Predicting the future is a fool's errand. The future can unfold in nearly infinite ways, so how could anyone accurately envision the decades to come? That being said, VentureBeat recently took a look forward into the future of Search Engine Optimization, and the site's predictions track well with many changes that SEO firms believe are imminent.

The biggest potential game changer: Google might finally get some actual competition in the search engine market. So who has the resources to take on the almighty Google? Who else but Apple.

In short, Google has recently made moves towards more deeply integrating their Android operating system, app content, and search functions. Many SEO companies believe that in the coming years, mobile-only apps and their content will appear in organic search results right alongside all the other webpages and content on the web. And with Apple making its opening forays into search (and with 43% of mobile users hooked on iOS), it looks like the future of SEO could come down to a battle between two Silicon Valley giants -- Google vs. Apple.

But there's another showdown on the horizon that VentureBeat and other tech writers are ignoring. The site claims that in the Brave New World of SEO, the "Best Products Will Dominate SEO. No, Really." Perhaps. Or someone's been drinking too much of Silicon Valley's Google-flavored Kool-Aid. If you read between the lines, it's clear that the future of SEO will come down to small businesses on Main Street competing for real estate on page one with Silicon Valley startups and heavy hitters alike.

When mobile-first apps like Uber (and its many imitators) become searchable in exactly the same way as your local limo company, small businesses will have even fewer spots left in organic search results. And does anyone really think your average mom-and-pop shop in Anytown, USA will be able to manage search marketing as effectively as the latest hot startup from the latest hot incubator? All the keyword optimization and link building in the world won’t be enough to challenge a Silicon Valley company with national reach. And who do you think has the bigger PPC advertising budget?

Of course, we can hope that Apple will finally offer Google something approaching competition in the search world. But if Google and Apple fully integrate app content with their search functions, then the future of SEO looks like a tug-of-war between Main Street and Silicon Valley.

By: Timothy Werth