The main challenges and possibilities facing future search engine optimization (SEO) efforts include AI, data harvesting, and Google’s ongoing algorithmic modification, according to worldwide research of over 4,000 digital marketing specialists.
This is what was discovered when 3,890 specialists from various nations within the SEO sector completed a poll, which was prepared by the esteemed industry journal Search Engine Journal
AI is the Biggest Disruptive Force
AI is one of the world’s trendiest subjects in 2023, and it’s no wonder that it’s also one of the most discussed concerns in the digital marketing sector.
According to the poll, AI is the most disruptive trend in search engine marketing right now, with more than 21% of respondents ranking it #1.
Human-like replies to search engine queries have been one of the most well-recognized advances in AI. When a user asks a question, AI will answer in a conversational tone, with a paragraph or more of helpful information, rather than a list of links to click.
While this is interesting and possibly beneficial for users, it poses a challenge for businesses that rely on search engines for traffic. How do companies get exposure and, as a result, click through to their website if search results shift away from lists of links and toward blocks of text that contain the answers?
The answer is still in doubt, especially since AI-generated search query results are still in their early stages and it’s unclear what shape they’ll take in the future.
However, marketers want to increase their client base by concentrating on data analysis (a top goal for 9.6 percent of respondents) and better knowing their target (8.8 percent).
The theory holds that if people are devoted to the brand, subscribe to the mailing list, and are willing to skip search engines to visit websites directly, firms may retain contact, visibility, and, eventually, revenue.
Google Becomes More Difficult to Please
Google has established itself as the undisputed king of search engines by providing a high-quality service to consumers based on its superior search results. It has done so by continually adjusting the algorithm that determines where a certain site ranks in any given set of search results. It receives small upgrades virtually weekly and big modifications every few years.
Google added experience as a new statistic in December 2022. Due to this, content planning and production have become the top priorities for industry professionals (13.5%) in the upcoming months, with over two-thirds (62%) stating that it is either much harder or somewhat harder to rank in search results than it was a year ago.
Businesses need to do thorough keyword research to identify not just the most relevant search phrases but also those that they might potentially affect if they want to stay relevant. After that, it’s only a matter of fine-tuning an SEO strategy, tracking the outcomes, and starting over.
Google Offers Less in Return
In addition to making its algorithms more difficult to manipulate, Google is also pushing fewer and fewer visitors to visit company websites directly. An estimated 57% of searches on mobile devices and 43% of searches on desktop computers are classified as “zero-click searches,” meaning that the user finds the solution they need without ever leaving Google. This might imply that users locate the solution on Google News, Maps, or photo galleries, or that Google includes a pertinent passage of text in one of its search results.
There are two approaches to deal with this: the first is to make use of all Google has to offer. For instance, make sure your company is included in Google’s directory so that it appears on maps, or simplify your material so that Google can more easily evaluate it and select you as the source for its answers.
The second is to make sure that your website receives traffic from other sources so that it is less vulnerable to Google’s whims. To achieve this, examine your data to gain as much insight as possible about your target audience. Show up everywhere people search, be it on social media, in print magazines, on billboards, or elsewhere.
Although the future of search engine marketing is yet unknown, 72.4 percent of respondents were pleased with AI’s overall influence. Because AI can handle difficult or time-consuming activities, marketers can accomplish more with less personnel.
AI is capable of producing high-quality content that may be utilized to fill a website. It is capable of analyzing data to uncover patterns among current and prospective clients that the human eye would miss. Indeed, the power of AI to automate processes was highlighted by almost 10% of respondents as the third major disruptor in the sector.
While the digital marketing sector is undergoing enormous change, a significant portion of respondents are more enthusiastic about the potential given than the problems that must be solved. The key is to recognize that the goalposts have always moved and will continue to shift, but ever-more-powerful tools are becoming accessible to assist in the development of more powerful and effective campaigns.