Google experts John Mueller, Gary Illyes, and Martin Splitt discuss what they’ve seen in the past decade of SEO and how it may change with upcoming changes. The experts touched on various aspects of SEO such as:
- Meta tags
- Structured Data
The Future of HTML In SEO:
According to Mueller, SEOs won’t need to learn HTML in the future if content management systems (CMS) become better at managing technical aspects of a website.
“Well, I mean it’s like if you just have a a rich editor and you just type things in and then you format your text properly and you add some links. What do you need to do with HTML?”
Illyes disagrees with Mueller’s point of view.
While SEO is certainly content-related, it goes beyond that. There are elements of SEO that require some understanding of HTML, and that’s unlikely to change in the future.
“But SEO is also about link tags and meta tags and title elements and all those weird things in the head section of the HTML that you can put there.
So, you kind of want to know about them to control how your snippets look like or how your titles show up 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.”
By the end of the discussion, they’re all in agreement that HTML isn’t going anywhere as far as SEO is concerned.
The Future of URLs in SEO:
Mueller brings up the possibility of URLs becoming obsolete in favor of entities or IP addresses.
lllyes says he doesn’t see URLs going away any time soon:
“Fortunately, URLs cannot go away… At least not in the foreseeable future, because the URLs they are the
standard way to communicate addresses on the Internet. And without that the Internet is just not the Internet.
The same way domain names cannot go away because of how the Internet is built or IP addresses cannot go away because of how the Internet is built. The same way URLs cannot go away.”
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 have findable on the web, because in the past, they were just apps.”
The Future of Meta Tags in SEO:
Mueller asks Splitt if there is a possibility that more meta tags will be introduced in the future. Splitt immediately shoots down that idea, saying there is almost never a good reason for introducing a new meta tag.
“I hope that we are not introducing more meta tags. And usually, when you see internal threads about, like, this search team wants to introduce a new meta tag. Then usually both John and I jump on that thread and we are pushing back quite aggressively because there’s very rarely a good reason to introduce a new meta tag.”
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 sees potential in machine generated content and says it can be indistinguishable from content written by humans at times.
Content, however, needs to be reviewed by humans before Google will use it.
“I think that could be a topic on its own for a future podcast episode because we can see the pros and the cons of machine-generated content, and we are quite strict about what we allow in our index.
But on the flip side, you can also see very good and smart machine-generated—I don’t know if smart is a good word, but very intelligent machine-generated content…
Right now, our stance on machine-generated content is that if it’s without human supervision, then we don’t want it in search. If someone reviews it before putting it up for the public then it’s fine.”
The Future of Structured Data in SEO:
Will there be any point in SEO where Google would not need structured data to understand what is on the page?
Splitt says Google is almost at that point already.
But he also says structured data is still helpful and recommended.
“I’m pretty sure we can understand: Oh, this is a product, and the product’s name is this and the product’s price is that and this is a product image.
But it is kind of nice to have this explicit machine-readable information where you can say: “Oh, so they specifically want us to think of it as a product.” It’s basically a glorified meta tag…”
The future Of Voice 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 for it.
“Oh God, the future that never will be. I think no, because if we learn anything—I remember a bunch of years ago, people were like: Oh, we’ll stop using keyboards and just do voice.
And I think that has been a recurring theme from the 90s. But I think in the future, it won’t change and will naturally or magically become the number one thing that we need to worry about, simply because it changes the input modality, and it changes probably how queries are phrased, but it doesn’t change the fundamental use of natural language to retrieve information from the Internet.
So, I think you don’t have to worry too much about it, to be honest, but that’s maybe just me.”
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