What would happen if Google understood content perfectly?
While the answer to such a scenario ranges from incredibly unlikely to impossible, there’s something to the underlying sentiment of the proposition. That’s clearly because Google has made great strides in understanding the words on a webpage. Moreover, with things like MUM, this seems like a trend that is only going to continue exponentially.
It’s a trend that I think is going to reshape SEO to a substantial extent.
Here’s why and how I think “usability” will come to dominate SEO as technology continues to advance.
Why SEO Will Get Redefined
The notion of Google fully comprehending content is a bit of an absurdity (at least in this author’s opinion) when taken as a result. However, when taken as a trend or as something which things are moving towards, it’s an incredibly practical question. So much so that even John Mueller took it up during a July 2021 hangout session.
Indeed, if you read through John’s statements, they center around both Google’s content deciphering advancements and the evolution of the CMS as it pertains to handling things like H1s, etc.
Both the advancements of many of the CMSes and Google itself converge to create an environment conducive to real change. These changes will, without a doubt, directly impact SEO.
In fact, I believe these changes to be so significant that they will redefine SEO in many ways (though not totally, of course).
Before we get to the evolution of SEO, let’s better understand the convergence between CMS advancements along with Google’s improvements.
Redefining SEO: The Role of Google’s Comprehension Advancement
There’s an equalisation that occurs alongside Google’s increased abilities to parse content and its meaning. The ranking potential of content that has not been created or optimized by a marketing professional increases relative to Google’s ability to better understand the content. That does not mean that Google will or won’t rank such content but that it now can rank such content should it choose. What Google has related around Passage Ranking would be representative of this trend. (Again, for the record, I am not saying Google is there yet. Major advancements have been made, but there can certainly still be significant gaps).
Simply put, Google’s ability to better understand content going forward would mean less emphasis is needed to ensure Google understands your content. It’s a pretty simple equation. The things on your page that exist for the sake of Google being better able to understand your content become less significant. Following its logical conclusion, this dynamic would change, in theory, what SEOs need to focus on.