What Will Rock Search in 2015
Looking back, 2014 was a year of some massive changes in search.
- Authorship, even though originally dubbed by many as the next big thing, was removed.
- Google cracked down guest posts as a link building strategy.
- Local search algorithm saw a massive update and toolbar page rank was finally shelved.
And that’s just the top of the iceberg.
Not to mention, it’s all gone. We have another 12 months ahead of us now. And it’s only natural to wonder what will rock the search world in 2015.
Here are some of our predictions.
This one is no brainer, right? 2015 will be a year of mobile and that’s a fact.
We could see a signs of this coming for a while already.
For instance, at SMX Matt Cutts stated that by the end of 2014 Google should start to see more queries from mobile devices than desktops. And several other sources point that this might have in fact happened.
MarketingLand reported after IBM that 52% of the internet traffic in the US on Thanksgiving Day came from a mobile device. And according to the same source, Black Friday’s mobile sales were 28.2% over 2013.
Google has been acting on the trend too. The search engine began displaying a “mobile friendly” label in search to highlight mobile optimised websites to users. And announced experimenting with mobile friendliness as a ranking factor.
Looking at those developments, it’s clear that needs of mobile users might be more important than those of visitors from desktop devices.
Matt Southern goes as far as predicting that Google might even stop indexing non-mobile sites in mobile search results. Who knows?
Key Takeaway: In 2015 the needs of mobile users will become more important to those of their desktop counterparts. Having a mobile site or responsive design might prove not to be enough to satisfy both users and Google. Properly optimised mobile sites will include features catering specifically for mobile users.
Search Results Will Become Even More Personal
Both semantic search and personalised search results are already a reality.
In summer of 2013 Google announced the Hummingbird update. In short, as of that moment, the search algorithm began to focus on understanding the search phrase, rather than blindly matching it to phrases on a page.
Meaning and context have pushed strict keywords out of use and the search engine became more interested in identifying the user’s intent behind search.
It is only a natural development for Google to start looking at more semantic clues to even better determine the content of your page. As a result, on-page optimisation will change to include synonyms, close variants, co-occurrence and many other factors.
Search results are also already affected by a user’s past searches, their location and personal connections. Now, with the raise of mobile dominance we can only expect smartphone usage for instance to affect SERPs too.
One of the results of these changes will be a growing difficulty in measuring and reporting on SEO benefits.
Key Takeaway: in 2015 search results will become even more personalized and based on semantics forcing SEO’s to restructure the way they measure and report on their progress.
The Ongoing Penguin Might Be Affecting Rankings Continuously
Rankings will always be the key metric of SEO success.
But the days of enjoying stagnant rankings might be coming to an end.
Why? For one, because Google already announced that Penguin updates will be now happening continuously.
Until now, Google will release a new update sporadically, meaning that a site’s rankings were pretty stagnant between each update (bar the typical fluctuations of course).
With this change we can expect a much more volatility in search results now.
This change will also naturally affect the way we build links now.
With Penguin’s eye watching closely, even a few bad links appearing in your site’s link profile might throw its rankings off. Constant link profile monitoring might thus become as regular practice as checking a site’s rankings in the morning.
On the other hand, regaining rankings after cleaning up a link profile will also be happening much faster.
So perhaps this isn’t such a bad thing after all?
Key Takeaway: As of now, Penguin update might be continuous. This means that rankings might be thrown off even by few bad links at instant. At the same time, regaining rankings after cleaning up a link profile might happen equally fast.
Creative commons image by: Caillum Smith