Great opportunities and risks for the next 12 months

Where should I focus on my SEO strategy for next year?

What emerging factors will help me outperform my competition?

What threats can hinder my success?

Our September 28 webinar reviewed the answers, moderated by me, and presented here by Shelley Walsh, Special Projects Editor, in Search Engine Journal.

Here is an overview of the webinar presentation.

In May 2021, Search Engine Journal surveyed 2,830 SEO professionals and found excellent results for our first flagship SEO survey.

The state of SEO: the best opportunities and risks for the next 12 months.

From the survey, we’ve taken the data and linked it to next year.

The focus is on the emerging factors in SEO and what the risks are.

We are going to see:

  • What should you do in advance?
  • What should you start doing?

Here is a translation of these results and why they should be given importance.

The first good news.

Despite the epidemic uncertainty, client budgets have increased.

The state of SEO: the best opportunities and risks for the next 12 months.

This chart represents how many businesses have doubled their online spending and significantly reduced their offline spending.

It also shows how many clients initially froze their budgets when the epidemic began but quickly returned to the board as it became clear how important digital success is in the new axis.

Customers eventually realize that SEO is essential to their success.

The state of SEO.

This indicates that many people consider SEO to be a key part of their marketing strategy.

There is a real shortage of resources in the industry and there is a huge demand for talent. As a result, wages have skyrocketed.

Now is the best time to become an SEO professional.

What should you do

As the SEO industry grows stronger and healthier, so does the potential for growth and opportunity.

So as an SEO professional, what should you focus on right now?

We asked our audience what were the most important factors in last year’s ranking.

The state of SEO.

These results highlight the essence of SEO.

Since SEO is a combination of the many components that make ranking successful, Walsh’s advice is to make sure all your basics and best practices are in order.

  • On-page metadata is fully optimized.
  • Content responds to user intent.
  • Contact reputable sources (if necessary)
  • Site pages load faster.
  • Build your brand online.
  • The site is suitable for mobile.
  • Improve internal connectivity.

In the following survey, we asked about the biggest risk to SEO in the next two years.

The state of SEO.

SEO is very reluctant to rely on Google through organic and paid search.

Google is a threat.

The state of SEO.

Google searches that end without a click are not an accurate indication of the end of the opportunity because some people think they are.

But regardless, the discussion of zero click SERPs is so dependent on any single entity that we have no control over it.

So what are we going to do to handle this and move on to the threat that Google is imposing?

Think like Google.

  • No: How can I play the system?
  • Yes: How can I best help my audience?

Give Google what it wants.

It is a complex symbiotic relationship. But Google needs publishers like the ones Google has now created.

Google’s business is to provide quality data, and it just wants to make sure its users come back.

So this means that the results they are presenting will be the best answer to the user’s query.

Google is putting the user at the front and center, and by getting into that mindset, you can start building a more sustainable strategy and website.

Stable or durable?

Whether you like it or not, you’re in a close relationship with Google, and trying to work with them is better than working against them.

You need to think about what kind of business you want to start.

Do you want to constantly play the system, or do you want to build something that you know is durable and long-lived?

What you should do – Summary

  • Apply best practices to all top ranking factors – it’s a combination of many parts.
  • Work with Google, not against them – it’s a symbolic relationship of mutual benefit.
  • Take advantage of Zero Click SERPs by claiming prominent snippets and full results.

What should you start doing?

As part of our survey, we asked what would be the most important emergency factors in SEO over the next two years.

The state of SEO.

Walsh talked about some of these factors and why they are important and what you can do to move forward.

Basic WebVital.

There has been a lot of discussion about how important they are and how much they are contributing to the rankings.

The state of SEO.

Google wants a seamless page so it can deliver quick results to the user.

They want their core business to deliver the best results by sending customers to pages that are living up to their promise.

They’re trying to show the best results for just one query, and in doing so, they have a lot of user feedback.

To get your basic WebVital in full technical configuration, meet the following requirements on the page:

  • Required
  • Reliable
  • Accessible
  • Searchable
  • Usable
  • Useful.

Follow the user, not the algorithm.

Structured data.

“Google is increasingly using structured data to understand the content of a site and offer better web results to users.”

– Google Chrome Developers

Applying the schema to get the best results can significantly increase some lists.

The state of SEO.

If you look here, you can see how the image is drawn on the BBC site. The star rating also looks at you.

You also get additional data on cooking times and calories, which also helps in getting significant traffic.

Knowledge graph.

Below is Walsh’s conclusion that was not in the first four, but it is important to focus on that.

The state of SEO.

Google is transferring data to identify entities.

If you look at this graph to the right here, you will notice that these are highlights such as:

  • A person
  • A profession
  • Album
  • Gender
  • Age

These are opening up the knowledge graph, and the knowledge graph is probably one of the most important factors to consider in SEO right now.

It is adding information to the page, and it is sending a lot of signals to Google.

The graph is pulling from different sources to give you the best solution without relying on a single basis.

Wikipedia and Wikipedia

New Knowledge Graph also pulls data from trusted sources like Wikipedia and Wikidata, so you can add listings to your knowledge panel by getting listings in these places.

Knowledge Panel vs. Knowledge Graph.

Knowledge panel and knowledge graph are two different things.

Some people use these terms together, but they are different. The Knowledge Panel represents a subset of data from the Knowledge Graph.

In addition to the Knowledge Panel, the use of the Knowledge Graph will also be important to create a matching image for the topics.

To work with the Knowledge Graph, make sure you:

  • Use the data generated correctly on the pages.
  • Check the schema validation.
  • Find the full list of markup on

Machine learning

The state of SEO.

Machine learning is important to understand because it explains everything about Google’s algorithms, evolution and where search is going.

How machine learning, rank brain and hummingbird are connected.

Google introduced Rank Brain in 2015, and it’s a system that Google was trying to better understand the user’s intent to search queries.

RankBrain’s main focus was dealing with questions he had never seen before, so he was trying to develop the ability to guess that words and sentences have the same meaning.

Hummingbird, on the other hand, is the current algorithm that Google runs. Rank Brain feeds the hummingbird.

There is no specific algorithm, and machine learning consists of many parts, including the Rank Brain Knowledge Graph and how Google integrates institutions and information.

Google is trying to write more like a human with natural language queries and not just look at the keyword in the query in solitude like a robot.

Brit and Mom

In 2018 we were introduced to two-way encoder representation by Transformers (BERT), and it was then a machine learning technique for natural language processing.

It was a big step in how Google understood the questions, and it was trying to combine individual words and how their relationship changed meaning to give better results.

BERT is now ending with MUM. It intends to become a language modeling code as part of RankBrain.

For example, here’s a question “How can I complete Mario Cartes without cheating?”

The state of SEO.

The looted results are just the opposite of what we want.

Instead, it shows ten results of Mario Kart fraud, and this is where Google fails.

MUM is working to fix it. MUM ensures accuracy by looking at the words around the keywords so that they have a better understanding of the query.

To adapt to machine learning, you can:

  • Move on to natural questions.
  • Be more fluid with keyword phrases.
  • Avoid ‘fixed’ keywords.
  • Cover your main topic with related questions / topics.


Google is focused on preventing the spread of misinformation.

“There is a significant responsibility for our customers and the societies in which we work to thwart the efforts of those who seek to spread misinformation on our platforms.”

Google, 2019.

The state of SEO.

Google is urging publishers to make their content professional, authoritative, and reliable, as it constantly refers to the Search Quality Guidelines.

EAT is not a ranking factor, but it does promote quality and depth of content on your page.

This in itself is a shorthand for many gestures.

EAT is important for YMYL content.

“It may make sense for you to find experts to write or revise what you have written so that the content is” accurate and reliable. ” “It’s the content you want to feel comfortable with that your friends can share with other friends,” he added.

– John Moe, Google.

Here are the things to keep in mind for EAT:

  • Odd writers are becoming increasingly valuable.
  • Pay attention to the steps of your writers.
  • Use authors at home with authority and create author pages.
  • Ghost Right Volume Content.

Always keep learning.

Only 1.8% of people think that there are no emergency factors in SEO. This data shows good results because SEO is a constant investment in learning and testing.

You need to get the best results, and to be the best, you need to continue this evolution and always learn.

Key Tips

Take a deep dive into these areas to take your SEO to the next level:

  • How to apply the user experience.
  • How to get EAT on content.
  • What kind of artificial data can you apply?
  • Which feeds the knowledge graph.
  • How Hummingbird, RankBrain and MUM work.

SEO and Google are closely linked, so understanding what Google wants will go a long way toward your long-term success.

“Good SEO doesn’t learn what Google does, but why it does.”

Pedro Dias, formerly Google.

The State of SEO Survey is a wealth of insight and data with opportunities and risks. It’s free, so grab your copy today!

We haven’t been able to answer all of your questions, but join us for two more state SEO events:

  • SEJ Show: Join us for a live podcast on Friday, October 22nd. Click Subscribe to receive notifications when we’re live
  • Ask me anythingWednesday, November 17 Follow us on social For more details.

[Slides] The state of SEO: the best opportunities and risks for the next 12 months.

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Image credit

Featured Image: Search Engine Journal.
All screenshots were taken by the author, September 2021.

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