SEO Possibilities for 2015
SEO is an ever-changing field and one that contains no definitive approach. As a result, it is important to keep up to date with what is happening in the world of SEO. Even if you don’t think a certain change or advancement will affect you, it is still important as it could affect you more than you think.
And while keeping on top of what is currently happening, a better practice might be looking forward and making an educated guess at what will be happening in the future; keeping ahead of the game so to speak.
And this is something that a lot of SEOs spend a lot of their time doing, looking for patterns, causations, correlations, and giving their very own forecast as to what is around the corner.
So, without further ado...
Everything is Becoming Smarter
It really is, isn’t it? Smart phones, smart televisions, smart watches – the list could go on. And it’s not just devices that are becoming smarter, not by a long shot. Google itself is becoming smarter, and smarter, and smarter. Not to the extent where we should be planning for a Skynet type scenario, but to the point where it is becoming more and more noticeable.
However, I digress. Aside from the current batch of smart devices, there are more in the works. The Internet of Things is being touted as the next game-changer with its promise of integrating all of your gadgets, into one, working system. Add this to the current series of smart devices, particularly mobile devices, one can extrapolate the opinion that mobile is going to be bigger than ever.
Media Posts ‘Search Marketing Daily’ claims that “The IoT [Internet of Things] will redefine search marketing. The future of search resides in automatic identification through beacons, sensors, global positioning systems, and other types of technology.” Basically, marketers will have to think about information that pushes rather than pulls.
From an SEO point of view, this is just stoking the fire of something that was already being passed around at the tail end of 2014. We already know that Google was experimenting with user experience for mobile as a ranking signal, and they even gave out lovely ‘mobile friendly’ labels to those they deemed worthy, and warnings to those they did not.
So add these steps by Google; the rise of smart and wearable devices; and the technology that is yet to be released, such as the aforementioned Internet of Things, and you’ve got a fairly clear indication of something that SEOs should be making a priority in 2015. 60% of traffic is now coming from mobile, and this figure is rising. Google is cosying up to mobile, so should you.
When was the last time you heard someone say “Bing it”? It’s probably been a while, that is, if you’ve ever heard it.
Despite this, 2015 may be the year that we see some new challengers take on the monster that is Google.
Bing and Yahoo: two search engines that have been around for as long as we can remember, but two (among others) that have always been in the shadow of Google, and to be fair, Google has earned its place as top dog of the search world. However, the others are still there, and this may be reason enough for others to dip their toes into the cold waters of search.
Apple have been the recent talk of the town in the world of search distribution. Google currently pay $1 billion to be the default search engine on their Safari browser, but this might all be about to change.
With the current deal ending this year, aided by Yahoo’s victory in defeating Google and becoming the default search engine for Mozilla Firefox, a few search engines have stepped up to try and wrestle the title off of Google and become Apple’s next default search engine. However, one other possibility is that Apple step up themselves and introduce their very own search engine.
Apple’s vast size and wealth make them the perfect company to take on Google and introduce iSearch (educated guess.) This, along with the sensation that is Apple fandom, might just give them a chance at loosening Google’s iron grip on the search market.
Another who may fancy themselves as future search engine giants is the one company that doesn’t need the traffic from Google - Facebook.
With their recent acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram, Facebook now have several platforms in which they can provide their own search results for. Don’t be surprised if Facebook block Google from indexing any content from their pages with Mark Zuckerberg keeping it all for himself.
Some might say these may just be pipedreams; twinkles in the eyes of the Cook and the Zuck, but there might be a very big door opening for them rather soon.
The EU is taking sanctions against Google’s monopolistic hold on the search market. It has already been ‘split into smaller parts’ in order to increase competition in the sector. If there ever was a time for a challenger to step up to Google, it’s now.
Despite the beloved Matt Cutts saying that Google does in fact not use social signals as part of their ranking algorithm, there has always been an idea that they really do. This idea would align with when the beloved Matt Cutts said that Google in fact, does use social signals as part of their ranking algorithm…
Make up your mind Matt!!
Okay, the latter was from 5 years ago, and as we all know SEO is an ever-changing field (it was the first sentence of this article for those who haven’t been paying attention) but, even with Cutts 2014 quashing Cutts 2010, that aforementioned idea still does exist. And 2015 could see it become a reality.
Social media is nothing short of a phenomenon – it has become part of everyday life. You go on Facebook to tell your friends you just got a haircut, or, you go on Instagram to display a picture of your £5 burger and beer – it’s hard to ignore the impact that it has had, and continues to have on how we interact with one another.
SEO at a fundamental level is marketing, and marketing is about visibility. With social media, you’ve got a huge soapbox to increase your visibility, to reach your audience and to interact with your target market.
Google’s, let’s say valiant attempt at breaking in to the social media market with Google+ definitely had an impact on rankings. A study showed that when a site gained 100 or more Google+ followers, its rankings increased by over 14%! So, Google must be taking some social signals as a ranking factor, even if it was just from their own social platform. (Cutts 2014 was clever about this, and only said that Google didn’t use Facebook and Twitter signals. Clever Cutts.)
Fast forward to 2015. Facebook and Twitter have stomped all over Google+ and have more or less shown it the door, reaffirming their dominance. Google know this, they can’t deny it. They would be mad not to at least take some consideration from these sites when deciding on their ranking factors.
Perhaps it has already started with Google’s mass indexation of Twitter in 2014, and more and more social pages appearing in the search results.
We’ve already talked about how Google encourages a good user experience, and people liking a page, or Tweeting some content can certainly be argued as affirmation of a good user experience. Can’t it?
It looks like the users are speaking to Google, but are they listening?
These are just a few ideas, a few predictions if you will, of what could happen in the world of search in 2015. The signs are there, but ultimately, we won’t know until we know. We will just have to wait and see what 2015 brings for SEO and for online marketing as a whole.
These are the views of Chris Smith, one of our SEO Executives.