Some Thoughts On The Future of Search

The search engine world never rests. As online marketing professionals discover new ways to obtain top rankings the algorithms evolve right along side. There are two primary reasons behind the updating of ranking algorithms. To increase the quality and relevancy of the results, and to decrease the many pages of online spam.

As the algorithms are updated, new ways to affect the results are discovered, and the algorithm must then be again adjusted. This is a cycle that has been around since the early days of search, and one that won’t be going away any time soon. A lot has changed over the years, and the future is sure to also deliver its plethora of surprises, but there are three main factors that will always have some level of impact on your search results.

SEO, Content and Links

Some people say that the world of search engine optimization is over and that the entire basis behind successful rankings lies in the power of incoming links. While incoming links do play a significant role, and in most cases are a necessity, they are far from the only determining factor.

There are many determining factors behind what will affect the ranking of a site. The three largest contributing factors are SEO, links, and site content. To compete in highly competitive industries a site needs numerous on-topic pages of content, relevant incoming links from a variety of sources, and, solid site optimization. While search is always changing, these three factors will remain constant. Each may change in the level of impact they have, but they will always contribute to the top listings.

Not necessarily. If SEO is always changing then it is feasible that the contributing factors will change. Who’s to say that some future development will not affect the complete nature of the beast? In 1995, no one could have predicted that Google would have been top dog nor that blogging would be the fastest growing Internet enterprise in 2006. Neither existed at that time. From the way things looked at that time, Yahoo! had a hold on the Web as the front runner in the search game – if it could be called that then.

RSS will likely lead to something greater. ICANN could eventually become an international organisation, under the hubris of the U.N. or as its own independent organization, with elected representatives from each country that offers Internet access to its citizens. Perhaps satellite technology will be so advanced that we’ll be talking through digital microphones clipped to our lapels that beam an instant signal into outerspace and lands on someone’s server in the Antarctica, then instantly is heard as a radio signal on laptops, desktops, PDAs, cell phones, GPSs, TVs, car radios, elevators and public intercom systems simultaneously the world over.

One thing is certainly true. Search in 2016 will be vastly different than it is today.

Site content and SEO go hand in hand. Content is very important, but without the SEO to add focus, it can go unnoticed. Proper keyword densities, link paths and keyword placement will always play a role in having the content discovered and ranked by the search engines. If the fundamental SEO aspects are not in place, there is a strong chance that the content may never see the light of day. Incoming links add focus and relevance for the site overall, but if the content is not relevant to the desired phrases the odds of obtaining a top ranking are very bleak.

Keyword density overrated and content is vaguely defined. That definition will continue to change and SEO along with it. Link popularity will decline as more and more SEOs place emphasis on it. Already we are seeing advertisers selling links and bloggers offering up posts for sale, creating a moving link farm. Google places too much emphasis on this, for a good reason, but they’ve gone too far and there will likely be repercussions that will force the search engine to correct its algorithms much the same way that markets see corrections. Look for the emphasis on link strategies to decline while the definition and importance of unique content will rise. PLR will disappear – we hope.

Links play, and will continue to play a strong role in the future of search rankings as they add that important vote of confidence. When site A links to site B, that tells the search engines site B is worth considering. Value is passed, based on relevance and the overall authority of site A.

Again, not necessarily true. What makes site A an authority? All it means is that A and B are friends, or that A likes B enough to call B a friend. If that’s all it takes for a search engine to show respect to B, then they can be sufficiently fooled by wealth. Someone with $1 million to spare can build an empire of web sites designed only to point to one other web site (B) and make it look more respectful than it really is. Google put an end to objectivity when it turned search into a popularity contest.

As more and more webmasters develop new linking schemes, the algorithms responsible for displaying top sites have to continually evolve to weed out the ever increasing amounts of spam. While Google’s current algorithm relies heavily on incoming links, especially for sites in highly competitive markets, this algorithm will have to change and mutate over time as the internet continues to evolve. If rankings were determined 100% by inbound links where would this leave us? Thousands, if not millions, of valuable websites would go completely unnoticed. We would also see many sites ranking that are not relevant to the actual search term due to issues related to Google bombing.

Political opinions aside, the single word “failure” does not accurately represent the George Bush bio page; however, it continues to rank #1 in Google. This was made possible by the anchor text used in links posted by thousands of bloggers and webmasters. If links were solely responsible for rankings, we would see a lot more examples of Google Bombing as the actual number of links required to ‘bomb’ would decline.

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