Recently, Croud took a nostalgic, infographic-based look back at the history of Google SERPs. As cozy as this retrospective was, we also know that in the digital marketing industry, most of us will be looking ahead, hoping to adapt and respond to all the imminent changes.
In the past 20 years, Google has gone from a university project called Backrub to a global powerhouse that continues to shape how we search for, and discover new information.
Over the course of these last two decades, a whole industry, one now worth more than $200 billion dollars annually, has evolved to serve the advertising and marketing needs of a population whose media habits have been irreversibly altered by Google’s mission and their products.
And yet, these are still early days for Google, and the wider industry as a whole. In fact, the rate of change is only increasing, with driverless cars and augmented reality on the horizon.
Some of Google’s core business focuses, like hyperlocal targeting and personalisation, remain largely untapped opportunities and, with heightening competition from Apple, Amazon, and Facebook, the pace of progress will continue to accelerate.
In 2017 alone, for example, we are about to see an ad-blocker built into Chrome, a mobile-first index, and the increased uptake of voice search. These could easily be frightening times for a digital marketer, where the pace of change, the direction of developments and the constant innovations may at first appear threatening to an advertising ecosystem which on the whole has operated within very safe perimeters.
With Google defining itself as “machine-learning first” in its approach, we are entering an era of unprecedented – and mildly unpredictable – possibilities. If Google can integrate its Assistant software into our everyday lives, the humble search results page as we know it may soon be a thing of the past.
Whilst, of course, it might not be possible to anticipate exactly what’s coming next, with the slew of recent changes and updates that Google has released in mind, we’ve carefully considered a few possibilities as to where the search giant may be taking us.
One of the key shifts seems likely to be that, despite the investment and energy that has gone into protecting the revenue behemoth that is AdWords, Google is increasingly comfortable with moving away from maintaining SERPs in their current iteration. Certainly, Google is far more concerned with the function of its products over the form they will take; notions such as “concepts over keywords” have been floating around for almost a decade now.
In our latest infographic, we have looked into a future where context will define the form and content of the search results pages we see. This shift to organising information semantically and conceptually, rather than by keywords, means we’re like to see everything from voice searches to being served personalised results before we even know to request them.
You can view a high-resolution version of our Future Of SERPs Infographic by clicking on the image below.
This infographic also appears Search Engine Watch. It was created by Clark Boyd, VP Strategy and graphic design Croudie Chelsea Herbert.