What Is SEO Future Proofing?
SEO future proofing is the process of optimizing website content, site structure and marketing with strategies and techniques that will remain effective despite any changes by search engines providing longevity and sustainability to search rankings and an SEO business.
Protecting the Future of Your SEO Business
SEO is a business so you could say that in addition to future proofing their business strategy an SEO should extend future proofing to their SEO techniques and strategies. In the SERP for SEO future proofing there are the usual answer boxes. One of the question was/is “What is future proofing strategy?” The answer is:
Future-proofing is a business practice that encourages sustainable models and strategic plans to guarantee a company’s longevity. It is essential to know how to adapt, optimize, and plan for future events.
~ Future-Proofing: 5 Ways to Future-Proof Your Business – 2023
I thought the “master class” post was also applicable to future proofing SEO techniques and content strategy because the goal of an SEO’s future proofing Strategy is to provide longevity to rankings and therefore their SEO business since it is dependent on providing sustainable rankings to keep clients happy and business longevity for both businesses.
Risk/Reward Assessment is a Key to a Winning Future Proofing Strategy
I was very lucky in that early in my career InfoSeek provided feedback on the optimization of a page. The most important thing I learned was search engines can easily spot spammy on-page SEO techniques so I avoid them. Also I learned to never use techniques that I feel will only work as long as Google allows them to. IMO, “it works today” isn’t conducive to creating easily maintained and sustainable rankings.
Example of How my SEO Future Proofing Strategy Changed My Content Creation Process.
I started this post as I often do by doing a search of Google to review the SERP to determine if what I was preparing to write about could add value to what had already been written about SEO Future Proofing. The results were not what I would expect so I refined the search to include how to future proof SEO.
This SERP wasn’t much better so a quick review had demonstrated that I could add value to the SERP. IMO, most of the results failed by not discussing the references or how to gather the knowledge that enabled me or any SEO to future proof their SEO strategies and business. Instead content was the “don’t write for search engines” message Google preaches.
In other words they described what good SEO future proofing resulted in not how to gather information to make the decisions that result in what I have come to call “Sustainable SEO”. My goal was never to just rank on the first page of Google.
I work hard to create content and pages that rank for years with little promotion or SEO trickery. My belief is that pages should rank because they deserve to rank based on relevance enhancement, expertise and infogain (the old “value add”) of the content!
The above strategy for targeting optimization candidates is the direct result of suggestions, recommendations and analysis of the references and resources I list below.
References for Developing an SEO Future Proofing Strategy
I don’t follow most of the SEO techniques that are public because they don’t really have longevity because search engines either dampen, filter or in the case of spammy links ignore the technique. I read a lot of information in a few places to formulate my SEO future proofing strategy. I got information from:
- Google Quality Raters Guide (QRG)
- Google communications
- Search patents
- Google Algo Update Analysis
- Google Content Guidelines
As I read the content above I wasn’t thinking about how to use the information to exploit or manipulate search rankings, but, rather what was the problem Google was addressing and how does the solution address the problem. QRG and Google search announcements often provide information on implementing new SERP features and Google’s QRG indicates EXPECTATIONs for good search results.
Google Quality Raters Guide (QRG)
The key to using the QRG in your SEO future proofing is understanding why changes were made to it and reviewing your content to ensure that it is meeting expectations for what the raters were asked to consider in rating SERP quality.
I have always relied heavily on other SEOs analysis of changes to the QRG because of it’s size and the time it takes to identify changes. More recently I’ve relied heavily on Lily Ray and in the past that distinction goes to Jenifer Slegg on SEMpost or her guide to the QRG on SEL which is based on a seminar she did a few years ago and is pure gold for insights into the QRG.
Many SEOs ignore the QRG because they believe it has no value since it doesn’t reveal ranking factors or how to manipulate search algorithms. For me the QRG has been by far the best source for improving content relevance and understanding and realizing what is a “quality” SERP and therefore what the content needs to contribute positively to the SERP. Occasionally the changes made to the QRG are a preview of what will be targeted in an upcoming algorithm update.
The last QRG instructed raters to review UGC on sites like forums, Quora and Reddit differently. The next algorithm update saw these types of sites gain considerable visibility. Before the Medic update there were changes made to the QRG that instructed raters to consider the ease of finding author information suggesting they look for bylines, author boxes and bios. One of the targets of the Medic algorithmic update was easy access to and quality bios for authors that seemed like the first attempt to evaluate expertise (pre E-E-A-T).
IMO, there are 3 classes of Google Communications:
- Google “chatter” in Social Media: Most of the “chatter” from Google in Social Media on SEO techniques and ranking has little or no value to an experienced SEO. I say “most of the chatter” because some Google employees do answer questions that are helpful. The future proofing skill here is the ability to know the difference between the useful chatter from the wasted words.
- Google Reference and Resources: These blogs and developer guides are the best resources for information about implementing new SERP features and information on crawling and indexing requirements and best practices.
- Google Announcement Blogs: Especially useful for alerts on new SERP features and other events that may affect SEO.
Google resources are fine for implementing new SERP features in your content, however, for ranking analysis of SERP features I start with a few trusted SEOs who I have been following their analysis for years because of their expertise in the bracketed skills below.
For quite a few years SEO by The Sea by Bill Slawski and David Harry (partner in SEO Training Dojo) were my go to SEOs for patents. Recently Olaf Koff has been my “patent guy” especially for analysis of patents on E-E-A-T & Semantic SEO and entity extraction.
I prefer to start with other SEOs analysis rather than do my own analysis. This saves time and while I go through the analysis if there was something I didn’t understand I might go directly to the patent.
The most important consideration for implementing information from search patents is the source of the information. Use only trusted sources that are based in fact not assumptions and conjecture. Once again my interest is more in the problem the patent addresses and the solution. The problem and solution tell me how I can use the information to improve Google’s understanding of my sites and content!
Google Algorithmic Update Analysis
In the past I did a lot of forensic SEO work fixing sites affected by manual and algorithmic updates from 2000 until the Medic update which was the last update I did a deep dive on. In addition to my own reviews I also read analysis of update winners & losers. In the past I had a few SEOs I followed for this but lately it’s primarily been Lily Ray and Glenn Gabe for the majority of my reading. I avoid any posts and commentary of any kind on updates that aren’t completely rolled out this IMO, borders on irresponsible behavior!
Google Content Guidelines
To be honest I haven’t reviewed the Google Content Guidelines in literally years! The main reason being once you review them and understand why some SEO practices are eagerly accepted by search engines and which are unwanted manipulation and the difference between the two there isn’t a lot to be learned and implemented in your SEO future proofing strategy.
I do pay attention to changes in the Content Guidelines but usually that only amounts to reading analysis by an SEO I trust. I haven’t really made a change to my strategy based on guidelines in quite some time.
Importance of SEO Future Proofing to an SEO and Their Clients Businesses
One of the benefits of developing an SEO future proofing strategy is that I have never seen significant drop from any algorithmic or technology update. One of the advantages to future proofing is it avoids “it works today” SEO techniques which are the SEO tactics that most algorithmic updates target to filter, dampen or ignore content.
An SEO whose strategies and practices are affected by Search Engine policies and updates have damaged their client’s business which in turn damages their business credibility and trust!
By incorporating the key elements of SEO Future Proofing into your SEO strategy, you can ensure that your and client websites will remain relevant in the future. Focusing on these components will also help you achieve higher rankings in SERPs and drive more qualified traffic to a website.