Will (Mobile) SEO Soon Be a Thing of the Past?
October 18, 2016 | Contributed by: Greg Sterling
I sat down yesterday with David Mihm (formerly of Moz) and we talked about a lot of things: SMB marketing, Google and the future of SEO, among other topics. His feeling is that SEO is becoming more and more challenging. Most SEOs would probably agree.
I’m not an SEO so I’m on tenuous ground commenting here. However with the launch of the Google Assistant as a core feature of the new Android flagship Pixel, it seems pretty clear that search is in transition. That’s a bland statement I realize; search has been in transition since the advent of the iPhone a decade ago. However with the launch of Google Assistant you really feel it.
As I explained in a piece on Search Engine Land, I was disappointed with the Google Assistant experience when I received links to websites rather than voice answers or structured “cards” with content. I think that others will have a similar reaction. The more users become habituated to voice interactions with their phones and virtual assistants, the less they’re interested in a conventional web search experience.
This has radical implications for everyone that relies on Google traffic today. It may also have some dramatic implications for Google’s business model as well.
Listings and presence management will continue to be an important area for the indefinite future. Then there’s enhanced content and data optimization for a fragmented app world. And with voice search and virtual assistants there’s schema/structured markup. That will be increasingly important in a world where there’s one search result and/or no screen (e.g., Google Home, Amazon Echo).
What’s clear is that we’re now an an accelerated period of change. Google presided over roughly a decade of order and stability on the PC internet. Apple disrupted that with the iPhone and later with Siri. Google has fought back (successfully) but in the process is creating a user experience that is far different from the one that SEOs have built their industry around.
In the interim Facebook has also emerged as a counterweight and alternative to Google. I’m not entirely clear on what the SEO equivalent is there (enhanced profile, news feed content optimization) but attention is partly shifting, given Facebook’s mobile prominence and as marketers have less influence over what shows up in Google results.
What are your thoughts and observations about SEO, local visibility and where it’s all headed?