search for the same term, they’re going to see slightly different results. However, the current search result page is going to look mostly the same for both users, whereas 10 years from now it might look very different.
For example, some users love consuming video content, while others prefer to have something they’re searching for written down or in a list format. In the future, Google will know each users’ preferences and will feed them various results based on how they enjoy consuming information. The user who likes videos may see their search results contain three-quarters video with one-quarter traditional content, while the other person will have minimal video links in their SERPs.
This could change the way SEO professionals create and strategize content. For each term we’re trying to optimize for, for every page we’re laying out, it’s going to be very important to think about how the user is most likely going to want to consume this content. While those preferences are going to be different for everybody, you can easily incorporate both video and written content on a single web page and feed both of those users the content they need. To follow our previous example, one of the users might want to watch a video of how to make a recipe, while the other would rather consume written content and would likely click on listed instructions. They may be clicking back to the same recipe, but the search result that leads them there would look different and be personalized to the individual user.
One of the reasons we believe the level of personalization will continue to increase is because Google is already starting to show special results. Have you ever done a Google search and noticed it says, ‘Only you can see this information’? That’s because it’s tied to the details Google already knows about you based on:
- your previous search history
- what information is in your Google account
- what is in your Gmail inbox
- other Google accounts you have access to, such as Search Console or Google Analytics
Google is feeding us a crazy variety of information because it’s trying to get us what we want as fast as it can. Results are automatically going to change depending on what each user spends time doing online and what types of accounts they have access to. At the end of the day, the different email promotions we’re receiving, the ads we’re clicking in search and social and all of these types of preferences are going to shape the search results that we see in Google within the next 10 years.
Prediction #2: Search Results Will Be More Visual
As our experts try to think ahead and envision what changes we think Google will make in the next 10 years, we reflect back to what search results looked like a decade ago and the changes that have already been made.
10 years ago, if you would do a search, for the most part, you would see 10 organic search results with simple links to helpful information.
Today when you search, in most cases, you’ll see the Knowledge Panel over on the right-hand side, and there will be photos, facts, addresses and more. In the main results there will be Q&A with answers, ads, a local pack map, etc. There have been so many visual things added to search, we think that 10 years from now this trend will probably continue and search will be a lot more visual.
Prediction #3: No Organic Search Results
While we don’t know for sure, we predict organic search results may even be gone in the future. We know this is a pretty bold guess that will probably upset SEOs, but let us explain.
Google isn’t particularly interested in sending people to your website - Google is more interested in serving its users and keeping their users on their own platform.
We all have to remember Google is a business. Their goal isn’t always just to serve businesses and companies and marketers as well as they can - it’s to make money and be more profitable in the next quarter for its stockholders. So results that keep users on Google’s platform and sell more profitable ads are the things that really drive results for Google.
The one thing that’s never going to change for businesses looking to rank in Google search results is the need for Google Ads. The format is probably going to look vastly different in 10 years, but it’s one way you can guarantee you’re showing up. Our SEM marketers have already noticed Google testing and utilizing different options. For example, expanded text ads came out in the last year and a half, they’ve changed sitelink extensions, they’ve changed all of the add-ons and how you can track your conversions, etc.
Even if Google Ads looks and functions a little differently in the future, we believe they’ll always secure one of the top spots in SERPs. At the end of the day, Google wants to make money, and advertisements are one way they can make money on every click from every search, so Google Ads is definitely going to continue to be more and more important in the future.
Prediction #4: Google Will Foresee Your Next Query
In 10 years, we believe Google will be able to extend your personalization options to the max. Google will be better at identifying exactly what situation you are in at a current time, and then give you search results, maybe even before you search.
In other words, if you’re walking down the street in the morning, maybe via your phone or a wearable, Google will know our heart rate, your blood sugar level, exactly where you are, how fast you’re walking, the weather conditions, what shops you’re near, your previous search history and probably other things we’re not even thinking of yet. Based on all that personal info, Google could suggest that you walk into a nearby restaurant and buy a certain product, or something similar to that.
While it may seem bizarre and we’re sure there will be more talk over the privacy and the information that Google has access to, we believe this could be a possibility of the future. This type of customization and expedient data is going to make local SEO even more important for businesses. You will need to prioritize integrating all of their Google accounts together - meaning having your maps connected to your Analytics and your Google Ads and all accounts. This will provide the most accurate and cohesive data to deliver and track results.
Prediction #5: Users Will Be Able to Search Google On More Devices
When we think about Google, traditionally you think of being on your computer and typing in a search query, but these days there’s also smartphones, voice search and other options. Our SEO pros think Google will move into more areas and probably into other devices. This could maybe include your refrigerator, with users noticing they’re out of something and being able to ask Google, ‘Does the store near me have this in stock right now?’
Google could be implemented into many other things in our lives, so it's not just going to be sitting down and typing out a search, there’s going to be more voice search. And when it comes to voice search, SEO only becomes even more important since most of the time if you do a voice search to Siri or Alexa or Google, you’ll get back only one result. In other words you get back the first result, and you don’t get an option to look at the other results, so SEO becomes essential to be chosen for the top spot.
Prediction #6: Google Will Only Provide One Page of Search Results
We don’t think it will take us 10 years to get there, but eventually we’re going to see Google eliminate the further pages of search sooner rather than later. As we’ve said, it’s important to look at what’s here right now and what they are testing so we can predict what’s coming.
Our team has already seen the tests to remove additional pages in place. If you’re utilizing the Google app on your phone, they’re not giving you additional pages, they’re giving you a ‘load more results’ message at the bottom. We’re starting to notice that transition in other mobile experiences, like if you’re on Safari or within another browser doing a Google search. These examples are giving us signals for what’s coming in the future.
With this expected change, the importance of ranking on page one is going to be even stronger than it is right now! When Google eliminates further pages, SEO professionals are also going to have to think about how we’re going to track ranking progress.
Traditionally, when we do organic rankings research and we’re looking at keyword volumes, keyword rankings and more, we’re still using a 10+ page mentality - your content is not going to go straight to page one, you’re going to start on lower pages and climb your way up. You improve your rankings as your page earns more value and is able to prove to Google that it gets good results for time on page, pages per session and other user behavior metrics.
However, if Google eliminates those further pages, it’s going to be more important for us to find a way to get quality traffic to your web pages and really prove your value to Google faster. Demonstrating the quality of your page quickly may mean going beyond your organic efforts, but also utilizing your paid and social media endeavors to get better traffic to your website that will show its worth. This is going to make a comprehensive approach more important to achieve quality SEO.
So What Can We Do Today to Prepare Our Website For the Future & Changes We Expect to See on Google in the Next 10 years?
Assuming you have the basic building blocks of a healthy SEO-friendly website, meaning you have no unnecessary redirects, you’ve cleaned up broken links and other SEO errors, then we’re going to move on to some technical SEO techniques that will give your website a boost in Google search results.
Schema Should Be Your First Priority
Is schema going to be around in 10 years? We’re not sure, but currently it’s what we believe will help bridge the gap to the future and what we can already tell helps websites stand out in current Google search results.
If you’re not familiar with schema, schema is a code that you can put onto a web page. It’s specific to that page and it talks directly to Google bots and search engines to give them a better idea of what your page is covering without needing to crawl all of the content on that page. This saves search engines time and is beneficial for your website’s crawl budget. Schema is a technical SEO best practice, so it is a little bit more challenging to write and implement, but it is very helpful to search engines.
Right now, Google says there’s only about 15 types of schema they officially support, but there are hundreds of thousands of types of schema. Our team has gotten in the habit of utilizing a wide variety of schema even if it’s not officially on Google’s list, because as soon as Google puts it on their list, our clients are ranking for it already. We’re ranking for enhanced searches, featured snippets and seeing more People Also Ask results because we’re utilizing this wide variety of schema networks.
Obviously, schema is already a requirement to be ranking well in organic search, so we believe that is the first thing you can start incorporating into your SEO strategy and search results efforts to prepare for current and future SEO success.
Next, Focus on Your Internal Linking Structure
Our team has been prioritizing internal linking structures within our website content for a while, and we’re seeing positive results. This process really focuses on how we can show Google and search engines how to create that ‘web’ of our website and really connect all of our related content pieces.
Your anchor text in an internal linking strategy is incredibly important. Anchor text refers to which keywords you’re prioritizing and utilizing to link to the other pages on your website. These keywords should be chosen carefully depending on the main ideas of your content piece and what you’d like to improve rankings for.
One of the really cool things the Blue Compass team has been able to do lately with internal linking is what’s called a pillar piece. This long-form content is taking all of those internal links for a single topic and creating a hub with a vast web within your website.
Continuing to grow your website by putting really valuable content on it will ultimately help your SEO value and search presence. Simple, quick pages about your products or your services are not what Google is looking for, they’d like to see blogs or news articles or these long-form content pieces that give away your expertise, provide value to your audience and support a great user experience. These things will help you build a really strong foundation and prepare for where you’ll be 10 years from now.
Ask The Experts at Blue Compass About Technical SEO Best Practices
We appreciate Katrina joining us this week to share her incredible expertise. We always enjoy her geeky but educated answers to common SEO questions. If you ever need a hand with search engine optimization and how to stay ahead of the latest trends, don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at Blue Compass!