SEO is one of those industries that is constantly changing and moving which of course, is a good thing when you take into account the nature of SEO. However, it is our job as SEO professionals to keep up with the changes in Google and other search engines algorithm which is why we are always thinking ahead. There have already been a lot of changes in 2012 when it comes to SEO but there are still going to be a lot of changes out there to come.
Here are a few of the things that we predict will change over the next year or so:
#1 – Social Sharing
Over the past few years, Google has increased the amount of weight that it puts on social networking and social sharing when it comes to positions in search results. Their Google Plus system was supposed to really bring this to the next level when it was launched but unfortunately, it never really took off to the extent that Google wanted it to.
Now, Google and other search engines place quite a bit of weight on these “social signals” but personally, we don’t think they quite place enough. Social signals are perhaps the absolute best way to tell whether or not a page has actually been useful for its visitors and offered some good information. If a page has been shared 1 million times on Facebook, then chances are that it offered a great deal to its visitors.
However, it is easy to see why Google doesn’t place such a huge amount of weight on this, as it can be easily manipulated (like any SEO technique). For example, services where you can buy Facebook ‘Like’s or Twitter shares don’t do social signals any good. If Google does decide to increase the weight that social signals have, they are going to really need to figure out a way of telling genuine social signals from the not-so-genuine.
#2 – Algorithmic Weight Change for Guest Posts
This one has already kind-of happened with the Penguin and Panda updates earlier this year but we expect to see even more changes. Basically, Google is not that much of a fan of guest posting anyway as essentially, it is a method to manipulate the search results. However, good quality guest posting has been extremely effective in the world of SEO for years and it always will be to a certain extent.
However, when Panda and Penguin came into effect, the amount of people looking for guest posts increased significantly. And, once again, so did the amount of spammy guest posts out there. There are now more people than ever building “guest blogs” which are created just for guest posting opportunities and this is not good. Yes, you might think that a PR4 site would be a great guest posting opportunity, but often, it won’t be, especially if there are tonnes of third party links coming from that website.
We recommend that you should get ahead of the crowd now with this one. By this, we mean that you should only submit really high quality guest posts to genuine site. Use tools like SEMrush to figure out if there’s any actual traffic and whether or not your post is likely to attract any social shares or genuine links.
The nitty-gritty of the situation is that if you are guest posting on a site that looks poor and that you wouldn’t usually visit, the chances are that everyone else feels the same way too….including Google.
#3 – Increased Weight for Mobile Friendly Websites
More and more people are now browsing the internet on iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices. In fact, according to Google’s latest marketing push, when it comes to local services there are now as many as 1 in 3 searches done on mobile devices. The problem is that a lot of people still have very poorly optimised websites when it comes to mobile devices.
We expect that Google will start taking this into account when it comes to the rankings as mobile users need to see optimised content. It is easy for Google to see whether a website has a mobile-friendly version in most cases, as there is a .mobi domain registered or a mobile subdomain.
In theory, this is actually something we would like to see as websites need to be optimised for mobile devices anyway, regardless of SEO. Many businesses are losing a huge chunk of customers because they don’t have a mobile friendly website these days and personally, I hate it when I get a bad user experience when browsing on my iPhone.
#4 – Further Increases in Personalised Search Results
Again, this is something that we have already started to see within Google and it is something that is only going to increase. Google is now trying its hardest to show users content that is relevant to them. In fact, if you change the location settings on Google and search for a term like “plumbers” or “web designers”, chances are that you will now see different results.
This is, in a way, a good thing. We all want personalised results and results that are going to be more relevant to us, but we are sure Google will make some errors on the way to making this a reality that will no doubt, cause problems for a lot of SEO’s.
The good thing about this is that it is pretty easy to optimise your website for local terms and it is also easy to apply local meta attributes too that will let Google know a bit more about the location of your business. The problem comes when you are trying to optimise a London based business for keywords like “website design Manchester” as other, local companies are probably going to beat you quite easily.
In conclusion, we hope that some of these changes do come into effect as they will improve things in a lot of ways. Our advice to all SEO’s out there at the moment would be to ensure that your link building quality and not overly spammy, this way you can avoid problems with new algorithmic updates.