It’s hard to speculate about the future of any technology or marketing strategy, but in the SEO industry, it’s important to recognize and react to trends quickly.

Several past Google GOOGLE +0.50% algorithm updates have favored specific niches, or specific types of businesses (at least to some extent). Digging into specifics, the Panda update favored websites with a strong penchant for quality content marketing, and the Pigeon update favored both local businesses and local directory sites.

Now, as I speculate about the future of SEO (based on projections of current trends and anticipating Google’s motivation in the coming months and years), I imagine that the changes to come will naturally favor small businesses and entrepreneurs. There are several reasons why I believe this to be the case.

1. Local Search

First, local search is going to get bigger, better, and more significant in the coming years. Google has spent a lot of time tinkering with this algorithm, from the massive Pigeon overhaul back in 2014 to the quick-change dynamics of upgrading from a local 7-pack to a local 3-pack of results. Local search has been refined for mobile devices, and has become more prominent as more users have submitted their geographic location by default.

In general, I suspect local search will rise in importance, and more local businesses will step up to take advantage of this. Mobile technology will become even more mobile with wearable devices and similar technologies, and cumulatively, user preference toward local results will grow. As most “local” businesses are small- to mid-sized businesses, these trends will work in their favor.

2. Digital Assistants and Personalization

Digital assistants and the trend of personalization may also favor local businesses. Major tech companies are making a conscious effort to deliver more personalized results to their users, particularly through digital assistants like Cortana and Siri because they’re able to gather more behavioral information about their respective users.



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