SEO is big business. 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine
And, we all know that difference between ranking 1st and 3rd on a page can mean tens of thousands of dollars, or have an effect on your brand’s authority.
Staying up to date with SEO isn’t just about following industry trends. You need to look beyond what’s being done now and to the front lines of SEO.
There are startups showing us how to automate our SEO efforts, software that better collects SEO analytics, and campaigns that we can learn from and apply. SEO is always changing. Google’s algorithm updates might power the big changes, but on a web that’s bursting with content you are competing against everyone to be seen, and if you're not learning you’re falling behind.
The Future of SEO: 10 Companies on the Front Lines
RankScience is a YC backed startup that’s pretty confident it can replace SEO staff with their algorithm. Their solution of automating 1000s of A/B tests and seeing which one Google ranks highest is more effective than elegant, but it works.
RankScience claims that their customer saw a 25% increase in website traffic during a trial.
Startups are a little obsessed with A/B test automating software at the moment. It is being used to improve the user experience, retrieve data about which ad creatives perform best, and it seems SEO is in no way immune from the automation and big data trend sweeping digital marketing.
RankSceince will also scour other websites to identify what they are doing better and how they are drawing traffic to get a hard data based feel for your space.
Any developer will tell you that the biggest challenge you will face building a mobile app isn’t technical.
There are plenty of talented developers out there who will produce incredible apps with a snap of their fingers, assuming you have the cash. The hardest part is getting people to actually download and use your app.
App Radar is a small team, founded in 2015, who’ve released powerful ASO (App Store Optimization) software.
Like SEO, ASO is all about using the right keywords that stick a balance between how frequently they come up in user search queries and competition. App Annie, a business intelligence firm, found that on average people only have about 10 apps on their phone.
Tools like App Radar will have their place in the future of SEO and ASO. As we start to see IOTs devices, and we need to say, download an application onto a smart fridge, we will probably have software designed to optimize keywords for these apps too.
Botify is a cloud-based crawler that looks at a website like Google’s own crawler would and makes actionable suggestions to improve SEO.
What makes this startup so impressive?
Well for starters, Botify some pretty powerful crawling abilities.
Botify has gone through over 150,000,000 URLs, and it can crawl between 10 – 200 pages a second.
Botify can also tell when Google has or hasn’t crawled a page. That’s a big one. If Google hasn’t seen a page then it is only going to get traffic from click-throughs and other parts of your website.
Botify will provide a detailed report that shows you how Google has interacted with your site and suggest all kinds of changes, specifically about how to better structure internal linking so Google can find those uncrawled pages.
BrandYourself is a New York-based startup that focuses on SEO and search results for individuals. What comes up when someone types your name into Google is important when looking for a job, landing clients, or even dating.
Monitoring social media, building website, and a whole suite of reputation management tools, are used by this startup to help professional avoid the pitfalls of our online world and put their best foot forward.
Co-founder and CEO Patrick Ambron pitched the company on Shark Tank and raised over $3.3 million in a series A funding round from venture capitalists. BrandYourself plans to use the money to expand their product offerings and bring out more to protect professionals from damaging their reputation, focusing on a prevention rather than cure solution.
We can talk about startups pitched to change the face of SEO with automated this and that all day, but ultimately Google decides the future of SEO.
The search engine now makes between 500 – 600 changes to its algorithm a year.
Most of these changes are minor, but with mounting government pressure placed on the search engine to act as the world police, Google’s AI RankBrain algorithm, and social media platforms breathing down their neck, it’s safe to assume SEO is going to change in a big way.
All of these sites are great resources for staying ahead of upcoming Google updates. Google doesn’t really release info about their updates anymore. We were only told about Hummingbird a month after the update.
PlagSpotter is a nifty little tool that helps webmasters in the battle against duplicate content. There is a lot of misconception around duplicate content. People wrongly believe that there is a duplicate content penalty. Well, there isn’t.
Google groups pages with similar content in clusters and on the SERP it will normally show the page or URL with the best ranking. This is done by consolidating links and identifying the original source of the content. This should have all been cleared up in 2008 when Susan Moska explained it all on the Google Webmaster blog.
Why do you need a tool like PlagSpotter for SEO? Simple, If your content is used on a site with good domain authority, you want a backlink from that site to help with your SEO. Sometimes publishers get a bit carried away with copy and paste, and they will happily link back to your site, or you can threaten to report them, and if they still won’t take down your content, actually do it.
Your duplicate content might be of your creation because you have unintentionally made a mistake, with URL parameters, session IDs, or duplicate sites. HTTPs / HTTP, WWW / None WWW, variations can all also create duplicates. – Moz
LongTailPro is a popular tool that helps with long tail keyword research. Created by Spencer Haws, an online marketer / entrepreneur who has made a living by building niche websites and selling products on Amazon.
In 2011 he built LongTailPro because he felt like he hadn’t found a tool that lived up to expectations. I think it is one of the better products out there especially if you are working on a specific site, and you need to target a select group of people.
I think it’s interesting that even with the massive investment in digital marketing software, and angel investors giving millions to startups, that a guy can just make a worthwhile, competitive SEO tool.
Moz, like many other digital marketing companies, is sooner considered a publication than a Saas provider. Their several marketing tools that have become as indispensable as the free education they offer to anyone committed to their site.
Moz specializes in SEO, and they didn’t just build up that authority for the respect of their peers.They have used it to promote tools that do things like gauge domain authority for link building and help search engines find local businesses.
Their domain authority tool is a standard in marketing strategies used by everyone from content writers to webmaster.
Moz Pro is a complete suite of SEO tools that covers everything from analytics to content creation.
Market Brew’s bold claim that they can provide SEO results 60 days before they happen might sound a little far-fetched, but the company is arguably the industry leader in SEO artificial intelligence.
The idea behind the startup is that Market Brew’s Ai can use machine learning to learn how Google’s own Ai learns, and train itself to put out very similar outputs to the real thing.
Even SEO experts talk about Google’s algorithm like it is a fixed line of code that ranks everyone equally. If my competitor does something good, and he goes up a ranking, I do the same thing and I also go up. Sounds logical but the reasoning doesn’t hold. Google treats different keywords, sites, verticals, businesses, etc., differently.
Market Brew is an incredible piece of software that creates a kind of Google algorithm sandbox mode where you can A/B test until your heart's content. Optimizing your website and knowing exactly how every change will affect the crawl.
What does the future of SEO look like? It is easy to assume that SEO will just be more of the same.
Getting better at keyword targeting and trying to get those backlinks by reaching out to webmasters and keeping the content wheel spinning.
But, The Media Captain in Columbus shows us another way. The internet is really competitive, so why not go door to door, and try to get backlinks for local SEO?
Knocking on the doors of local businesses and offering to make a free video in exchange for a backlink might not be as comfortable as online SEO outreach, but getting away from our screens and promoting a digital platform offline is an effective way to grow brand awareness
You can watch the video here:
In half an hour Jason Parks gets a backlink from a local business with good domain authority and over 10k Instagram followers.