A recent survey asked more than 1,500 SEO agency professionals and in-house SEOs to rank industry trends on a scale of zero to four, a rank of zero meaning the trend would have no impact on SEO in the next three years, a rank of four meaning it would have a huge impact.

The trend SEOs most expected to affect their business was Google entering new verticals and competing directly with niche publishers. Google already has a history of entering and dominating certain sectors of the internet, search and video, via YouTube, being the two best examples. Now, it is making inroads in the travel-planning business through platforms like Google Flights and Google Hotels.

Respondents were lukewarm on most new technologies. Few expected visual search to significantly alter the SEO landscape, and voice search wasn’t ranked much higher. The impact of AI and machine-learning on Google’s ranking algorithm, on the other hand, was considered quite consequential. In particular, respondents believe more sophisticated AI will shift focus away from technical on-site SEO – keyword research, meta tags, etc. – to content quality.

Zero-click searches are another important trend, according to SEO agency pros. Websites are generating less traffic as more searchers find information directly on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). The shift to zero-click results means SEOs must change the way they optimize content and spend more time on Google channels like My Business. It may also change the way performance metrics like site traffic are considered.

The digital marketing industry changes with the rise and fall of every new social media platform, every Google algorithm update, and every piece of legislation affecting user data privacy. As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency, GrowthEngine Media is constantly adapting client strategies to respond to shifts in the marketing landscape. Contact us today to learn how we can get your website found by target customers.