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In the last decade, so-called pundits have claimed that “SEO is dead,” when in reality, only the old ways of doing SEO have died.
If there’s one fact all digital marketers should be well-aware of by now, it’s that SEO is ever-changing and it will always be.
Despite the challenges brought about by the dynamic nature of SEO, there are still plenty of opportunities available for those who want to achieve success in the field.
Here is a recap of a presentation made by Cyrus Shepard, founder of Fazillion Media and former Director of SEO at Moz, who recently discussed the state of SEO in 2018 at PeepCon 3.0 held in Manila.
No One Is an ‘Expert’ in SEO
The SEO professional is often seen as trustworthy, confident, knowledgeable, and dedicated.
In reality, most SEO pros are actually too busy and have a million other things to do that they don’t always feel confident as they are perceived to be.
For his part, Shephard asserts that: “I’m not an expert in SEO, I’m just making it up as I go along.”
Since there’s really no concrete roadmap for SEO, practitioners should learn to adapt to what’s thrown at them.
Increasing SERP Visibility Doesn’t Guarantee Traffic
SEO pros have been told to implement various tactics to increase rankings and visibility – but these tactics don’t always result in getting more traffic.
Old SEO strategies are not cutting it anymore.
Here are just a few challenges faced by SEO pros.
- SERP features explosion: With Google introducing a variety of search engine results page (SERP) features in the last two years, organic results are getting fewer clicks.
- Fewer unique web results: It’s been very hard to find the organic results for some queries. It isn’t uncommon to see a SERP with two ads, one Knowledge Panel, related searches and only six websites. The usual 10 blue links are no more.
- Featured snippets explosion: Based on Ahrefs’ data ~12.29 percent of search queries have featured snippets in their SERPs. And this will likely grow as Google announced that they are revamping featured snippets and implementing new types.
- Longer meta descriptions: Google recently increased the length of meta descriptions from 150 to 300 characters. This might become another SERP threat because meta descriptions might already contain the answer to the searcher’s query, negatively affecting CRO.
- Ads Other Google properties: In some verticals, such as travel, shopping, and videos, Google properties occupy a large chunk of the SERP.
- Click-less searches: Voice search volume is rising. It’s estimated to cover 50 percent of searches by 2020 – all of which are click-less.
There Are New SEO Opportunities to Seize
Yet, despite all the threats SEO pros are up against, there is good news – “SEO is still our best investment.”
Search volume is growing and even though people are clicking on a smaller percentage of searches, they are actually searching a lot more.
Google is still the top source of traffic on the web.
There are also various opportunities to take advantage of.
- Featured Snippets: This special search result block may have lowered organic click-through rates, but if you do win position zero, you get an incredible opportunity to gain more traffic. You’re also setting yourself up for massive voice search opportunities.
- People Also Ask Optimization: Optimizing for questions is also huge because Google’s “People Also Ask” (related questions) results are expanding.
- Implementing AMP can help increase website traffic for both news and non-news sites.
Most of the SEO basics remain the same, but query satisfaction. This area will continue to evolve as Google uses machine learning to gauge how much a page satisfies a query.
Make sure to invest in areas of SEO that others are underinvesting in (i.e., People Also Ask Optimization, AMP implementation).
Changes will keep on happening but SEO practitioners need to adapt and find the opportunities amid the challenges.
Seize the opportunity at the right moment and it can bring greater returns.
Last February 17th, more than 300 search marketing pros came together at the Marco Polo Hotel Manila for PeepCon (“The People’s Conference”).
PeepCon 3.0, hosted by Glen Dimaandal of GDI, is a nonprofit SEO conference that aims to “teach actionable SEO and digital marketing lessons” with presentations from some of the top experts in the industry.
Also, check out the PeepCon 3.0 album on SEJ’s Facebook page to view photos from the event.