It may take quite a while, but peak SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is behind us, and the relevance of it will only go down from here. That’s not to say that SEO isn’t important, as it still can be a major source of traffic for many sites, but the value will slowly erode over the coming years.
There are two main reasons that:
Too much content
With users able to generate content on the fly, the amount of content on the internet is going to soar. While AI-written content isn’t perfect, and can often be detected by Google, both of those will fade soon. As AI-written content gets better, it’ll be harder to detect and avoid.
Fewer websites in search results
As the major search engines start implementing chat-like interfaces that give direct answers, there will be less of a need for users to click through to other websites for more information.
Wired put it this way: “web users spend more time with bots and less time clicking links, publishers could be cut off from sales of subscriptions, ads, and referrals.“
Related, the Verge said: “But if I ask the new Bing what the 10 best gaming TVs are, and it just makes me a list, why should I, the user, then click on the link to The Verge, which has another list of the 10 best gaming TVs?”
SO instead of SEO
As shared by Search Engine Land, perhaps it’s time we stop talking about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and just talk about SO (Search Optimization). In particular, the search features on most social networks are becoming more and more robust, so positioning your content to show up in those search results is becoming increasingly valuable.
It’s not time to freak out yet, as traditional SEO is still very strong and will be for a while, but it’s time to start looking at what’s next. As always, the more you can position yourself so that people search for you instead of your service (as in, someone searching for “GreenMellen” instead of “website development”), the better off you’ll be through anything that comes next.