SEO Is Dead? What will replace SEO?

Time will pass, that much is certain. Every year, a new piece of technology puts the final nail in the coffin of something more traditional.

It’s search engine optimization if the rumours are to be believed. Peace be with you. SEO: 1997-2023.

There is only one very minor issue.

SEO is still very much in existence. It still has the same meaning today as it did then. In fact, it might possibly be more significant.

Today, organic search accounts for 53% of all website traffic.

On average, 26.9% of click-throughs on mobile devices and 32% on desktops go to the first search result on Google.

What else is influencing Google’s decision as to which results should appear first on search engine results pages (SERPs)? Of course, SEO.

Want more evidence? SEJ has more data to support it.

The entire SEO industry is evolving quickly as a result of the Google search algorithm’s ongoing adjustments.

We’ve seen a number of significant updates in the past ten years, ignoring the numerous minor adjustments the search engine’s algorithm has experienced.

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Most Significant Search Engine Algorithms

  • Panda –Panda was initially implemented in February 2011 with a quality and user experience-focused approach. It was created to get rid of web spam and black hat SEO techniques.
  • Hummingbird – In anticipation of the expansion of mobile search, Hummingbird, which was unveiled in August 2013, makes the search engine’s fundamental algorithm faster and more accurate.
  • RankBrain –This upgrade was released in the spring of 2015 after being announced in October. RankBrain employs machine learning to include artificial intelligence (AI) in all queries. learning to provide better answers to ambiguous queries.
  • BERT –This version, which was first made available in November 2018 and updated in December 2019, improves Google’s comprehension of natural language.
  • Vicinity – Vicinity, which went into effect in December 2021, was Google’s most significant local search improvement in five years. Local businesses are given more weight in search results using proximity targeting as a ranking element.

Each of these improvements altered the way Google functions, thus SEO specialists had to reconsider their approach and adjust their plan to ensure they obtain the desired results. But there was still a need for their assistance.

Now that it has been determined that SEO is not dead, the issue arises as to where all of this death news originated.

The majority of it is based on irrational supposition and unfounded conjecture. The fact that SEO is actually undergoing change can be unsettling.

And three factors are responsible for that transition:

  1. Machine learning and artificial intelligence, especially Google RankBrain.
  2. Organic space in SERPs is getting smaller.
  3. Voice search and digital personal assistants.

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Machine Learning’s Rise

The effect AI has had on the world is probably something you already know.

Voice assistants, predictive healthcare, and self-driving cars are just a few examples of how this innovative new technology is beginning to spread throughout society.

It has also long been a hot subject in SEO.

Unfortunately, the majority of the information available comes from guesswork, reading patents, researching search engine behaviour, and reading insufficient information.

Additionally, because AI is always evolving, it is challenging to understand how it is affecting search engines.

However, we will focus on two distinct trends: natural language and machine learning.

The term “machine learning” refers to learning carried out by machines.

It can be defined as “a method of data analysis that automates the construction of analytical models… a subfield of artificial intelligence founded on the notion that computers are capable of learning from data, recognising patterns, and making judgements with little assistance from humans.

For SEO purposes, this is gathering and analysing data on content, user behaviour, citations, and patterns in order to develop new ranking variables that are more likely to provide relevant results for user queries.

Our second trend, natural language, is one of the most significant variables that machine learning takes into account when deciding how to rank websites.

Computers have had their own languages ever since they first appeared. Additionally, there was always a discrepancy between user intent and what search engines returned because it was so dissimilar from the language that people actually use.

However, Google has evolved significantly in this area as technology has become more sophisticated.

The most crucial one for SEO specialists is RankBrain, Google’s machine learning system constructed on the rewrite of Google’s primary algorithm, Hummingbird, as we previously stated.

Google had the vision to foresee the impending wave of mobile devices over ten years ago. Hummingbird concentrated on comprehending conversational speech as he anticipated what this would mean for the search.

On top of this, RankBrain transforms Google from a search engine that looks for connections between concepts to one that recognises the concepts they stand for.

It changed the focus of the search engine from matching keywords in a query to more accurately determining user intent and providing outcomes that more closely matched the search.

This required determining which words were crucial to the search and ignoring the rest.

Additionally, it learned how to recognise synonyms, so if a webpage matches a search, even though it doesn’t contain the term, it might show up in the results.

Long-tail keywords have seen most of RankBrain’s and machine learning’s effects.

In the past, websites would frequently stuff their content with precise but infrequently searched-for terms. They were able to appear in searches for such topics as a result.

Long-tail keyword concentration was once a wise move, but that was before RankBrain changed how Google processed these. Additionally, it assisted in removing spammers’ content that was attempting to rank for these terms.

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How Google Shrunk The Organic Search Space

Nobody can argue that search engines are a big industry.

Additionally, Google has been gradually displacing organic search results in favour of sponsored advertising since 2016. At that point, sponsored adverts were relocated from the sidebar to the top of search engine results in pages.

Organic results were consequently relocated lower on the page, or “below the fold,” to use an archaic phrase.

This makes sense in terms of Google’s business. As the internet has grown to be a significant component of the global economy, more businesses are ready to pay for ad placement.

Due to what appears to be a de-prioritization, organic SEO specialists are being compelled to create novel new techniques for not only appearing on the top page but also competing with sponsored advertisements.

SERPs have been impacted by local search changes as well. Google has added a local pack to search results as part of its never-ending effort to give people more pertinent results. This cluster of three close companies seems to answer the question. With a map indicating their position, they are listed at the top of the first page of the results.

This was encouraging for small local enterprises who face off against big national chains. However, it added a new dimension to the task of SEO experts.

This led to the emergence of local sponsored search ads in addition to increasing competition for local search results.

Additionally, there are other factors that also move organic results down the page. Your link might also have to contend with the following, depending on the search:

  • Shopping ads.
  • Automated extensions.
  • Featured snippets.
  • Video or image carousels.
  • News stories.

Google has also started immediately responding to queries (and suggesting related questions and answers). As a result, searches that terminate on the SERP without clicking through to another website are now known as “zero-click searches,” or ZCS.

It is concerning for anyone who depends on clicks to make a living that in 2020, close to 65% of all queries received no clicks.

In light of this, and as organic results continue to decline, it is understandable why some SEO specialists are losing patience. Web marketers who are knowledgeable, however, view these as opportunities rather than just difficulties.

It is understandable that some SEO experts are losing patience in light of this and the fact that organic results are still declining. However, experienced web marketers see these as opportunities rather than merely challenges.

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Use Your Voice

Making a grocery list or taking a note used to require finding some paper and writing using a pen. akin to a caveman Thankfully, those times are a thing of the past—or at the very least, technology has taken their place. Much of the internet is now accessible just by using your voice, whether you’re asking Siri to play your favourite song, Cortana how much the moon weighs, or Alexa to check the price of Apple stock.

Worldwide usage of digital personal assistants reached 4.2 million in 2020. And when more people start using devices like the Amazon Echo, Sonos One, Google Nest Hub, and similar ones, that number is predicted to double by 2024.

Users can now use voice search without owning one of these smart speakers. 75% of smartphone owners use Google Assistant, whereas 90% of iPhone owners use Siri.

We’ve noticed a significant rise in voice searches with the introduction of these virtual assistants. Here are a few intriguing details regarding voice search:

  • Voice search on mobile devices is used by 27% of the world’s population, according to Think with Google.
  • The growth of voice shopping from 2018 to 2021 was 213%.
  • 127 million Americans utilised voice assistants in cars in 2021.

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Technology is great, isn’t it?

Depending on who you are, yes. This poses some issues if you work in SEO (and since you are reading this, we will presume that you do).

After all, if there are no clicks involved, how can you generate traffic to your website? The solution is simple: you must optimise voice search. Voice-activated gadgets are not operational

Enhancing the calibre of your knowledge is the ideal strategy to accomplish this once more. To ensure that your material appears at the top of search results and receives the vocal click-throughs (is that a word?) you require, it must be the best response to a user’s query. Your content must fill that niche because users have discovered that more particular inquiries lead to more specific replies. It’s no longer sufficient to simply have online material that states, “T-shirts for sale,” as specificity appears to be a developing trend in SEO. Instead, you should narrow down your search terms to just what your target is looking for, such as “medium Garfield t-shirts + yellow + long-sleeve.”

In What Ways Does This Affect SEO?

Let’s recap what we’ve learnt so far after looking at the main arguments pessimists and cynics use to wrongly declare that SEO is dead:

  1. Google’s algorithms will never satisfy it. It will constantly believe there is room for improvement and growth in its capacity to accurately respond to a search inquiry. And rather than signalling SEO’s demise, this reinforces its significance going forward.
  2. Google is able to better grasp the intent behind a search and, as a result, give more relevant options thanks to machine learning, particularly with regard to natural language. Instead of only include keywords, your material should concentrate on providing answers.
  3. Using only long-tail keywords is an old and useless tactic, but they are crucial for addressing specific queries, especially in featured answer sections.
  4. While it is outdated and ineffective to simply employ long-tail keywords, they are essential for answering specific queries, especially in featured answer areas.
  5. Nearly two-thirds of all searches are zero-click, which harms SEO statistics but gives you the opportunity to use structured data to earn a prominent position as a featured snippet.
  6. Voice search and personal digital assistants are becoming more popular. This necessitates reconsidering SEO tactics and making the material more discoverable and useful for voice search.

Have you detected a recurring theme across the entire essay? Evolution and the rule of the fittest apply.

You must continue to watch the SEO situation and adjust as necessary to adjustments if you don’t want to lose out on significant web traffic.

As new opportunities come along, your plan needs to be more sophisticated. It must be prepared to immediately pivot.

Above all, keep in mind that the focus should still be on your content.

Your website will receive the traffic you desire if you can effectively respond to an inquiry. You must rework it if it cannot till it can.

Just keep in mind that SEO will always be around.


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