During the past few years, Google released major updates to its search engine algorithm, including the “Panda,” “Penguin,” “Pigeon,” “Payday,” “Pirate,” and “Mobile Friendly” upgrades. These algorithm changes often leave digital marketers and search engine optimization (SEO) practitioners scrambling to adapt, especially when their websites suddenly drop in Google search rankings.
What’s next on Google’s algorithm to-do list? It’s hard to say, because the company is famously quiet about its plans and doesn’t always acknowledge updates after they roll out. Of course, it’s difficult to plan for the unpredictable.
However, some hints of what’s to come do exist, and there are steps search pros can take to prepare. Here are five tips and insights from the March 2016 SMX West search marketing conference, as well as a number of individual interviews with SEO expert, to help you prioritize SEO efforts.
1. Voice search is big, and it’s only getting bigger
Google’s director of Conversational Search, Beshad Behzadi, talked at length during his SMX West keynote about the future of search, showing scenes from the “Star Trek” TV show and the movie “Her” to illustrate points.
“The world is becoming increasingly mobile,” Behzadi said, and in 2015, Web surfers performed more mobile searches than desktop queries. Modern devices, whether they’re smartphones, smartwatches, or even cars, move with users and understand the context of where they are. Thanks to the Internet of things (IoT), “we’ll be talking to even more devices” in the near future, according to Behzadi.