The most important thing first: what does "future-proof SEO" actually mean? Is not SEO always about pushing your own page up the organic search results? Of course, that is and will remain the goal in the future.
The way how we arrive at these top rankings, but is constantly changing. Again and again, Google tightened the rules, after all, only really relevant results should be displayed. So how can you optimize your website so that you do not sweat on future algorithm updates?
Quite simple: always orient yourself, always on what the seekers (and the Google algorithm) want to see - and want to see! What that means in detail, you will learn afterwards.
Part 1: What users like to see
You have to earn a place on the top of the search results. This is only possible with content that exactly matches the search intention. So if you want to stay on the ravages of time, you should pay attention to the following points.
Vague half-truths or even blatant copy-pasting: In an average Google search often turns out that many results are very similar to each other. If your content has fallen into this category so far, you should make sure that it changes as quickly as possible.
What you need is absolutely unique content. Everyone can write off. Finding your own spins and researching them in depth takes a bit longer. Do what no one else does and create content that actually stands out from the crowd. For example:
- Make theories and prove your assumptions with trustworthy (!) Sources.
- Look at studies that quote other pages on the topic. Who commissioned them? Could you question them or find more recent studies?
- What is behind the myths and rumors about topic XY?
- Illuminate a topic from different perspectives. Of course writing "objective" is not possible, since every text written by humans brings with it a certain amount of subjectivity. But you should not just write what suits your agenda. Stay honest and reflected.
- Present the results of your own studies or surveys. If you have your own data, then there is almost nothing more valuable in terms of expert status and linkability. Partly enough, a single, beautifully prepared and actively advertised evaluation and the link building is done once.
Incidentally, this is anything but exaggerated caution - the BERT update is already in the starting blocks and should be the biggest update in five years. Google emphasizes that it should not be about optimizing for BERT. At the same time it is the core update still important to produce content for real people, and the search intention to meet with pinpoint accuracy ...
Put your content in the best possible shape: a unique one. So try to create as many media formats as you can, because that's the only way you can bring in your personal touch. Yes, Stock Photos are easy to get, but the recognition value is zero.
Here is a small selection of formats that make a bit of DIY work worthwhile:
- Interactive elements
- Podcasts (see Google podcasts!)
Mobile Search and Voice Search
To say that Google's mobile search is on the rise would be hopelessly understated. In fact, Google is no longer geared to the performance of your desktop website, but to the mobile variant.
Unless you have already done so, you should definitely ...
- ... optimize load times (even without AMP): According to a Google study (2016) , 53 percent of page visits are canceled if the page takes more than three seconds to load.
- ... optimize the content layout for the mobile view
- ... Snack Able content produce
Not to forget is also the Voice Search. The voice-controlled search contributes significantly to the barrier-free Internet and has also really taken off with the advent of Alexa and Co. really.
Why is this so important from a SEO point of view? Well, voice search requires rethinking in terms of keyword optimization. Because who speaks individual keywords in the cell phone? Probably the least, and that's why you should incorporate in the course of voice search optimization questionnaire keywords.
Do not forget, however, that the search for a language, especially in the German-speaking world, is only just beginning. Your focus should currently be on classic search engine optimization. That means very simplified: Content, Architecture, Links and UX.
Actually, it is logical, but many do not want to admit it, until the rankings tell a different story: Just because your brand is very well known offline, does not mean that this call is automatically transferred to the online world. Sorry, it's a fact. That's why you should ...
- ... focus on building really good backlinks or creating linkable assets that will naturally be linked. You consolidate your expert status (see below).
- ... pay attention to customer comments! Keep an eye on what's being talked about in your forums, social media, question-answer pages, etc. If bad publicity takes place here, you should definitely do something about it.
Google summarizes the above points in the Quality Rater Guidelines under the acronym EAT (Expertise-Authoritative-Trustworthiness). Especially medical websites need a lot of EAT if they want to keep their visibility in the search results.
As far as anything that users expect from a website and what you can do to do better at this level than the competition. That was only half the work, because you have to convince the Google algorithm of your website.
Part 2: What the Google algorithm likes to see
Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness: There is no way around these three criteria when it comes to Google. The contributions must be trustworthy, come from a source of expertise and have some authority - not the easiest task. What to do?
A good EAT score
By what criteria does Google actually decide whether a content piece is "trustworthy" and of high quality? Good question, one might think - or delve a bit more into the matter. Google refers to the Search Quality Rater Guidelines and provides news about this core update on the Webmaster Blog .
So refresh your EAT knowledge regularly. In a nutshell, it all depends on ...
- ... Confidence signals: A photo of the author and an info box, who writes there, are mandatory.
- ... reviews of all kinds: rating platforms like Google My Business or Trustpilot and authentic customer reviews on Tripadvisor etc. - what you need are credible (!) Positive reviews.
Faking ratings or slaughtering for pure selfishness is, by the way, wasted time. Google is also looking more and more at reviews, as Moz recently showed.
Some exciting data from a study on EAT by Path Interactive :
- 51 percent of the websites that lost visibility were also affected by the Fred update.
- By using author descriptions on articles, the chance of winning is 16 percent higher.
- When a website presents awards and certifications visibly, the chance to score 850% higher is among the winners of EAT-related updates.
Of course, there are more than just good ratings for the EAT score. We all know what's coming now: Backlinks!
A well-maintained backlink profile
External links to your website continue to play a key role in sustaining good rankings. That should not come as a surprise, because ultimately Google can use the backlinks to evaluate the most reliable, how trustworthy a site is. Many high-quality links to your website mean translated: Here, there are useful, trusted, highly relevant content.
Do not just focus on getting links from your niche. Also mentions of influential sites that may not at first glance fall into your industry may be worth gold. Keyword: Tangential Content.
One last tip for guest articles, no matter where you publish them: Do it under your own name and with an author box, ideally including a photo. A generic entry "Guest Contribution" does not exactly convey expert status. And you finally want to establish it - trustworthiness sends its regards .
Presence at Wikipedia
Does that mean you need your own Wikipedia page, without ifs and buts? No. The fact is, however, that Google works a lot with Wikipedia data - and in this context, the Wikipedia presence will sooner or later definitely become relevant.
In practice this means: See if your top competition has Wikipedia links. If so, that's an indication that such a Wiki page in your niche is even more important.
Note: According to Path Interactive, having your own Wikipedia page increases your chances of being a winner by 21%.
Focus on user intent
You can not stress enough how important it is to make the search intent. This does not just apply in the sense of "delivering the right content". It is also important to convey it in the right form.
What is the best and fastest way to help users? In any case, you should ask yourself this question before planning your content.
Be sure to check out the top 10 search results for your keyword: What types of media and content formats are in the SERPs? This is a very good indication of what means you should use to push your content forward.
Among other things, orient yourself to long tail keywords, more specifically to specific questions. Clues even provides a first Google search: Look at what can be found under "users also ask". For example, the search term "seo" would be "What is SEO Marketing", "What do you do with SEO", etc. Your content must therefore briefly and concisely pick up the basics, such as a definition or FAQ section.
Insider tip: If you click on a result and then the back button, Google will show more suggestions below the result. These are probably based on what other users were looking for, after being dissatisfied with this result.
Impeccable technical SEO
Last but definitely not least of course, the technical substructure must be right. Be sure to take care ...
- structured data - identical on desktop and mobile
- perfectly optimized snippets
- a clean page structure
- Security - HTTPS is (clearly) mandatory!
- Redirects where they are needed
- Resolve forwarding chains
- Constant tracking and page performance analysis - this is the only way you know what works and where to optimize.
Search engine optimization will therefore not be child's play in the future. Quite the contrary: Who wants to operate SEO with vision, already has to know today, what can happen tomorrow. EAT, the increasing personalization of Google search, truly unique content, possibly even voice search: all this and more is crucial to how well a website can rank. In this sense, much success with the future-oriented search engine optimization!