Google on the future of SEO


The Google Search Relations team meets for a discussion on the future of SEO in the latest episode of the Search Off the Record podcast.

Google’s team of John Mueller, Gary Illyes and Martin Splitt talk about the changes they’ve seen over the past decade and anticipate the next step for SEO.

Specifically, the three Google veterans address the following aspects of SEO and predict their importance over the next few years:

  • Html
  • Javascript
  • Url
  • Meta tags
  • Structured data
  • Content
  • Voice search
  • And more

Here are all the highlights from the 45-minute-plus episode.

The future of HTML in SEO

Mueller suggests SEOs won’t need to learn HTML in the future, as content management systems (CMS) will become more adept at supporting the technical aspects of a website.

“Well, I mean, it’s like you just have a rich editor and just type things in and then format your text properly and add links. What should you do with HTML? “


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Illyes disagrees, saying SEO is more than just writing content. There are some important elements of SEO that require some understanding of HTML, and that probably won’t change in the future.

“But SEO is also about link tags, meta tags and title elements and all that weird stuff in the header section of HTML that you can put there.

So you kind of want to know them to control what your snippets look like or how your titles appear in search results and the rel canonical tag to control what will be the – or what should be the canonical version of a URL. You kind of want to know that.

At the end of the discussion, they all agree that HTML is not going anywhere when it comes to SEO.

The future of JavaScript in SEO

JavaScript might become more important for SEO in the future, but more on the Progressive Web Application (PWA) side compared to traditional websites.


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Mueller states:

“I think the user kind of expects to be able to use any app they have on any platform, any device they use. And we have the impression that this kind of work will continue too. And probably that means things like understanding JavaScript will also become more and more important to SEOs …

But it probably also means that a lot of these apps suddenly have to think about SEO in general. Like what do they actually want to find on the web, because in the past it was just apps. “

The future of URLs in SEO

Mueller discusses the subject of URLs and their possible disappearance in favor of entities or IP addresses.

Illyes says he doesn’t see URLs disappearing anytime soon:

Fortunately, URLs cannot go away … At least not in the foreseeable future, because the URLs they are in
standard way of communicating addresses on the Internet. And without it, the Internet just isn’t the Internet.

Likewise, domain names cannot disappear because of the way the Internet is built or IP addresses cannot disappear because of the way the Internet is built. Likewise, URLs cannot disappear.

The future of meta tags in SEO

Mueller asks if it is possible that more meta tags will be introduced in the future.

Splitt immediately dismisses this idea, claiming that there is hardly ever a good reason to introduce a new meta tag:

“I hope we don’t introduce more meta tags. And usually when you see internal discussion threads on, for example, this research team wants to introduce a new meta tag. Then usually John and I jump on that thread and push back quite aggressively as there is very rarely a good reason to introduce a new meta tag.

The future of structured data in SEO

Will there ever be a time when Google no longer needs structural data to understand the content of a page?

Splitt says Google is almost at this point already, but structured data is still useful and recommended:

“I’m pretty sure we can figure it out: Oh, it’s a product, and the name of the product is this and the price of the product is that and it’s a picture of the product.

But it’s pretty cool to have this straightforward machine-readable information where you can say, “Oh, so they specifically want us to see it as a product. “It’s basically a glorified meta tag…”


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The future of content in SEO

Mueller brings up the topic of text generation algorithms and whether SEOs will even need human writers in the future.

Illyes has so much to say on this topic that he thinks he should have his own podcast episode.

In short, Illyes sees the potential in machine-generated content and says it can sometimes be indistinguishable from content written by humans.

However, Google is unwilling to rank machine-generated content in search unless it has been reviewed by humans.

“I think that could be a topic in itself for a future podcast episode, because we can see the pros and cons of machine-generated content, and we’re pretty strict about what we allow in our index.

But on the other hand, you can also see some really good and smart machine-generated content – I don’t know how smart is a good word, but very smart machine-generated content…

Right now our stance on machine-generated content is that if it’s without human supervision, we don’t want it in search. If someone reviews it before showing it to the public, that’s okay.


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The future of voice search in SEO

Voice search is unlikely to be the next big thing in SEO, so don’t worry too much about learning how to optimize it.

Asked about voice search, Splitt replied:

“Oh my God, the future that will never be. I think not, because if we learn anything, I remember a few years ago people were like, oh, we’ll stop using keyboards and just do vocals.

And I think that’s a recurring theme from the 90s. But I think in the future it won’t change and will naturally or magically become the main thing we need to worry about, just because it changes the mood. modality of entry, and it probably changes the way queries are worded, but it doesn’t. t change the basic use of natural language to retrieve information from the Internet.

So I think you don’t have to worry about it too much, to be honest, but maybe it’s just me.


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Listen to the full podcast episode below:

Source: Research Off The Record

Featured Image: Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

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