June 30, 2020
Often, it is just as important to be able to predict or anticipate the future, as it is to be able to assess and diagnose a current situation. this is one of my favorite talks that I have ever done because it reviews some of the predictions that I have made over the course of my career, that were met with strong objections by some well-known SEO’s but which have turned out to be true. After that, I walk the viewer through a loose process of reviewing the current situation to determine what it might be telling us about the future of SEO.
The talk is built around the book called Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, by David Epstein. I encourage the viewer, at least when they are thinking about the future, to consider what it would be like to ‘SEO like an amateur,’ not getting caught up onto your specific data, and analytics software, and instead focusing on what is showing up in the search results, what is likely getting clicks, and where would an amateur want their business to be shown. This includes things like being in PPC, Google Maps (GMB), Knowledge Graph, Interesting Finds, People Also Ask, and other ‘Position Zero‘ types of results in search – brand assets that are not reported on in Google Search Console, and are likely not as prominently reported in other SEO software, because they are considered ‘not SEO.’ In my opinion, the launch of Mobile-First Indexing has really changed all this; I believe that SEO’s should re-consider this rigid belief in what is and is not SEO, and look at it more holistically, in a way that is ultimately more beneficial to the client. In our mind, the best way to do this is to look at real search results, that pass all the same signals that a real phone would – actually looking can give you much more information than the numbers can.
It is potentially also more forward-looking, because Google has been increasing the amount of information that they put at the top of search results, and around organic blue links, and the real estate that it takes up seems to always be increasing. Since the recording of this video, Google has made more clarifications and announcements about here. SEO is not dying, but it is evolving, and we need to be prepared to evolve with it. Occasionally, we need to think about SEO a bit more like an armature, and just decide where we want to be, and figure out how to get there, rather than worrying about what is and is not SEO. The future seems to be a lot more about things that many SEO’s currently don’t count as SEO – yet, but will eventually, if they want to survive. If you are a MobileMoxie subscriber, you can use the SERPerator to track changes to search results, and auto-capture images of real search results that pass the location, language, and phone data, to see what is changing – checking either daily, monthly or weekly and archiving those to your account for later review (great for explaining changes in your data that don’t make sense!). If you are not yet a subscriber, you can use the free Google SERP checker version of the SERPerator to see what a search result looks like from any location in the world, on a variety of different phones.