You're not alone in thinking that industry trends move at the speed of light. And it isn't specific to just SEO or marketing; the current state of technology and SaaS is more volatile than ever. Predictions can come true or become obsolete in the blink of an eye and the space of mere days.
Does that mean digital marketers should give up on thinking strategically? Of course not. It just means professionals today need to be keenly aware of industry trends while remaining agile in anticipation of the unexpected.
Our team of experts at Moz have the experience and data to have a finger on the pulse of what's affecting SEO today. Here are top four trends we're watching.
1. Embrace localized search alongside traditional efforts
According to Director of Lifecycle Marketing Kelly Cooper, "The bifurcation of local SEO and traditional SEO will close. This is because Google wants to show results that are most relevant to users, and location is increasingly gaining dominance as a search engine ranking factor. As consumer search expectations evolve in pace with Google innovation, SEO software companies and SEOs will need to embrace local at their core: If they haven't already, they're already behind."
2. Build out your technical SEO skillset
In the past, marketers may have focused on events or content marketing while colleagues handled SEO. That's no longer how teams should operate: Everyone in Marketing should have some understanding of how SEO plays a role in individual marketing efforts.
Director of Product Marketing Brittani Dinsmore advises: "Every marketer will need to have at least baseline knowledge of SEO principles. It's fundamental to decision-making about the online customer experience as well as the in-store experience. You can learn from SEO-based research and understand the tactics and best-practices it takes to influence organic results. For example, positive online reviews are critical for both your SEO performance and your brand's reputation. A strategic marketer must know what their local SERPs look like to customers in their target markets to inform strategic marketing decisions. It's as important as knowing what your product looks like on the shelf, what customers think of it, and how easy it is to find... For marketers who are dedicated to SEO principles, this becomes a virtuous cycle."
3. Expect Google's decisions to disrupt more and more industries
SEOs and digital marketers are keenly aware of the power that Google has to shake up the status quo. And the search giant shows no signs of stopping. Principal Search Scientist Russ Jones predicts that "we will see Google continue to crack down on certain advertising industries. The latest target is credit repair related services, although we've seen the same in the medical and adult industries over Google's lifetime. When these bans take place, it creates a short-term opportunity for companies to shift advertising dollars to organic. Those that make this pivot quickly and strongly stand to gain a substantial market share in the long run."
4. The rise of voice means algorithms will need to be re-optimized or rebuilt
How often do you search for something via voice? It depends on who you ask, but younger generations are increasingly opting out of using a keyboard and are instead using their voice to get the results they want.
Marketing Scientist Dr. Pete Meyers has thoughts on how algorithms need to respond: "As voice searches on smartphones and voice devices grow, people are becoming more comfortable with longer, natural-language searches. This trend has not only led Google to completely rebuild their search algorithm (for all searches, not just voice) but to focus more features specifically on answering questions. While most brands won't need to rush to create a voice app or voice-specific content, it's vital that they understand how natural language is changing search; [they should] have the data necessary to track long-tail phrases and questions, and [they should] move away from a narrow focus on so-called 'head' terms. This not only represents a shift in keyword research, but in content creation and strategy. Google's ability to understand natural-language and [to] process meaning will only accelerate."