The Future of Web & SEO and How Web Analysts Should Prepare

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Clint Fontanella
Clint Fontanella

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It’s an exciting time for SEO. With the rise of AI and the maturation of social media, search landscapes are changing rapidly before our very eyes. Last year Google released a massive algorithm update that changed the way web analysts approach SEO.

future of web and seo and how analysts should prepare

The biggest change is the new addition of E-E-A-T guidelines, which is Google’s response to the rise of AI as a content generation tool. The second ‘E,’ which stands for Experience, is newly positioned alongside the pre-existing guidelines of expertise, authoritativeness, and trust.Download Now: Free State of Marketing Report

I’ll go over how some of the top web analysts are responding to this new algorithm update, and what the expectation is for SEO going forward.

(Author’s note: The data in this post, unless otherwise noted, comes from HubSpot’s State of Web and SEO 2023 Data Report, which surveyed 400+ web analysts in June 2023.)

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As the digital landscape continues to evolve, web analysts must stay ahead of the game to ensure their websites remain competitive and visible. Use the following jump links to navigate the article, or keep scrolling.

Table of Contents

The Current State of Content Creation & SEO

AI has had a huge impact on search and search engines like Google are scrambling to update their algorithms to prevent an influx of AI-generated content flooding the search landscape. Here’s an overview of how AI has affected search and what we can do to prepare for it.

AI creates a quality vs. quantity dilemma.

AI in content creation is a double-edged sword. 75% of blog professionals believe that generative AI will increase website traffic, and 58% of web analysts are already implementing AI into their workflow.

But, this ability to pump out content that’s gamified for search algorithms typically means that the quality of your output becomes less relevant. In other words, because you can produce more, it’s too tempting to focus on volume as the quality of your content suffers. This leads to a flood of irrelevant or unhelpful content that’s been optimized for search ranking – which isn’t good for users or the search engine.

One recent example we can look at is Sports Illustrated which used AI to generate product reviews on its website. Not only was the content clearly generated by AI, (see image below) but the company received tons of backlash for this move, resulting in a lot of negative PR.

example of Ai generated content

This is a clear example of AI being used improperly for content creation – it’s also where Google’s updated algorithm comes into play.

Google’s EEAT guidelines solve for irrelevant or unhelpful content.

The added ‘E’, or, ‘experience’ means that Google is now placing more importance on actual lived experience. It wants to know that the person who produced the information actually has some real experience with that topic. This means that when Google chooses between AI vs humans, humans are more important than ever to produce relevant content.

Google's EEAT guidelines

Content quality vs. quantity was already an issue for users. In fact, if you’ve ever added ‘Reddit’ to the end of your search query to get a more accurate result, you’re not alone. A 2022 Android Authority poll found that a whopping 70% of users add the term ‘Reddit’ to their search queries to get more accurate or relevant results.

People want user-generated content.

This proves that there’s a high demand for user-created content. People don’t want a gamefied article that just lists the same 10 popular tools that everyone is using. They want to hear real reviews from real people. The rise of AI is forcing Google to prioritize content from individuals and blogs that specialize in fields of content.

This is also why people gravitate towards mediums like podcasting over traditional talk shows. Data shows that there are 464.7 million podcast listeners, and the number is growing every day. People want proven experts and specialized content to get a trusted opinion on the subject they’re interested in.

The Future of Content Creation

Before we move on to user experience, let’s quickly summarize the future of content creation:

  • Specialized, user-generated content is king.
  • People want to hear from experts, and that’s being accounted for in search rankings.
  • Generative AI will increase content creation capabilities across all networks.

Now let’s look at how user experience is changing thanks to AI and other web technologies.

The Future of User Experience (UX)

Online user experiences are changing. As web designers and analysts, we’re learning how to make these experiences smoother and creating interfaces that streamline tedious processes.

But, that doesn’t mean that everything is changing overnight. Below are a few things to keep in mind about the future of user experience and what to look out for in the coming months.

Content will still be centered around search.

Similar to what we have observed in recent years, the top SEO strategies are all centered around search. Even though Google is constantly changing its algorithm, it’s still the preferred option for pretty much anyone who is looking for information.

seo strategies for 2024

But, now that we are challenged to meet EEAT standards, these strategies look a little different. Content creators need to infuse firsthand experience into topics in order to “optimize on-page content around keywords and search intent.”

This means if you want your content to rank high on search, it needs to be helpful and written by a real person. It’s the question of how to do this at scale that most content teams will have to answer.

AI will improve the quality and quantity of UX research.

UX has always been intertwined with SEO research. After all, the main job of a UX researcher is to understand consumer needs, identify target markets, motivations, and more. If you know how your customer feels about your product, you can better help solve their needs.

AI helps these professionals gain more insights into customer behavior. Simple things that have always existed, like sentiment analysis, are now supercharged with AI that can parse vast amounts of unstructured data. Not only are these measurement tools becoming more detailed and sophisticated, but AI gives researchers the ability to test larger sample sizes yielding more accurate and precise results.

Mobile experience will become even more important.

Mobile-friendly design is more important than ever in the digital age. An astounding 80% of Gen Z respondents use mobile phones more than any other device to look up search results.

Bar chart of generations’ mobile phone usage. 54% total, 80% gen z, 62% millennials, 66% Gen X, 35% Boomers.

From the bar chart, you can clearly see that mobile users are a huge priority moving forward in the future SEO landscape. If you remove boomers from this data, almost 70% of respondents use mobile more than any other device for search queries. Smartphones have given us the ability to research on the go and our iPhones aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Future generations will continue to lean on mobile until we come up with an even faster way to look up information.

More than just being something you have to do, mobile is also a huge opportunity for your business. First and foremost, make sure your website’s design is mobile-friendly. Think about it – once Google directs people to your site, they should be greeted with a user-friendly experience.

If you have a mobile app, make it appear in mobile queries to increase lead generation for your website. You can also use it as a powerful customer experience tool that delights users and keeps them coming back to your app for more.

HubSpot uses the information you provide to us to contact you about our relevant content, products, and services. HubSpot will share the information you provide to us with the following partners, who will use your information for similar purposes: Search Engine Journal, Litmus, Rock Content. You can unsubscribe from communications from HubSpot at any time. For more information, check out HubSpot's Privacy Policy. To unsubscribe from Search Engine Journal's communications, see Search Engine Journal's Privacy Policy. To unsubscribe from Litmus's communications, see Litmus's Privacy Policy. To unsubscribe from Rock Content's communications, see Rock Content's Privacy Policy.

The State of Marketing in 2024

HubSpot's Annual Inbound Marketing Trends Report

  • Top Marketing Channels
  • AI in Marketing
  • Managing Privacy
  • The Future of Marketing
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The Rise of Social Media (& Its Impact on SEO)

Social media is influencing SEO.

Going hand in hand with mobile experience is social media. Social media platforms are becoming increasingly influential in SEO because younger generations heavily rely on it for shopping, researching new brands and products, and keeping up with trends. This is partially due to personal recommendations becoming more and more popular. People are more likely to try a brand that they heard about from someone they trust, thus the rising popularity of social media influencers.

One survey found that 51% of Gen Z women prefer TikTok to Google for search. Now, this doesn’t mean you should jump ship from Google and start uploading all of your content as trendy dance videos. But it does show that if your brand isn’t leveraging social media to increase awareness, it’s falling behind. It’s important to have a strong social presence wherever your consumers are active online and there are a number of tools for market research that you can use to figure out which social platforms your audience typically uses.

Even just having an account for customers to interact with can be a critical way of fostering brand interest and community.

Content creators have more tools to work with.

Whether it's TikTok, Instagram, or any platform in between, content creators have a slew of free tools at their disposal to generate content. For instance, TikTok can help you create trendy videos, Instagram can generate stunning photographs, and even Snapchat can be used to create stickers.

And, the best part is: they’re all interchangeable. Just because you shot the video on TikTok doesn’t mean it can’t be republished on your Facebook or even your website. In fact, many brands will host videos only on their webpages so users have to visit their website rather than YouTube to access their content.

Web analysts have more opportunities to partner with social media strategists.

You might be sitting there thinking, “I’m a web analyst. What does social media have to do with me?”

With more and more social media platforms on the rise, we’re seeing more opportunities to direct users to your website from social content. Let’s go back to TikTok for a second. You can link users to your website or app directly in the video you’re posting. Here’s one example from a mobile game that keeps showing up on my timeline.

As a web analyst, this is just one new channel that you’ll want to track the effectiveness of. Each social media platform has its own features and tools that can direct users to specific areas of your site. Take advantage of these tools and you’ll create powerful conversion paths that are seamless for social media.

The Future of Web & SEO

AI, mobile experiences, and EEAT are just the latest developments in the world of content creation and SEO. As web analysts and content strategists, we need to stay on top of these technologies and trends because a lot more to come down the pipeline. The sooner we dive in, the easier it will be to keep a pulse on these changes as they continue to happen over time.

For now, the biggest takeaway is that both search engines and consumers are looking for user-generated, reliable content. It’s not about how much content AI can help you produce, but rather how great can you make that content with the assistance of AI. And, now that AI can save you time in content creation, how can you reallocate that time to create an even better user experience.state-of-marketing-2024

Topics: SEO

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