What the future of SEO won't be

The future of SEO won't be focused on keyword stuffing, link schemes or high quantities of auto-generated content. AI should facilitate better people-first content.

Written by
Daniel Højris Bæk
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April 24, 2024

As technology continues to evolve, so does the world of SEO.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly prevalent in the world of SEO, and it's changing the way we think about optimizing content for search engines. AI writers are becoming more sophisticated and are able to create content that is more relevant and tailored to the needs of users.

Especially the recent launch of ChatGPT has made a lot of people speculate if this is the end of SEO as we know it.

Some even questions if these kinds of technologies will replace mighty Google.

We do not believe either is going to be the case, but a lot will happen in the future of SEO for sure.

Let's dive into some predictions of what SEO definitely won't be in the future and what to keep an eye on in order to continue getting that organic traffic from Google.

Let's start with looking back in time first.

The history of SEO and how it changed

The way SEO is done today is vastly different from the way it was done 20 years ago when I first encountered the discipline.

You can read one of my anecdotes on text spinners in the blog post about the Google guidelines and AI discussion.

  • In the early days of SEO, the focus was on keyword stuffing and link building. This involved adding as many keywords as possible to a website and building as many links as possible to the website from other websites. This was an effective way to get a website to rank higher in search engine results.
  • As search engines became more sophisticated, they began to focus more on quality content and user experience. This meant that websites had to focus more on providing useful content and making sure that the user experience was good.
  • With the introduction of mobile devices, SEO had to adapt to the new technology. This meant that websites had to be optimized for mobile devices, as well as desktop devices.
  • Social media has also become an important part of SEO. Social media signals such as likes, shares, and comments can help to boost a website’s ranking in search engine results.
  • AI is the latest addition to the SEO saga. Now SEO marketers can create AI generated content with things like AI writers and platforms just like our own here at SEO.ai. At the same time. AI can help create better content faster, analyze data, and provide insights into relevant topics and keywords. At the same time, AI is now an integrated part of Google's effort to present the best SERP results for users.

Things that will have less impact in the future

1. Keyword stuffing

Search engines are getting smarter and more sophisticated. This allows the Google algorithm to better understand the actual content and not just the mathematics of the words, in order to evaluate what goes into the search results. So keyword stuffing will no longer be an effective SEO tactic.

Keyword stuffing is when a website uses the same keyword multiple times in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings. This practice is no longer effective, and can even result in a website being penalized.

Google has been penalizing websites that use keyword stuffing for years, and this trend is likely to continue. This also means that there is no magic number of times you need to write a specific keyword in your article.

Are you writing to a particular word count because you've heard or read that Google has a preferred word count? (No, we don't).

Quote from Google Helpful content update.

2. Link schemes

With AI Google become better and better at understanding clever link schemes.

Link schemes are when a website attempts to manipulate search engine rankings by buying or exchanging links with other websites. This practice is no longer effective, and can even result in a website being penalized.

We have the recent years seen a growth in paid links, as this is essentially taking the "scheme" out of the "link scheme".

From Spam policies for Google web search

Google is actively combatting paid links by using algorithms that can detect when a link is paid for and remove the value of the links.

Google has also implemented a policy that requires websites to disclose when they have been paid for a link. This policy is designed to ensure that websites are not manipulating search engine rankings by using paid links.

Google does understand that buying and selling links is a normal part of the economy of the web for advertising and sponsorship purposes. It's not a violation of our policies to have such links as long as they are qualified with a rel="nofollow" or rel="sponsored" attribute value to the <a> tag.

Google is also using AI to detect when a link scheme is being used and will penalize websites that are found to be using them.

Google has been penalizing websites that use link schemes for years, and this trend is likely to continue.

Links are still important for SEO, but search engines are now looking more and more for quality links from reputable sources.

3. Content quantity

SEO in the future won't be about content quantity.

Quality content is more important than quantity when it comes to SEO. Search engines are now focusing on the quality of content rather than the quantity. This means that websites need to focus on creating content that is well-written, informative, and relevant to the topic.

Content that is relevant to the topic and provides value to the user.

Google is also using AI and algorithms to detect when content is copied or plagiarized, and will penalize websites that are found to be using it. This means that websites need to focus on creating original content that is of high quality.

This is also a part of the whole debate about whether AI content is ok or not, depending on whether it's seen as automatically generated content or just a way to improve quality with the user in mind. A topic we covered in the blog post "Is AI content against Google Webmaster Guidelines? Not any more".

4. Exact-match domains

Yes, even though we own the great seo.ai, we have to admit this factor is diminishing.

Search engines are now looking for relevance and authority - as well as getting better and better at actually understanding the content on the pages - so exact-match domains are no longer a reliable SEO tactic. Instead, websites should focus on creating content that is relevant to the topic and provides value to the user.

5. Optimising for just a single keyword

SEO won't be about optimizing for a single keyword.

Search engines are now looking for a variety of related keywords and phrases, so optimizing for a single keyword is no longer effective.

This is also why Google is looking for consistency in the topics compared to a site's audience and evaluating new content against it.

It's also a topic that our founder Torbjorn Flensted for many years has been focusing on under the umbrella of "Topic Cluster" strategies. He even made a book about it (unfortunately so far only in Danish.)

 What the future of SEO won't be

This is an article written by:

+20 years of experience from various digital agencies. Passionate about AI (artificial intelligence) and the superpowers it can unlock. I had my first experience with SEO back in 2001, working at a Danish web agency.