The future of SEO

As an SEO expert, I know how important it is to increase your company or organization’s online presence with an effective SEO strategy. Search Engine Optimization (SEO), however, is a complex field that is constantly evolving under the influence of new technologies and changed user behavior.

In this guide, I discuss some of the key trends and developments in SEO (the future of SEO) . Also covered are ways in which companies can respond. With its help, they can optimize their online visibility and findability. With my knowledge and expertise, I help business owners improve their SEO strategies. This allows them to better respond to user needs and outperform the competition.

Broadly speaking, what are the trends within SEO?

SEO is always evolving. There are several trends that could determine the direction of SEO in the future. Below I have listed some of the most important trends:

  1. Voice search: Voice search is becoming increasingly popular. An increasing number of individuals own a device with a smart speaker. With their voice, search engine users search differently than with typed searches. Therefore, SEO strategies must adapt to meet the demands of voice search. This should increasingly optimize keywords for natural language, as well as for long-tail search terms and conversational searches.
  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI and machine learning are already impacting SEO. This has led to search engines getting better at understanding context and semantic searches. In the future, search engines are likely to get even smarter. This means optimizing your website content not only for keywords, but also for themes and topics.
  1. Featured snippets: Featured snippets are highlighted search results located between the paid results and the first organic position. They have now become an integral part of SEO because they display the best and most relevant results for a search. Thus, optimizing content for featured snippets is expected to become increasingly important for SEO(1).
  1. Local SEO: Local SEO remains important as an increasing number of people search locally for products and services. To take advantage of local SEO, businesses must first and foremost optimize their Google My Business profiles. In addition, they should keep their NAW (name, address, phone number) information accurate and use local keywords in their content.
  1. Mobile Optimization: Mobile optimization has long been important to a website’s SEO. Since more than half of all searches anno now come from mobile devices, that will not change. This means that companies must now design their websites for mobile users as well. These should load quickly and be easy to navigate on smaller screens(2).

In short, the future of SEO is largely determined by the above trends and trends that will emerge in the future. As a website owner, it is important to stay abreast of the latest trends and best practices in SEO. In this way, you guarantee a good performance of your website in search engines.

The future of SEO in a nutshell

No time for a long article? No problem. Check out the bird’s eye view below for a summary of this article.

So what does SEO look like in the future?

While it is difficult to predict with absolute certainty what will be important for SEO in 2025, I make some informed guesses based on current trends and developments. Here is a table of potential key factors for SEO in 2025, along with the likely priority and degree of change:

SEO factorProbable priorityProbable degree of change
Mobile optimizationHighLow – Mobile optimization is already an important factor and is still expected to be important in 2025.
Core Web Vitals and user experienceHighHigh – Google has already indicated that Core Web Vitals and user experience will play a larger role in its ranking algorithms.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in SEOMedium to highHigh – AI and ML are increasingly used in search engines and SEO tools, which can create new opportunities and challenges for SEO.
Voice search and conversational AIMediumHigh – With the rise of smart speakers and voice assistants, voice search may play a larger role in SEO.
Video Content and SEOMediumResource – Video is becoming increasingly popular as a content format, and search engines are getting better at understanding and ranking video content.
Local SEO and hyperlocal searchMediumMedium – With the growth of mobile usage and personalized search results, local SEO may become even more important.
Privacy and data securityMediumHigh – With increasing concerns about privacy and data security, search engines may start to place more value on secure and privacy-friendly Web sites.
Schema and structured dataMediumResource – Schema and structured data help search engines better understand a website’s content, which can lead to better rankings and rich snippets.

It is important to remember that SEO is a dynamic field that is constantly evolving. What works today may not work tomorrow, and new technologies and trends can completely change the rules of the game. Therefore, it is important to always stay on top of the latest developments and be prepared to adjust your SEO strategy as needed.

The impact of voice search on SEO

Voice search affects SEO in several ways. Some of the most important ones I have listed below:

  • Natural language and conversational searches: People generally search by voice differently from typed searches. Instead of short, keyword-oriented phrases, they often use natural language and conversational search. This means optimizing your website content for these searches. In this, you include long-tail keywords, as well as questions people might ask.
  • Answers to questions: Many voice search queries focus on getting quick answers to questions. For example, consider voice searches such as “What is the opening time of a store?” or “How do you make a certain dish?” By creating content that answers these questions, you increase your website’s chances of appearing as the featured-snippet answer.
  • Local searches: Many voice search queries involve local searches. Examples include “Where is the nearest supermarket?” or “Which restaurant has the best hamburgers in the area?”. This means local businesses need to optimize their Google My Business profiles. They must also keep their name and address information up-to-date to appear in relevant, local searches.
  • Search results for voice search: Search engines such as Google and Bing often show different search results for voice search queries than for typed searches. Therefore, it is important to optimize your website content on both types of searches.

The voice search trend has prompted website owners to adjust their SEO strategies. This is necessary to meet the demands of natural language and conversational search. Are you optimizing your website content for both types of searches? Then you increase the chances that your website will appear as the best answer for a voice search query.

How can you respond to this?

There are several ways you can capitalize on voice search for SEO:

  • Use long-tail keywords: Voice search queries are often longer and more natural than typed searches. Therefore, you should use long-tail keywords that match specific questions or needs of your target audience.
  • Answer questions: Many voice search queries are aimed at getting quick answers to questions. Take search queries such as “What is the opening time of a store?” or “How do you make a certain dish?” for example. Do you create content that answers such questions? Then you are more likely to appear as the featured-snippet answer.
  • Use natural language: People often use natural language and conversational searches in voice search. This means you need to optimize your website content for these searches. In this, you include natural language and conversational breaks in the content.
  • Focus on local searches: Many voice search queries involve local searches, such as “Where is the nearest supermarket?” or “Which restaurant has the best hamburgers nearby?” Local businesses should therefore optimize their Google My Business profiles and keep their contact information up-to-date to appear in relevant searches.
  • Use schema markup: Schema markup helps search engines better understand a Web site’s content. Do you use schedule markup for important information, such as opening hours, location and prices? Then you increase the chances of your website appearing as the featured snippet answer to a voice search query.

In short, with a focus on long-tail keywords, answering questions, natural language, a focus on local searches and schema markup, you can capitalize on the growing trend of voice search. This will give you a better performance of your website within organic searches. It is important to keep learning and experimenting with new techniques and strategies. That way, you ensure that you continue to optimize for voice search in the future.

The impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on SEO

AI affects SEO in several ways. Below you can read some of the most important ones:

  • Better search results: AI and machine learning help search engines deliver better search results. They do this because they help search engines understand the intent of search queries. It also allows search engines to better rank content based on quality and relevance rather than just keywords.
  • Better understanding of context and semantic search: Search engines are getting better at understanding the context of a query and the semantics of its content. This means that a website content should be optimized for themes and topics rather than just keywords.
  • Personalization of search results: AI helps search engines personalize search results. It does this based on previous searches, location and other user data. As a result, websites must focus on relevant content and keywords for their target audience.
  • Automation of tasks: AI is able to automate tasks such as crawling websites, analyzing searches and identifying keywords. This saves time and makes SEO processes more efficient.
  • Chatbots and voice assistants: AI is increasingly being used in chatbots and voice assistants. The goal is to help answer customer questions and perform tasks. This can improve the user experience and help grow brand awareness.

In general, AI means that search engines are getting smarter. After all, they become better at ranking content based on quality and relevance. This means you need to adapt your SEO strategies to these changes. You accomplish this by optimizing content for themes and topics and focusing on user experience and personalization.

How can you respond to this?

There are several ways you can capitalize on the impact of AI on SEO:

  • Create high-quality content: since AI helps search engines determine the quality and relevance of content, it is important to ensure that your content is high-quality and meets the needs of your target audience. Therefore, focus on providing valuable, useful content that offers answers to their questions and needs.
  • Optimize for themes and topics: as search engines focus more on understanding context and semantics, it’s important to optimize your content for these as well. So it is important to focus on themes and topics rather than just keywords. This means focusing your content on answering specific questions. You should also offer information on topics relevant to your target audience.
  • Personalization: as search engines increasingly personalize search results, it is important to target your content and keywords to the needs of your target audience. You map these out by examining their demographics, interests and search history. You then anticipate this in your content.
  • Optimize for voice search: voice search is becoming increasingly popular. Therefore, it is important to optimize your content for natural language and conversational search. In practice, this means focusing on answering specific questions. In addition, it is essential to use long-tail keywords.
  • Monitor your rankings and analyze search data: it is important to monitor and analyze your rankings and search data regularly. In this way, you gain insight into the performance of your website and discover where your opportunities for improvement lie. Tools like Google Analytics give you insight into your website performance. You use this data to optimize your SEO strategy.

In short, by adapting your SEO strategy to the impact of AI, you can ensure that your website ranks well in search engines and meets the needs of your target audience. Provide high-quality content, optimize for themes and topics, personalize and anticipate voice search. In addition, keep a close eye on your rankings and search data to continue to optimize.

Featured snippets have a big impact on SEO for two reasons. First, they change the way search results are displayed, and second, they change how users search for content. Below, I’ve listed some of the ways featured snippets affect SEO for you:

  • Improved visibility: a featured snippet is a fragment of website content still displayed above organic search results. Therefore, a website that appears as a featured snippet has better visibility than other search results.
  • Higher click rate: because featured snippets appear at the top of search results, they often have a higher click rate than other search results. Consequently, websites that appear as featured snippets attract more traffic.
  • Improved authority: when a website appears as a featured snippet, it contributes to its position as an authority on the topic. This improves the credibility and reputation of the website.
  • Better user experience: because featured snippets directly answer a user’s question, they have a higher user experience. This also leads to more traffic, better engagement and higher conversions.
  • Competitive advantages: if a website appears as a featured snippet, it has a competitive advantage over other search results. In fact, with the specific position you obtain with a featured snippet, you increase the distinctiveness of your website.

In short, featured snippets have a significant impact on SEO. This is because they change the way search results are displayed. They are also changing the way users search for content. Are you optimizing your website for featured snippets and providing content specific to user queries? Then you increase your chances of appearing as a featured snippet and enjoying its many benefits.

How can you respond to this?

You can capitalize on featured snippets for SEO in several ways:

  • Answer users’ questions: featured snippets are designed to provide answers to users’ questions. By creating content that answers these questions, you increase your chances of appearing as a featured snippet.
  • Focus on long-tail keywords: featured snippets often target specific questions or problems users have. Focusing on long-tail keywords makes it more likely that you will appear as a featured snippet for these queries.
  • Use structured data: by adding structured data to your content, you help search engines better understand the content. That way, you also increase that chance of your content appearing as a featured snippet(3).
  • Use bullet points or lists: featured snippets often contain bullet points or lists that allow them to display information clearly and conveniently. By using such formatting in your content as well, you increase your chances of appearing as a featured snippet.
  • Optimize for local searches: many featured snippets target local searches, such as “Best pizzeria in Amsterdam.” Are you optimizing your website content for these searches and improving your local SEO this way? Then your chances of appearing as a featured snippet in local searches grows.

In summary, there are several things you can do to increase your chances of appearing as a featured snippet. This allows you to focus on answering user questions, focus on long-tail keywords, use structured data, use bullet points or lists and optimize for local searches. Also, experiment especially with different content types and formatting to explore what works best for your target audience and their searches.

The impact of Local SEO on SEO

Local SEO has a significant impact on overall SEO. This is even more true for companies that have a physical location or serve local customers. Below you will read about the ways in which local SEO affects overall SEO:

  • Better visibility: local SEO makes businesses more visible to people searching for local products or services. A focus on local keywords and optimizing Google My Business pages, ensures that you appear in local search results and on Google Maps.
  • Higher click rate: when a business appears in local search results, it often has a higher click rate than other search results. This is because people doing a local search often need something close and easy to find.
  • Increased credibility and reliability: when a business appears in local search results, it is seen as a reliable and credible source of information. This improves the company’s reputation and credibility.
  • Competitive advantages: with local SEO, you can create an advantage over other businesses in the area. Optimization for local searches and offering high-quality services or products help you differentiate your business from the competition.
  • Improved user experience: local SEO contributes to an improved user experience by helping people find local businesses and get the information they need. This can lead to more traffic, better engagement and higher conversions.

In short, local SEO has a significant impact on overall SEO because it makes businesses more visible to their local customers and potential customers. By optimizing for local searches, enhancing the Google My Business page and offering high-quality products and/or services, your business can gain a competitive edge and better meet the needs of local customers.

How can you respond to this?

There are several ways you can capitalize on local SEO:

  • Use Google My Business: Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to manage your business profile on Google. By claiming and optimizing your business profile, you improve your visibility in local search results(4).
  • Use local keywords: use local keywords in your website content, such as the name of the city or region in which your business is located. This allows search engines to understand where your business is located and what services or products you offer.
  • Collect local backlinks: collect backlinks from local websites, such as local business listings, local news sites and local blogs. Search engines thus understand that your business is relevant to the local community. This improves your visibility in local search results.
  • Optimize for local reviews: reviews are important for local SEO because they help to improve the reputation and reliability of your business. Therefore, make sure your company collects reviews. It is also important to respond to all reviews, including the negative ones.
  • Create local content: create content that targets local keywords and topics. This leads to improved visibility in local search results and also increases engagement with local customers.
  • Use structured data: by adding structured data to your website, you can help search engines better understand the content. This increases the chances of your content appearing as a featured snippet in local searches.

In short, capitalizing on local SEO and thereby improving your company’s visibility within local search results can be done in several ways. Key points include using Google My Business and local keywords, gathering local backlinks, optimizing for local reviews, creating local content and using structured data. As an SEO expert, I want to emphasize how advisable it is to try different techniques and strategies. That way you can get a good look at what works best for your business and your target audience.

The impact of mobile optimization on SEO

Mobile optimization has a major impact on SEO. After all, more and more people are using their mobile devices to perform searches and browse online. Below I list some of the ways mobile optimization affects SEO:

  • Better user experience: mobile optimization provides a better user experience on mobile devices. This allows users to easily and quickly access content on your website. This can lead to better engagement, higher conversions and a lower bounce rate. By the latter, we mean the percentage of visitors who view one page on your website and then leave.
  • Higher ranking in mobile searches: at Google, mobile friendliness weighs heavily as a key ranking factor in mobile searches. If your website is not mobile-friendly, it could result in lower rankings. Thus, you also obtain less traffic from mobile searches.
  • Higher ad quality scores: if you advertise on Google Ads, mobile optimization has a direct impact on the quality score of your ads. A higher quality score can lead to a lower cost per click, as can a higher ad position.
  • Higher engagement on social media: mobile devices are popular for social media. As a result, mobile optimization is essential for achieving higher engagement on social media and attracting traffic to your website.
  • Higher chance of link building: mobile optimization can contribute to link building. It does this by improving the user experience of the website. This is because if users are satisfied with the mobile experience on your website, they are more likely to share it with others and link to it.

In short, mobile optimization has a significant impact on SEO because it provides a better user experience, higher ranking in mobile searches, higher quality ad scores, higher engagement on social media and a higher opportunity for link building. Therefore, for you as a website owner, it is important to make your website mobile-friendly. This ensures an optimal mobile experience for your users. Using these steps, you can improve your overall SEO.

How can you respond to this?

Here are some ways you can capitalize on mobile optimization for SEO:

  • Ensure responsive design: your website should have a responsive design. That means it adapts to different screen sizes and resolutions. Responsiveness ensures an optimal user experience on mobile devices and thus contributes to improved ranking in mobile searches.
  • Reduce load time: mobile devices generally have less powerful hardware than desktop computers. Therefore, it is important to reduce the load time of your website. You can achieve this by optimizing images, avoiding unnecessary plug-ins and hosting the website on a reliable server.
  • Make use of AMP: AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is an open source project by Google. The search engine designed this project specifically to make Web pages load faster on mobile devices. With the implementation of AMP, your website can load faster and thus perform better in mobile searches(5).
  • Optimize content for mobile devices: always consider mobile users when creating content. This means, for example, using shorter paragraphs and sentences and putting important information at the top. To further enhance the user experience, also use visual content.
  • Use mobile keywords: use keywords specific to mobile searches, such as “nearby” or “on the go.” This way, you can optimize your website for mobile searches and improve its ranking in mobile search results.
  • Optimize for local search: mobile users are in many cases looking for local businesses and services. If you optimize for local searches, you increase your chances of appearing in mobile search results for those searches.

In summary, there are several ways you can capitalize on mobile optimization for SEO to improve your website’s visibility in local search results. These include ensuring responsive design, reducing load time, using AMP, optimizing content for mobile devices, using mobile keywords and optimizing for local search. It is important to continuously improve and test the mobile user experience to achieve and maintain maximum results.

What will the landscape of SEO look like in 5 years?

It is difficult to predict exactly what the landscape of SEO will look like in 5 years. However, there are some trends and developments that are very likely to contribute to the evolution of SEO:

  • Voice-activated search: with the rise of voice assistants and smart speakers, voice-activated search is growing in popularity. This means that searches will include more natural language and long-tail keywords. SEO strategies should be adjusted as a result.
  • Machine learning and AI: Machine learning and AI are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are being used to optimize search results and rankings. Understanding these technologies becomes important for SEO strategies. In fact, when optimizing your website, you need to meet its requirements.
  • Integrated search: search engines are increasingly collaborating with other platforms and services, such as social media and e-commerce platforms. They do this to deliver search results that better match users’ needs. SEO strategies should probably focus more on integrated search and understanding the complex algorithms that deliver those results.
  • Privacy and security: privacy and security are increasingly important to search engines and their users. This means that SEO strategies will likely focus more on optimizing websites and content to meet these requirements. The use of HTTPS, SSL and other security measures plays an important role.
  • Increased competition: competition in the online world is ever increasing. Consequently, companies must increasingly focus on developing unique and high-quality content. It is also becoming increasingly important to develop strategies that make you stand out among the many websites and online providers.

In short, the evolution of SEO is likely to be largely determined by various trends and developments. Among these are voice-driven search, machine learning and AI, integrated search, privacy and security, and increased competition. It is imperative for companies to keep an eye on these trends and adjust their SEO strategies accordingly. Only in this way can you achieve the best results.

Which search engine will be the biggest in 5 years?

It is difficult to predict which search engine will be the biggest in 5 years, as it depends on many factors. After all, technologies and user behavior are constantly changing. Currently, Google is by far the largest search engine worldwide. In many countries, it has a market share of more than 90%. Although some new search engines such as DuckDuckGo and Bing have joined, they are unlikely to threaten Google’s dominance in the near future.

However, other search engines may evolve into niche players in specific markets or industries. For example, Amazon is currently the largest search engine for e-commerce-related searches. YouTube, in turn, is the largest search engine for video-related searches.

In addition, the emergence of new technologies, such as voice-activated search and augmented reality, may change the way users search for and find information. In addition to changing the way searches are conducted, this may also lead to the emergence of new search engines.

In short, it is difficult to predict which search engine will be the biggest in 5 years. Google is likely to retain its global number one position. Depending on changing technologies and user behavior, there will be room for niche players and new search engines.

Will SEO become even more important for businesses in the future?

The answer to this question is unquestionably yes. SEO is indeed becoming increasingly important for businesses. A growing number of businesses recognize the value of a good SEO strategy and are investing in SEO to increase online visibility and findability. Below I have listed some of the reasons why SEO is becoming increasingly important for businesses:

  1. Increase in online searches: the number of online searches is increasing every year. Moreover, more and more people are using search engines to find information, as well as to buy products and services. This means that companies investing in SEO can reach a larger potential audience.
  1. Increased competition: competition in the online world is increasing. It is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out among the many websites and online providers. A good SEO strategy helps you increase your online visibility and findability of your business. Thus, you obtain an improved position relative to your competition.
  1. Investment in digital marketing: companies are increasingly investing in digital marketing, including SEO. They do this to increase their online presence and generate more leads and conversions. Companies that do not invest in SEO will fall behind as a result. For them, it is inevitable that they will miss out on potential customers.
  1. Measurable results: one of the advantages of SEO is that it makes results measurable. That means, as an entrepreneur, you can see which strategies work and which strategies don’t. This makes it easier to measure and account for the ROI of SEO investments.

In short, SEO is becoming increasingly important for businesses because it is an effective way to increase online visibility and findability. In addition, you improve your position relative to your competitors, reach more potential customers and achieve measurable results. It is important for businesses to invest in SEO and develop an effective SEO strategy to get the best results.

Conclusion

All in all, there are numerous trends and developments going on in the field of SEO that affect online visibility and findability. By responding to this as a business or organization and optimizing your SEO strategies, you can become more responsive to users’ needs. That way you can also outperform the competition.

It is important to keep a close eye on developments in SEO and continue to invest in effective SEO strategies. After all, you not only want to get the best results, you want to keep them. As an SEO expert, I make sure to continually keep up with the latest developments and techniques. This allows me to help my clients achieve their online goals.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
Five stars
My clients give me a 5.0 on Google out of 75 reviews

I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 22 March 2024. The last update of this article was on 22 March 2024. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.