If you haven’t noticed already, Google seems to have an agenda. In 2013 alone, they introduced 15 total updates. Some were minor and hardly even noticeable, while others such as penguin 2.0 and Hummingbird created some waves within the marketing community. In September, I created a post entitled SEO for 2014 which covered a few of the basic practices that will garner results in the next year. Today, we’re going to go cover what I expect will occur to SEO, not just in 2014, but in the following years as well. By understanding what Google is trying to do with all of these updates, we can effectively anticipate coming changes and stay ahead of the ball game while others struggle to keep their head above water.
What is Google Trying to Do?
Some believe that Google has been cranking out updates regularly just so their teams can appear busy. I can assure you, this is the furthest thing from the truth. Their primary intent is to slowly, but surely, improve the user’s experience. They want to provide users with the information they are looking for when conducting a search and not just over optimized pages with little to offer.
In October, I expanded on how the Google Hummingbird update was a step forward for Google in their approach to providing users with the information that they are looking for by changing the search algorithm all together.
What’s to Come?
As of right now, we can only speculate on what the “Big G” has in store for us, but based on experiences with the previous updates and an understanding of what Google’s intentions are, we can draw several conclusions on how to better optimize a site for SEO in 2014.
1. If the Hummingbird update was any indication of what’s to come, experts will suggest focusing on creating content that people want, with a strong emphasis on semantic search (the understanding of the searcher’s intent), instead of the keywords that they are typing into the search bar. Here’s an example of how semantic search works….
If I were to Google the words “weather Palo Alto California,” 10 years ago the first page that popped up would be one that is optimized specifically for the keyword phrase that was typed in, which may or may not have the weather forecast that I am looking for. With semantic search, however, Google now knows that I am looking specifically for the weather report in the Palo Alto area, which immediately shows me the weather report for the next week when I type that phrase in.
As of right now, the semantic search is relatively week and doesn’t encompass every page on the web, but in the future, Google will likely improve upon this by assuming what the intent of the user’s search is and not just the keywords that were typed in.
2. Google will begin to pay more attention to social signals. Google +, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. These are all good indicators of what people are currently interested in. It would only make sense that Google would begin to pay more attention to the trending topics that people are following and push them higher to the top of the SERPs.
3. Google’s Author Rank will begin to have much more of an impact. Through the authorship program, Google will be able to recognize the writers that offer higher quality information that also bring in a lot of search traffic. From this information, they will be able to effectively increase page rankings based on the quality of the author related to that page.
As of right now, nothing is written in stone. However, it is a safe bet that the suggestions that I proposed will happen in the next year or so. With that in mind, you can easily get ahead of the competition by beginning to optimize for what Google is PLANNING to do, so when they actually implement these ideas into their updates, you will be sitting pretty at #1.