It all started with Archie, and now search engines have been around for 30 years. Continuous change has been the only constant in the evolution of search engines. Our understanding of Internet search methods has transformed over the years and w...
It all started with Archie, and now search engines have been around for 30 years. Continuous change has been the only constant in the evolution of search engines. Our understanding of Internet search methods has transformed over the years and will continue to do so in the future. Search will soon be a basic technology implemented in a vast array of applications. That will also have an impact on the search engines themselves and search engine optimization. The evolution of search technology is making search engines obsolete and turning SEO into a discipline that has to reinvent itself over and over.
Still finding their feet: the transformation of search & SEO
Where, how, and why we search will change. The search technology will automatically give us the information we’re after without us even having to look it up in a search engine. This will also lead to different types and forms of search queries.
We are already seeing search queries take on various forms:
In the future, an ever-greater proportion of search queries will be automatically created implicitly on the basis of contextual information – and a search term or query won’t even have to be entered anymore. As a result, you will no longer need to use certain devices to be able to use the search features, because it will be possible to search in any desired context. The way in which search queries are input will be based on and aligned with the specific context, meaning that the prerequisites for search engine optimization (SEO) will become much more diversified and individualized.
AI: the transformational foundation of search & SEO
Artificial intelligence is the basis for expanding the features and options provided by search engines. When it comes to voice search, Google is now able to understand not only speech, but also concepts thanks to AI. Neural matching enables the algorithm to answer complex search queries correctly, even if the final results page does not contain the keyword that was entered.
The goal is to have a search engine we can communicate naturally with. Semantic search is rapidly evolving and has moved away from keyword-based search. Search terms as such will soon be a thing of the past.
Say it in your own words: voice search and voice SEO
Voice assistants and smart home devices have made their way into the private lives of many people. Alexa, Siri, and other digital assistants are succeeding in leaving the characteristics of a traditional search engine behind and becoming a real conversation partner that can draw on the world’s knowledge.
With the increasing establishment of voice search, the number of local search queries is also growing considerably. Both e-commerce and local retail stores will benefit from embracing local SEO in their marketing strategies and search engine optimization practices to meet the requirements of these new search types. Voice search also offers massive potential in B2B settings.
The challenge for voice SEO is that the usual SERPs hardly play a role anymore and only the best result is fed back. Voice SEO should be tailored to complex search queries and natural long-tail keywords. Optimizing content with regard to featured snippets also pays off, since the voice output reads these out in full to the searcher as rich answers to the corresponding search queries.
Imagery: visual search and image SEO
Nowadays, visual search can deliver high-quality content. Image SEO doesn’t just make images from a company’s website easier to find in search engines, it also boosts organic traffic across the whole website. At the same time, image SEO increases the overall relevance of a website in terms of a specific topic, leading to much greater visibility.
Visual search has little in common with traditional image search though; the principle is completely different. Instead of entering a search term via speech or text, visual search involves inputting a search query using an image or photo you have taken yourself. The content and objects in the photo are detected by the search engine.
Due to AI and deep learning, visual search also learns how to interpret the depicted content. From an SEO perspective, it is therefore becoming increasingly important to enhance images with structured data. Visual search engines work according to the following principles:
Reverse image search
Filtered and deep image search
Augmented reality search
In particular, augmented search should be able to unlock great potential in the e-commerce sector. With this technology, the photo of one or more items is detected and enhanced or merged with information.
Search & SEO go social
Searching on social networking sites, referred to as social search, is becoming more and more relevant. Posts and content created, shared, or liked by acquaintances and friends on social media have a higher relevance to the person doing the searching. The list of search results is colored more individually and has a greater level of personalization because it is dominated by posts of people who are socially relevant to the searcher.
Social search is also hugely significant when it comes to online marketing. Social markers play a key role in search engine optimization and allow social media and SEO to be more closely intertwined. If what is frequently shared or liked is frequently found, content can be optimized to boost virality and specifically used for branding purposes.
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