The times when search engine optimizers could still have a significant impact on search engine rankings are obviously over. Artificial intelligences know more, can do more and decide for themselves what is good for the respective seeker. But also an A.I. is just a machine.

Before 2015, the SEO world was actually fine. Your own SEO recipe still worked. You only had to consider a few technical aspects, analyze keywords, create content, consider metadata, select a title and URL, generate backlinks, a bit of PR, social media, a pinch of semantics and you could - done cleverly - achieve success and post your content and after that, with further optimizations and a lot of patience and spit, increase the ranking across the board. Always a mystery full of nerds for some, sometimes the most pedantic or misunderstood work in the world for others.

Although SEO is only one aspect of online marketing, it is now more important than ever to consider this traffic channel. After all, most discoveries and revelations - hopefully with your business - start with a question or search.

For the entire SEO topic, there has always been a lot to coordinate, stick together and implement. Optimally, search engine optimization takes on a kind of stakeholder function and therefore has open interfaces to various adjacent departments. This includes product management, management, design and user experience, editing and content creation for assets and content, software and development, Ops and DevOps, marketing and corporate communications, as well as controlling and reporting.

Because SEO needs an overview of strategies, products, services, target groups, goals, activities and their assets and has to bring technology, development and marketing together in order to achieve the greatest visibility, relevance, reach as well as user experience and interaction with your own company through Google and Co. to generate.

And of course SEO can also provide a lot of insights, trends, data and strategies.

However, it seems as if the artificial intelligence of the classic search engine optimization would now put a spanner in the works.

And indeed, the question arises what to do with an A.I. as an SEO expert, actually wants to optimize further, especially when classic optimizations no longer work and when numbers and results no longer correspond to previous expectations and Google updates shake up the index more and more extensively.

  • Organic traffic is becoming increasingly difficult to acquire and Google is increasingly answering the questions itself on the search engine results pages
  • Navigational and transactional keywords play almost no role anymore.
  • An up-to-date AI that compiles search engine results for the individual user, depending on their settings, in a highly targeted and efficient manner, while serving all types of requests, formats and end devices in every language.

    Is SEO As We Know It Dead?

This article wants to show how important it is to invest in SEO right now and to check your own touchpoints, bring them up to date and promote further developments in the company. Whether the term should still mean search engine optimization or Google AI management can be discussed later.

Companies have to master significant innovations on the Google front. This is the conclusion reached by a broad-based study by Searchmetrics on the subject of performance and core web vitals.

feed the machine

A look at the SEO area actually requires, if not already done, an even more in-depth consideration in the company, because in the future ranking factors will be even more complex, technical, visionary and therefore strategically and developmentally even more important and demanding for your own company. The A.I. age is in full swing.

Anyone who already has an acceptable ranking on Google and can build on content strategies and flexible, modern, high-performance publishing architectures has a clear advantage as a company. Right now, you should build on these successes and use everything that Google provides for your business, use it for yourself and feed the machine with appropriately prepared information. Anyone who is only now seriously dealing with Google & Co., on the other hand, will have a very steep learning curve and little experience to fight on the many fronts that are pending now and in the coming years.

E.A.T. (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness)

A flawless user experience with your touchpoints, data security, above-average performance, interactive content, structured data, contemporary assets as well as Google Cloud Developments and Google Actions are on the SEO to-do list to support the A.I. to give the right food.

Because whether pure algorithm or artificial intelligence: it doesn't work without data and information. Expertise, authority and trustworthiness and all activities that support this are summarized the overarching SEO factors for the time to come.

Google I/0 2021 Summary

Google, meanwhile, will continue to turn data into insights and interactive features later this year, as showcased at the last Google I/O. The roadmap constantly envisages further possible uses of artificial intelligence. This and massive investments in infrastructure, more computing power and innovations and partnerships make it clear where the SEO wind will be blowing from.

The most important innovations summarized:

The most important innovations of Google I/O 21 and the roadmap for this year can also be viewed here in this 9-minute video:

How IT evolves

Google leaves open when exactly the individual new features will be rolled out. In the same way, Google leaves open further constructive developments for the search. Some features, such as video tagging, can already be seen on search results pages and controlled with data.

Overall, you can expect rapid changes for the future.

Which SEO aspects are now on the agenda for every company? Best practices for 2021

1. Provide a technically barrier-free, structured website as a foundation

  1. All SEO basics of the last few years have already been implemented in the best possible way
  2. and structured data, use of rich snippets, mobile first thought
  3. Crawling, Indexing Coverage, Compatibilities for Mobile Index
  4. High performance and core web vitals
  5. User security and data protection (HTTPS coverage, consent management, third-party cookies, GDPR compliance)
  6. Good cooperation and long-term available resources from DevOPs/Ops and development
  7. Topic Tracking and Reporting: Migration to the new GA4 Analytics standard
  8. With several websites and also apps: If necessary, sensible and structural merging of the tracking across touchpoints using GA4 Analytics in data streams

2. User and demand-oriented, flexible and networked information architectures

  1. Content Marketing, Content Strategy & Branding (Relevance, Authority, Links, Traffic, Citations, Trust, Reviews, Social Signals, etc.)
  2. User-centric website, landing pages for the most important search queries
  3. Competitive Offer (UX + Content + Conversion)
  4. Cross-departmental, collaborative editorial cooperation for user-relevant content, SEO-optimized assets, next-gen formats, expansion of the asset types used (video, augmented reality), web stories and AMP pages, implementation of new forms of advertising, consistent use of offered AI features

3. Security and data protection for the user / securing their own data quality despite consent

  1. Security and privacy for the user is a ranking factor and part of the user experience rating of a website (no third-party cookies and unwanted cookies and tracking technologies such as fingerprinting).
    The Privacy Sandbox Initiative thus follows the paradigm shift that is taking place and has an impact on SEO
  2. Obtain user-centric consent (example conversion, about content, log-ins)
  3. Good HTTPS rating (test example)
  4. Good security rating (test example)
    5.Functioning consent management through platforms or your own consent management solutions/banners, Google Consent API
  5. Consent-dependent merging of all sources and user events through AI support (migration to GA4, collaborative GA4 reports, cross-channel and cross-device tracking to ensure data quality and insights) Paradigm shift – what is generally new?

Paradigm shift – what is generally new?

Data insights for companies are increasingly based on the user's will to share data on several levels. While the focus was previously on excessive, uncontrolled data collection, the focus is now on user experience, trust in the company, self-determined cookie consent and "privacy by management".

The focus has now rotated 180 degrees. Legal requirements and various data scandals have given the impetus. There is now the additional challenge of obtaining consent to data collection from the user and managing consent settings in the best possible way. The aim of 1:1 user personalization on a session basis is consistently replaced by anonymous target groups to which user events are assigned.

  • Measurement protocols are mandatory everywhere. Third-party cookie concepts will be replaced.
  • Browsers are getting new privacy flags regarding third-party cookies. Pages that do not offer a high level of user experience and data security lose relevance
  • Conversely, user security, data protection, trust, user experience and technical aspects of a website become very important ranking factors. (Mobile, Core Web Vitals, Page Behavior, HTTPS Coverage)
  • All Google services have been adapted in this regard and new and existing services have been integrated. Consistently with a lot of A.I. connected. (Analytics, Search Console, Google Ads, data protection and consent management of the individual Google Profiles, Analytics, Tag Manager, Tag Assistant, testing tools, Chrome Browser, Marketing Platform, etc.)

Conclusion and thesis

The most successful companies in 2035 will be those that provide their audience with a mutually consented identity space in which to meet relevant customer needs. Data protection, security and transparency are to be regarded as essential customer needs and decisive for competition. The business necessity of receiving data and information from the user through their consent can best be justified with exclusive services and content for the user.

The user experience with your company and your content starts directly with Google in the search for the prospect. Technically completely new, interesting AI features are available to every SEO for this purpose. The SEO success will then set in.

There is still work to be done in many areas and even Google is not always error-free during the paradigm shift that is taking place. But as always, the path is the goal here, in order to gain experience and lead and to collect ideas along the way.

In any case, these are all developments that not only affect SEO, but must be tackled collectively in the company.

It would be a shame if Google eventually became an omniscient, interactive oracle that spoke in every language and didn't have much to report about your company.