During a Google Search Central SEO hangout recorded on July 2, Google’s Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, responded to a simple yet powerful question: “What’s your vision for the future of SEO?”
What happens now?
Despite not having a definitive answer (who could?), his response did address a common concern shared by those within the SEO industry—if Google’s machine learning algorithms are eventually able to understand everything about websites on their own, will there be any need for SEO? Mueller presents his vision for the future of SEO as such:
“I don’t have that five-minute answer on the future of SEO. I think one of the things that people always worry about is everything around machine learning and that Google’s algorithms will get so far as to automatically understand every website, and SEO will be obsolete, nobody will need to do that. I don’t think that will happen.”
SEO remains relevant
Essentially, he seems to indicate that regardless of how sophisticated CMSs get, there will always be new problems to tackle.
“Similar to how things have evolved the last 10-20 years as well wherein the beginning you would write your own PHP code and craft your own HTML, and it was a lot of work and over time all of these CMS’s evolved where essentially anyone can go off and create a website without having to really understand any of these HTML and kind of like server-side basics.”
The future of SEO
Of course, some automation and optimization will occur as a result of different tools. Mueller gives the following example:
“And I think that evolution will continue and there will be more and more tools available, and you’ll be able to do more and more things in a way that kind of works fairly well for search engines, and it’s not that the SEO work will go away but rather it will evolve.
So maybe instead of like hand tweaking H2 tags and H1 tags you’ll delegate that to a CMS that makes sure that the most important content is already included as a heading on the page.”