SEO is a dynamic industry. What worked a few weeks ago may not work now.
As an SEO professional, you need to understand the latest trends and emerging technology to keep up with the ever-changing demands of the industry. This way you always stay up to date and become more efficient in your company.
In this post, I'm going to introduce you to seven new technologies in the SEO industry and how they affect your job as an SEO professional. Finally, I'll show you how you can apply them in your company for the best results.
If you want to scale your SEO processes in 2021 and beyond, you should pay attention to these technologies and implement them in your company right away.
1. Natural language processing (NLP)
In December 2019, Google officially introduced the update of the BERT algorithm (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) worldwide. This update brought NLP to the fore and has been a technology to watch out for in the SEO industry ever since.
With NLP, Google can understand what a word means in a sentence by looking at its context.
This means that Google no longer relies on the specific words or phrases that users are looking for to get the correct answers. Rather, they consider the intent behind every search.
Here is an example of how BERT (an offshoot of NLP) affects a search query on Google.
If someone searches for the query "2019 Brazil travelers to the US require a visa" before NLP, Google believes that this is an informational query to confirm whether a US citizen can travel to Brazil without a visa. Hence, it shows a Washington Post article answering the question in addition to the SERPs.
As you can see, the context behind this search is someone who wants to travel to the US from Brazil and needs a visa. While it was difficult for Google to figure out what these types of queries meant in the past, the BERT algorithm understands the context behind each search and provides the user with the right information.
How to Use NLP in Your SEO Processes
With NLP, the information content is more important than ever. However, you cannot optimize for BERT as SEO.
Rather, you should focus on creating quality content that accurately answers search queries. If you do this, you will definitely rank well.
This Moz article shows you how to write amazing content for search engines and people.
2. Natural Language Generation (NLG) for short form content
With NLG, SEOs can now create meaningful phrases and sentences like natural language, but with the help of technology.
Rather than grappling with the blockade of writers and spending hours thinking about what to write, NLG removes that burden through automation. If you are a content creator, the only thing you can focus on is polishing the content and making it more readable.
While there are many use cases for NLG, for now it's better to write short form content like headings, product descriptions, meeting notes, etc.
How to use NLG as SEO
There are many use cases for NLG technologies. You can use a tool like Copy.ai to create landing page hero text, Facebook primary text, blog introductions, email subject lines, lists, meta descriptions, etc.
Here is an example of some of the lists I made for the Quality Blog Content topic using this tool:
As you can see, I can use some of these suggestions as an outline for my post when I want to write an article on this topic. With these I can instead concentrate on exploring each sub-topic.
Here is another example of some website slogans I created for Moz by typing the brand name and a brief description of "The Ultimate SEO Tool You Can Trust" into the tool:
Once you've started a new brand as SEO, you can use NLG tools like this one to discover awesome taglines for your brand.
3. TF * IDF
TF * IDF stands for "Term Frequency Times Inverse Document Frequency". This measures how you use a term on a particular page and how it compares to a collection of pages for that particular keyword.
While TF * IDF seems like a measure of keyword density, it actually measures the importance of a keyword phrase by comparing it to the frequency of that keyword in a large number of documents.
While it is not yet clear whether Google uses TF * IDF in their algorithm, it is a good idea to include it in your on-page SEO strategy.
Before applying TF * IDF, you need to create a piece of content that targets a specific keyword. Then connect the content to a TF * IDF tool. Some recommended options are Text Tools, SEO PowerSuite, Ryte, and Surfer SEO.
How to Use TF * IDF in Your SEO Processes
With the technology and some information about your keyword, TF * IDF Tools will usually suggest a few phrases to add or remove from your pages. As an SEO, you can optimize your page based on these suggestions to get the required TF * IDF rating for that keyword.
This is a great way to find out some phrases that are closely related to the keyword you are writing about but that is absent from your content. If you add these phrases and words to your content, your article will become relevant and your page will rank better in the SERPs.
4. GPT-3 for the automated creation of content
In September 2020, The Guardian posted a story on its website that was written by a robot. Since then, Generative Pre-Training Transformer Number 3 (GPT-3) has been a hot topic in the SEO industry.
The GPT-3 API works in an interesting way because it has been trained on a large pool of data sets to mimic human spelling. This includes the Common Crawl Record, Wikipedia, relevant historical books, etc.
When you provide a command prompt to the GPT-3 API, it tries to predict exactly what will come next based on information read on the Internet.
The screenshot below is an example of GPT-3 generated content that went viral in hacker news a few months ago. Most of the users commented on this, just like they would on a regular post, without knowing that it was written by a robot.
Use of GPT-3 for the automated creation of content
- Write e-mail: As an SEO, you most likely realize that writing great email is a skill that will help your business grow but find it difficult to do. With GPT-3, you can easily write emails. All you have to do is add a few bullet points that describe everything you want to cover in the email and it will be written for you automatically.
- First draft of the letter: Creating the first draft is the hardest part of writing. GPT-3 lets you create the first draft of your content and then edit it to fit your branding voice. That saves you a lot of time and makes you more efficient.
5. SEO A / B testing
Most SEOs focus more on user A / B testing and less on SEO A / B testing. During user testing, involve randomly assigning visitors (users) to your website to different versions of your pages and finally deciding which to use based on performance. In SEO A / B testing, the users are Googlebots and not end users. Usually the same version of the page is displayed.
This means that when implementing SEO / AB tests, you will only show users or Google only one version of the page and not multiple pages.
How to Implement SEO / AB Tests
There are different ways to implement SEO A / B testing depending on what you want to achieve for your business. If you're just getting started, here are some of the things you can try:
- Title tags
- Meta description
For example, let's say Etsy ran an SEO A / B test with title tags on some of its pages, and within a few days they found that traffic on their pages had changed significantly.
If you are an advanced SEO you can test other things like:
- AMP pages
- Internal anchor texts
- Schema markup
- New content
- And so on
For example, SearchPilot ran an in-house link SEO A / B test for a grocery store and saw a 25% increase in organic traffic.
By doing SEO A / B testing like this, you'll know exactly what works and what doesn't work well for your brand. That way, you can make more informed decisions when optimizing your pages for SEO.
For example, if your traffic to a particular page dropped after making changes to it during the SEO A / B test, it shows that the test did not work.
As a general rule, you should expect to see results of your SEO A / B tests as soon as Google crawls your variant page. If Google crawls your test page within 7-14 days, you can compare it to the main page.
Some SEO A / B testing tools that you can use for this purpose include: Google Tag Manager, Rankscience, Optimizely, etc.
6. Automated on-page content optimization
When creating long-form content, you typically do the following:
- Check the top ranking pages of the SERPs
- Go through each content ranking on the SERPs
- Find out the specific headings and sub-headings covered on the pages
- Identify the missing points on the sides
- Create a better view of our own piece.
- And so on
This usually takes a long time. You have to spend hours manually reviewing one piece of content at a time, noting the key points that need to be in your own part.
Using automated on-page content optimization
Instead of spending hours creating content information and researching the information you want to include in your content, you can use SEO tools like Frase AI and Content Harmony.
With Frase AI, you can cut the time you spend on content research. Assuming you want to write about How To Lose Weight Fast, you can put the main keyword into the tool.
Once that's done it will automatically check the top pages in the SERPs and give you some useful information to use when creating your content. This includes the best results for the keyword, stats and data to add to your content, and questions your audience is asking about Quora, Reddit, and Google People Also Ask.
With a tool like Content Harmony, you can automatically generate content information that meets search intent in less time.
All you need to get started is your keyword. Once you have entered it into the software, the SERPs are automatically analyzed using various data points. You can then create your content information from there.
7. Non-text content factors
Non-text content factors are becoming increasingly important in search engine optimization as they help you get a better user experience on your web pages.
If you are reading any piece of content with blocks of text, it is most likely unattractive to watch. And with Google's upcoming implementation of Core Web Vitals in March 2021, non-text content factors will have a huge impact on SEO.
Some of these non-text content factors include:
- Audio clips
- Slide shows
- Downloadable files such as PDFs
Using non-text content factors for SEO
- Canva: Use this tool to create high quality, out of stock images for your pages.
- Venngage: If you want to create infographics that will grab your readers' attention, use Venngage.
- Invideo: With Invideo, you can create and edit videos online in minutes using various pre-made templates.
- Animaker: If you don't have a design background and want to create animated videos, this tool will help you a lot.
You can use these tools to make your pages and posts more engaging. As a result, your readers spend more time on your website and your bounce rate will eventually drop dramatically.
If we look forward to the future of the SEO industry, new technological developments will definitely play a significant role. While some of them are already in use, others are still under development.
If you are an SEO who wants to keep track of the industry, these new technologies should be kept in mind and applied to grow your business. Would you like to add more SEO technologies to this list? Let me know in the comments.