If you work in digital marketing, SEO, or the media industry generally – you’ll understand first-hand the impact that the internet has had on our everyday lives. From starting as a means to connect small computer networks together, the internet has grown from niche to universal in pretty short order.
In 1990, around 300,000 computers were connected to the internet, by the year 2000, this number had grown to 300 million, an increase of 100,000% in just 10 years! Six years later, and thanks to the rise of mobile devices, over 2 billion phones were connected, and this number keeps growing.
These incredible figures demonstrate why SEO has quickly gone from a side job for the IT department to a whole industry, and the future of the internet doesn’t stop with smartphones and tablets.
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The Internet of Things
At the moment, when we discuss the internet, really we mean the web – all of our media content, including blogs, social networks, email (and everything else) is provided through the web. The internet is just the system of connections that allows this to happen.
This means that the internet can be used for more than connecting phones and computers – and in the future the internet will also connect a bunch of other stuff together too, effectively automating our lives. This is the Internet of Things – everyday objects connected together through the internet.
What does this mean, though? Well, by 2020, it is estimated that 13 billion household items will be connected to the internet, with over 50% of the internet traffic in your home used for household appliances. The Internet of Things is designed for automation – so expect kettles that know when to boil, fridges that restock themselves, and even clothing that charges your phone.
The User Experience
This all sounds pretty crazy, but it’s well underway. So considering the immense impact of the internet so far, it’s far from crazy to wonder how will this affect SEO in the future.
All of this automation means that tech companies are focused on the ‘user experience’ (UX), and Google leads the way in this focus. It’s easy to pump out content without assessing whether your users are engaging with it, in fact, 45% of marketers don’t evaluate their analytics for quality or accuracy.
UX is about enhancing usability, usefulness and relevancy for users, meaning that SEO is already moving towards customer satisfaction as an important metric. The Internet of Things will only increase user expectation for relevant content and quality.
SEO Strategies, UX, and Automation
So how does this impact SEO strategies? With users demanding ease of use, your SEO needs to work efficiently and quickly. Many users are turned off by content that doesn’t load quickly, and will simply close the page, so make sure your load times are optimised.
In addition to technical know-how, SEO pros will also need to understand how (and why) people engage with content. An effective SEO strategy means evolving beyond a linear approach by considering what the user wants. Consider the various entry points into a website beyond the home page and tailor where the user lands on a webpage.
Last year, Google announced RankBrain – its AI system for processing search results, which is part of the company’s new search algorithm. AI (artificial intelligence) is all about automation, with RankBrain able to learn and make connections.
The rise of automation, both through the Internet of Things and AI, is huge for SEO, as it means more accurate search results through automated machine-learning. This means adopting more effective strategies which are user-focused, so UX needs to be a big part of the SEO toolkit going forward.
Increased automation alongside UX means that everything will be more personalised – with analytics focused on interpreting user behaviour. To be effective in the future, SEO will need to prepare by refocusing upon users’ demands, and how to meet them in a changing marketplace.