We're celebrating our 20th birthday this month, and we've invited industry experts, researchers and scientists to write in and paint a vision of the future, 20 years from now. Here's what Kaushal Thakkar from Infidigit had to share about his vision of the future.
Immersive technologies are already redefining the way we interacted a few years back. Virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality are no longer restricted to sci-fi movies but are being used for several activities.
It is only a matter of time that these immersive technologies change the way people consume information. When that possibly happens, the approach to search engine optimisation (SEO) will have to change too.
But to understand how SEO would come into play two decades down the line, we need to comprehend how mixed reality will be perceived and consumed? Going by the rate at which our communication devices (read: phones) are shrinking in size, mixed reality might only need a digitalised wearable lens to come alive.
In such circumstances, websites as we know them today would be obsolete by 2041 and a part of nostalgic archives. Instead, platforms would synthesise text, videos, images and sound to create immersive experiences that project information in mixed reality. Virtual characters and scenarios could be created and customised to present content in ways most engaging to the user.
Let’s say you want to buy shoes. The virtual shoe store will be presented in your environment. You will select the shoe and will try it on your own foot to check the fitting etc.
There would be several such immersive experience stores and information zones. Search engines will continue to play the crucial role of taking you to the right store or information zone suitable for you based on your query and your experience history.
User/buyer personas have always been a part of marketing strategies. But two decades into the future, the user persona will become the crucial element to personalise content and overall experiences.
Let’s say, you search for ‘how to bake a cake’ online. Instead of providing multiple results, you will be directly presented with the best result matching your query and history. A virtual avatar would appear before your eyes to guide you through the process in a realistic 3D environment. If the information is not what you wanted, you will just go back and ask the search engine with a more refined query, ‘how to bake a cake without eggs?’, the search engine would then project a new experience related to the updated query.
This approach to content delivery is something that is already being seen in voice searches. Google picks the most relevant website that features the answer to the query in focus and usually gives it a featured snippet position based on set criteria. The content highlighted in the snippet is what is being read by voice assistants when someone searches for the said query.
Similar to the present rivalry for achieving featured snippets to target voice commanded queries, there would be stiff competition in future to be chosen by search engines as a source for the first virtual experience being played on a lens or similar device.
So it will all boil down to SEO specialists streamlining factors most influential on these custom results for maximum visibility and engagement. Similar to the refined approach in present-day SEO practices for websites, marketers would have to improve the speed of the virtual experience’s stream, optimise content for the highest engagement in the shortest time, among other measures.
Audio files would also be an influential factor as mentions of the focus keywords in the audio would help search engines identify its validity to a particular phrase or query. Hence, keyword research and its placement would play a key role in future content development activities that prioritise intent.
Even then, this entire content development process would be just a part of a larger strategy. There would be several other factors like Internal linking that would evolve. Serving as an upgrade to internal links seen in today’s websites, the portals would feature interactable connections that would immersively link and transition between various related modules. These internal connections could then serve search engines as a key reference point to weigh a platform or modules’ utility as per user intent and a major focus point for future SEO marketing efforts.
But as the search engines become more technologically advanced, so will the tools that help observe and track these activities. SEO might likely get further democratised with access to more tools for marketers to optimise their strategies with minimal effort and intervention.
However, SEO is and will be much more than executing a few checkpoints. In the data-heavy world that will shape up in future, data-driven approaches crafted by SEO experts will still drive the biggest growth stories with promising ROI. Something that consultants such as Infidigit have already been doing in the present. And businesses who wish to create new milestones in visibility and ROI are likely to choose experts in the future too, just like they do today.
By- Kaushal Thakkar, Founder & Managing Director, Infidigit
To read what other industry leaders and experts have to say about the future in their respective fields, visit our 20th Anniversary Microsite
Contributions from industry leaders and visionaries on trends, disruptions and advancements that they predict for the future