Bots, Mobile and Algorithm Updates – The Future Of SEO

by | Jul 7, 2016 | Actionable SEO Tips

by Colm O’Sullivan, SEO Specialist, AIM Ireland.

google future seeAt the latest SMX Search Marketing conference in Seattle, Google’s Gary Illyes took part in an Ask Me Anything interview on the present state and future of SEO.

Gary is a webmaster trends expert at Google, and one of their main spokespeople on everything Google search related. His hour long interview can be seen below. The key takeaways from his sit-down with Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land are, as follows.

Algorithm Updates

Algorithms power Goolge search. They are the computer processes and formulas that take our search queries and turn them into answers. Google use an algorithm to rank and return the most relevant results to users. When major updates are rolled out, it’s to improve search results.

At every given opportunity, Gary Illyes is asked about Panda and Penguin updates, and it was no different, in Seattle.

Panda is the update that targeted poor quality sites, with thin content. It’s the update that has been most beneficial to online publishing businesses who produce high quality content. Prior to Panda, it was easy to rank with poor content if you had some decent links in your article. Over the past 12 months, there has been a lot of talk about Panda working in real time. Gary cleared that up at SMX by saying Panda is a slow, continuously running update, not real-time. When asked about how long it takes to crawl through all pages, he said it takes months to crawl through all the pages in the web, score a site, then roll it out to the index.

Penguin updates target sites with low quality links and spammy keyword stuffed content. Penguin changed link-building overnight. Links are, and will always be a major ranking factor for Google search. However, joining poor quality directories and poor quality social bookmarking sites just to get links is no longer a good idea. If this is currently part of your SEO efforts, you should rethink your strategy. Get in touch, if you’d like to discuss your current SEO plan.

A Penguin update was expected late last year, and it still hasn’t come. At SMX, Gary wouldn’t give a timeline on when the next version of Penguin is going to be released. He did say that the Google team are currently working on it. He also advised that he doesn’t want to give a date because he was wrong too many times about the release date in the past.

Mobile Search

At our latest visit to Google HQ, Google made it clear that load times and page speed are going to be extremely important for mobile search. At SMX, Illyes confirmed that the speed of your mobile pages doesn’t currently impact your mobile rankings but said that load speed is going to become a ranking signal for mobile search, soon. When asked what SEO’s and webmasters should be preparing for in the coming year, Illyes advised that Accelerated Mobile Pages is “going to be big”. Median load times for AMP pages is under one second and that’s what users are starting to expect, he said. Illyes also advised that SEO’s should be starting to prepare resources now, to implement AMP, suggesting it’s rollout to Google search is imminent.

Smart bots

Illyes final comment was on the rise of smart bots and assistants claiming marketer’s should “look at developments around assistants and chat bots. They are going to be huge, and you want to be among the first people who get on those features. This is the future of Google, so stay on top of it.”

Recently, Facebook announced that it is adding new tools and features to its Messenger Platform including an application where advertisers can build chat-bots to use on Facebook Messenger.

This article explains how smart bots can be used on messenger apps and on sites selling products.

Take a health business, selling supplements and information as an example. Right now, if a user comes to their site looking for a product to treat a specific ailment, they’d have to browse through and filter results until they eventually find what they want. But if a bot knew the collection inside and out, the user could just ask the bot ‘do you have any supplements to treat high cholesterol?’ and the bot could display them.

The marketing and customer service opportunities with bots are endless, and something to keep an eye on in the coming months.

Keeping up with the latest news from Google isn’t always easy. If you’re interested in the latest Google search news, follow Gary on Twitter, @methode. The full AMA can be viewed below.

Thanks for reading,

Colm O Sullivan Sig
Colm O’ Sullivan,
SEO Specialist, AIM

P.S. AIM provides a number of digital marketing services, for your business including a free basic and paid in-depth SEO audit. Contact us today to find out more.