The Future of SEO: How to Do SEO Without SERPs

As we’ve been covering throughout the year, 2016 has been something of a transitional year within SEO as agencies, Fortune 500’s, and small businesses all began to truly navigate the new age of SEO by investing heavily in content marketing and local SEO. But why do we do these things? In SEO it can be all too easy to forget that our jobs are to make the web easier for Google and users alike to surf; with Google, you want to make sure you’ve providing as much content and metadata as possible to communicate exactly what your site is about, and making those adjustments have a direct effect on how searchers will interact with your site.


But as the title of this piece states, what is the information that you need to provide to Google so that your content appears in a growing sphere of search: Digital search assistants, in the form of Amazon Echo and Google Home and Assistant, are growing to the degree that the sales forecast stating that Amazon’s and Google’s devices will rise from 1.8 million in 2016 to 15.1 million in 2020 is finally starting to appear like a realistic horizon that we SEO specialists must now truly begin preparing for, if you haven’t already.


Firstly, you want to get a firm grasp on just the types of queries show up in Google Home, many of which aren’t the most relevant to your business. Of the following, and lengthy, list of the search features in Google Home, note that only Facts & Info (where you ask Google a general question) and Local guide (searching for local info on businesses and the like). Here is the full list:

  • Facts & Info
  • Local Guide
  • Finance
  • Multi-Room Audio
  • Audio play from phone to Google Home
  • Audio play on speakers and TVs
  • Video play via Google Home
  • Manage your home lights
  • Manage your home electrical plugs
  • Thermostat Control
  • Calculator
  • Dictionary
  • Nutrition
  • Sports
  • Translation
  • Unit Conversions
  • Fun
  • Games
  • Alarm
  • Shopping List
  • Timer
  • Calendar
  • Flight Information
  • My Day
  • Traffic
  • Weather
  • Music
  • News
  • Podcasts
  • Radio


Essentially, Google is looking to answer queries directly and bypass the usual SERPs result that so many SEOs have spent years and decades studying. But fear not, those skills hones working with the cutting-edge of SERPs technology will have prepared you for the next major battleground in SEO: Featured Snippets. This is because only one result will show in these device-assisted searches and that’s what Google determines to be the best featured snippet. While we have covered Featured Snippets in this space in the past, if you want a solid one-stop article to get the core information you need to know, check out this piece on ranking in Google Home by MOZ’s Dr. Pete.


Finally, as Google begins streamlining the search process with Google Home and Amazon Echo sales continue to rise. It’s crucial we understand where we as SEOs can still make the most impact and for right now, that’s optimizing your featured snippets with the fervor you might have once applied to your PPC copy. For the way Google Home works, it will read your Featured Snippet verbatim and thus you’ll want to strike a delicate and crucial balance between promotional and informational text, that Google will then read aloud to the searcher, making it sound like Google is almost promoting your business. While you can almost rest assured this will be something Google likely modifies, it’s a great opportunity for the savvy SEO and thus now is the time to be working on your Featured Snippets with an obsessive-like fervor.


So tune back next month when we take stock of the developments in the digital assistants market and provide our summary for 2016 along with our predictions for SEO in 2017.