The Future of SEO: A Small Business Guide


SEO has been a dominant force in modern business for some 20 to 30 years, but it’s changed hugely across its ever-lengthening lifespan.

Gone are the days where exchanging cash for backlinks could propel a site to the top of the rankings, or when backlinking a site across numerous directories could provide ample SEO juice for free.

Google, as we must expect, will only ever get smarter. And where Google goes, other search engines will follow. In a sense, SEO has always been an arms race between Google and marketers looking for quick wins, but Google usually comes out on top in the end.

A recent development that proves this is Google’s further crackdown on link exchanges which now violate their webmaster’s guidelines more explicitly than ever, though most marketers agree that link exchanges are safe when kept at a sensible level.

So, what is the future of SEO and how can business owners prepare themselves?

1: Forget About Exact-Match Keywords

There was once a time where each and every blog post would require an exhaustive list of keywords to be dispersed throughout the text. SEO marketers would be intent on ensuring their site’s content had all the right words for Google to understand it and rank it for those terms.

Since the Google BERT natural language processing algorithm has developed, exact match keywords are no substitute for genuinely well-written, info-packed content that serves the reader and their queries.

Google Bert

BERT means that SEOs and website owners can focus on producing quality content around a topic/subject/niche without worrying too much about Google’s ability to understand it – that should come naturally if the post itself is well-constructed.

  • Exact match keywords have lost their impetus
  • Use info-rich natural language in posts and content
  • Keyword research is still essential for finding topic ideas
  • Show search engines that you have sufficient technical terminology and vocabulary for the topic

2: Understand the Evolution of the SERPs

The search engine results page (SERPs) are becoming more advanced and more visual in nature. Marking up web pages with structured data ensures that search engines have the best chance of understanding the structure of your web pages, providing the opportunity for rich snippets. Yoast has an excellent guide on rich snippets here.

Future of SEO


Creating videos and of course, images, are two other ways to optimize web pages for the modern SERPs. Marking up FAQ sections can also improve the chances of Google ranks FAQ snippets in the ‘People Also Ask’ part of the SERPs.

  • Marking up pages with structured data will help Google display enhanced search results for your web pages
  • Add optimized images and videos to web pages
  • Leverage FAQ sections to take advantage of the ‘People Also Ask’ section
  • Repurpose content from social media, e.g. YouTube, and add it to your blog

3: Build a Brand

Neil Patel discussed an interesting phenomenon he experienced when his own web traffic suddenly increased. Patel concluded that this rise in traffic was likely associated with increasing search volume for him as a brand. He then conducted a PR stunt where he’d target influencers and celebrities to simply hold up pictures of his name, thus triggering people to Google his name which in turn boosted both rankings and traffic.

Basically, Google wants to see more people search your site as a brand, and more (preferably backlinked) branded mentions of your site. To do this, make sure you’re driving traffic to your site from other channels, e.g. social media.

Get people talking about your brand using PR stunts and influencer marketing – it’s not as difficult as many people assume. The bottom line is, the more people that find your brand by its brand name and not just a search query, the better.

  • Focus on developing your business as a brand
  • Drive traffic to your site from social media and other marketing channels
  • Try influencer marketing to get your branded products in front of massive audiences
  • Encourage followers to search for your business using its brand name

Summary: The Future of SEO: Small Business Guide

The future of SEO always remains somewhat hard to predict. As Google gets smarter, reverse engineering its algorithms gets harder. But, this also places additional emphasis on honest, transparent, and organic SEO practices.

Small businesses should always look to drive traffic to their site from multiple channels and encourage their followers to search their brand names directly in Google and other search engines.


My mother in law loves to sew.

A few years ago she asked me how to set up an online store.

She wanted to sell fancy throw pillows she was making.

I gave her very basic steps. Enough to get started (I don't know much about ecom).

A few weeks later she showed me her site. It

Everyone wants “yes.”

But they don’t wanna pay the price.

100 Nos is the price of one yes.

You can get as many as yeses as you damn well please as long as you’re willing to pay the price.

I was sad to learn that Charlie Munger died today at age 99.

What a life.

He would likely roll his eyes and argue that none of us should be too surprised, based on the actuarial tables, but we’ve lost one of the 20th century’s greatest investors and businessmen.

Chris and I

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