With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that this report included a survey which showed what problems SEO professionals themselves say that they are facing. The most pertinent problem of all might be a lack of resources, with 14.9% of the SEO professionals that responded to this survey stating that it was a major issue.
12.3% also cited problems with strategies and 11.9% highlighted the difficulties they are experiencing with scaling. 11.2% still think that the pandemic is having an adverse effect and 10.7% are having trouble aligning their goals with that of other departments within the organization.
Interestingly, budget cuts, which were the biggest problem cited by SEO professionals back in 2021, fell to sixth place this year with all things having been considered and taken into account. That suggests that budgets are becoming higher than might have been the case otherwise, although some resources are clearly unrelated to budgets because SEO professionals are still saying they don’t have enough of them.
Another aspect of this report that is important to highlight is the section where survey respondents were asked about major industry shifts and threats to their profession. Machine Learning and AI came out on top because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up making their jobs obsolete whilst providing lower quality results. 18.7% of survey respondents selected this option, and almost as many, or 18% to be precise, said that Google Updates might make the industry look entirely different in the near future.
The deprecation of third party cookies is also continuing to cause seismic shifts in the industry. 13.9% of survey respondents said that the lack of third party tracking is posing a significant challenge to them, with 12.9% citing Google’s Zero Click Pages. 11.5% also said that there was more competition for talent in the industry which may end up harming it in the long run.
The emergence of AI can be a particularly pertinent factor in the future of SEO. While it might not be able to replace human SEO professionals entirely, it will automate several processes and make them a lot easier to do. Alternatively, some might try to automate the entire SEO process which could lead to industry wide layoffs. The SEO industry appears to be in a constant state of flux, and 2023 is not shaping up to be any different. Decisions made by major players impact people that are even tangentially related to those industries, and that can be seen in Apple’s deprecating of third party cookies which SEO professionals are still sore over.
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