As an industry and a set of marketing techniques, SEO has always been about change. New devices and platforms are developed, and SEO techniques come into vogue and then fall out of favor. Google releases several updates per year, and website owners scramble to redo their SEO accordingly and rethink the way they approach their Internet marketing strategies.
For example, it used to be commonplace to use link farms (or create your own network of interconnected websites) to generate a lot of backlinks fast, or to stuff meta tags with keywords, or to hide keywords in white at the bottom of the page to make them invisible to people but visible to search engines. These days, all of those tactics are decidedly black hat SEO and any of them would quickly get your website banned from Google search results!
Even guest blogging, which has much more of an appearance of legitimacy, is now something your site can be penalized for. Google might say that your guest blogging backlinks appear to be paid links, even if they aren’t. Guest blogging can still be done, but it’s safest to do it only for the most authoritative sites in your field and then only if the post is not packed with links to your site.
All this is proof that if there’s any constant in SEO, it’s that everything will change as soon as you think you have a cohesive strategy. (The one piece of advice that has lasted is that quality content is always welcome.)
Some of the big changes on the horizon in the next few years have to do with the “Internet of Things.” Like the Jetsons’ house or GE’s “Kitchen of Tomorrow,” many home appliances such as refrigerators and thermostats will all soon come standard with WiFi capability and a browser. Enough appliances will be online that “Residential SEO” will become yet another SEO field to master. And cars will be more web-enabled, too.
If you’re concerned about what the “Internet of Things” and the rapid move away from desktop PCs means for your website, relax: Unlike smartphones and tablets — those technologies that have been widely and rapidly adopted — the adoption of fridges with web browsers is likely to take a lot longer to become widespread. After all, people replace smartphones much more often than they replace refrigerators.
The two areas you should focus on to prepare for upcoming changes are mobile SEO and local SEO. Mobile SEO will prepare your site for search on a variety of devices and platforms, and a renewed emphasis on Local SEO will help businesses with a local physical presence to rank highly in web searches performed on GPS units in car dashboards.
So don’t sweat the “Internet of Things.” Just stay as agile and attuned to new SEO trends as you are to Google updates, keep producing useful content, and you’ll be more than ready for “Residential SEO” when it becomes a reality.