The Future of SEO: It’s Not What You’re Expecting

The Future of SEO: It’s Not What You’re Expecting

Just look at the brand queries for my name over time according to Google Trends: Over time, my brand has grown in popularity. But what’s cool is, the traffic increases didn’t mainly come from people Googling “Neil Patel.” It mainly came from an increase in rankings for non-branded terms like “online marketing.” It’s so effective that I generate over a million visits from Google each month now: To clarify, the way Google looks at brands is that if a website gets a higher amount of brand queries than their competition (the number of people searching for your website name each month), it tells Google that people prefer that one brand over another. Or at the very least, search for you in Google. I can give you an overview of strategies that have worked for me though, as well as some stats to go along with it: Blog weekly I’ve found that if you blog on a regular basis you get more brand queries. This is why sites like CNN, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and every other news site generates a lot of brand queries… they blog numerous times per day. Create videos You don’t have to copy my YouTube strategy, but you should create some sort of videos related to your product, service, or industry. It’s harder for me to see these days as I already have a lot of brand queries, but I used to see big swings in my brand queries when I was starting out because of my participation at conferences. This creates more press related to you and your company, which helps with brand queries. Build an amazing product or service I learned this one from my Ubersuggest acquisition… if people love what you are building, your brand queries will really skyrocket. The list keeps going on and on… from McDonald’s to Coca-Cola… the one thing you have to learn from these big companies is that you have to build an amazing brand.

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future of seo

What do you think the future of SEO is?

And no, I am not talking about what Google will look like 10 years from now… I’m talking about how you’ll be able to rank your site in the future.

You know, that one thing that’ll just skyrocket your rankings.

So, what do you think it is?

I can tell you this… it’s not link building and it’s not on-page SEO.

Sure, those things help, but they don’t skyrocket your rankings. When you build links, it can take months if not a year for them to kick in.

And everyone is doing on-page SEO, so there is nothing unique about it anymore.

So, what do you think it is? Shall I give you a hint?

The accidental SEO hack

I stumbled on the “future” of SEO by accident. Back in March 2016, I was able to take my traffic from 185,980 visitors a month to 195,596 a month.

And it all happened within 30 days.

Here was my traffic in February 2016:

feb traffic

After I ran my accidental marketing experiment, my traffic grew by 9,616 visitors (to 195,596 monthly visitors in March).

mar 2016

I know what you are thinking… there are more days in March than February. And although that’s true, the majority of those additional 9,616 visitors came from search.

So what happened?

As I mentioned above, I accidentally stumbled upon this.

But once I noticed that the side effect of this marketing experiment was that it increased my search traffic, I ran it again.

And this time, on a much larger scale.

Let’s look at my traffic in June 2016:

And now let’s look at July 2016:

And now look at August 2016:

That growth rate is ridiculous! I grew my traffic to 454,382 visitors a month in August from 240,839 in June!

See, during that time period, I wasn’t trying to figure out any cool SEO hacks that would boost my rankings… it just accidentally happened. And it happened because I was running a marketing experiment that wasn’t related to SEO, but funny enough, it impacted SEO (in a major way!).

As you can see from the graphs above, I was able to drastically boost my rankings and search traffic over time.

So, can you guess what it was?

Let me give you a hint…

How Google deals with the Internet cesspool

The EX-CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, talked about how the Internet is becoming a place where false information is thriving. Essentially, the Internet is becoming a cesspool.

He went on to discuss how brands were becoming more important signals whether or not content can be trusted.

And in his words:

Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.

In other words, if you want to do well in the long run, you have to build a brand.

When you look at Google you can see clearly that it’s dominated by big brands. From Huffington Post to Wikipedia to CNN… the list goes on and on.

Sure, these sites have a lot of content and backlinks, but they also have huge brands.

When my traffic grew from 185,980 visitors a month in February 2016 to 454,382 visitors in August, it was due to one thing.

My brand kept growing!

Just look at the brand queries for my name over time according to Google Trends:

Over time, my brand has grown in popularity. And as it’s grown, so has my traffic.

In the last 28 days, 40,412 people found my site by Googling variations of my name.

That’s a lot of people!

But what’s cool is, the traffic increases didn’t mainly come from people Googling “Neil Patel.” It mainly came from an increase in rankings for non-branded terms like “online marketing.”

It’s so effective that I generate over a million visits from Google each month now:

To clarify, the way Google looks at brands is that if a website gets a higher amount of brand queries than their competition (the number of people searching for your website name each month), it tells Google that people prefer that one brand over another.

And when Google is determining where to rank a website for all of the terms they are optimizing for, they give more preference to the ones with the most popular brands because those are the sites that people prefer more.

So why does Google put so much emphasis on brands verus other search signals?

Why Google loves brands

Just think about it, it’s the hardest thing to manipulate.

You optimize your on-page code with very little effort these days.

Heck, if you have a WordPress blog you can just use the Yoast SEO plugin and it will do a lot of the work for you.

And when it comes to links, it is harder, but not impossible. You can do email outreach, guest posting, buying links, reciprocal link building, content marketing

Now, I am not saying you should leverage all of these link building tactics because Google frowns upon many of them and they are short-sided (always think long-term).

You get the point… it’s not that hard to build links these days if you know what you are doing.

But the one thing that is hard to build, no matter how good of a marketer you are, is a brand.

Even if you do massive PR stunts, which causes everyone to know your brand and search for your brand on Google (that’s how they measure it), it won’t help you in the long term.

And trust me, I’ve tried it all.

I even tried to get people to search for my name by having famous people hold up signs with my name as it causes others to wonder “who is Neil Patel” and perform a Google search. I also did that throughout the world in different languages.

I even had Larissa Manoela, a famous Brazilian actress, post this on her Instagram account for her 15+ million (million!!) followers.

The concept behind this marketing stunt was that no matter what industry you are in, everyone follows celebrities (or at least knows about them). And if you can get these celebrities to talk about you, it will create buzz and get new people to learn who you are and potentially become an avid follower. Or at the very least, search for you in Google.

And if you can get a lot of celebrities (or social influencers) to talk about you during the same time, it will create even more buzz and potentially cause newspapers and news websites to talk about you as well.

Now I didn’t have enough money to pay A-list celebrities, so I took Internet celebrities (and a few big names in countries outside of the US) and got them to hold up signs with my name on both Facebook and Instagram.

This created buzz, which then caused more people to Google my name. This, in turn, increased my popularity over time. And the end result was that I increased my rankings for non-branded terms (like “online marketing” and “SEO”).

That’s how I got the big boost in traffic from February 2016 to August 2016.

Although that will help boost your search traffic in the short run, it won’t last long unless you continually build up your brand. Google is looking to see how many people are searching for your brand name on a…

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