Google unrolled some serious changes last year and this year is likely to be just as turbulent/exciting for SEO guys. Based on previous developments and recent announcements from Google, we’ve come up with a list of what you can expect to see in terms of SEO trends. Some of the SEO trends will result in marketers ditching old SEO methods and others will see them adopting new ones. You wanna be ahead of the game so check out these top 5 SEO trends.
1. Google+ Will Continue to Grow
Last year Google+ was able to stick its tongue out at all the haters and naysayers who had preached the inevitable failure of G+ which was supposed to flop like Google Buzz. But G+ has an advantage over other social networks; its connection to the Google search engine, Gmail and YouTube, all of which are, of course, controlled by the same company. G+ has been tentatively taken up by different communities, but more people are starting to realize its potential. Admittedly discussion in most areas is nowhere near as active as that on Twitter or Facebook, but profiles are being made and people are engaging with the +1 feature.
Websites, films, sneaker makers and restaurants are all making G+ pages and posting content, content which is ignored by most people but not by Google algorithms! Expect to see the increasing impact of G+ in SERPs. The more content posted on your G+ page or profile and the more followers you have, the more people will see it when searching with Google. We are already starting to see G+ posts in results pages, learn to use this to your advantage. People who follow you on Google+ will already be seeing your posts on search results, but if the posts do well then even those who don’t follow you will see them. Google will inevitably keep pushing G+ on us and will use SEO lures as an incentive to get people to post content and engage with each other. There are likely to be even more G+ posts showing up in the SERPs and possible further integration of G+ discussions into search results.
2. The Slow Death of the Guest Post
SEO prophets have been preaching this for some time. Even Google’s Matt Cutts wrote an article last month confirming the fears of the guest poster advocates: You can’t use guest posting exclusively for SEO purposes anymore. One of the SEO trends will be Google’s visible efforts to penalize anyone who is still using black hat link-building methods. Here are some of the actions Google is probably going to take:
Increased action against rich anchor text.
Devaluing the quantity over quality links builders.
Discounting posts that are irrelevant in terms of the relation between the pages.
More algorithmic exclusion of obvious guest post articles for link building.
3. More of the Hummingbird
Hummingbird isn’t a Google algorithm like Panda or Penguin. It was launched months before Google’s 15th birthday last year but to virtually no fanfare. Rather than changing the basic algorithm rankings like Panda and Penguin updates did, it is a rewrite of the Google search engine, the part that actually performs the searches. The Hummingbird update is going to make it easier for them to update algorithms in 2014, so that’s probably what’s going to happen. It might mean that a new Google algorithm could be added which will pick up on Facebook likes, retweets and other social media signals. It’s hard to say what will happen, but Hummingbird allows the potential for major changes this year.
4. Conversational Search Terms
See the title of this post. That’s not just a rhetorical question I’m asking myself, but an effort to pick up on search queries based on mobile internet usage habits. The Hummingbird update allows Google to respond more effectively to conversational search terms and other natural language queries. You are now able to enter sequences of interrelated searches to Google via your phone, in the form of questions and you can even use voice search if your smartphone has that option. This changes the way marketers should think about SEO and it changes the way Google looks at searches. Mobile user searches are a bit limited in terms of natural language queries so that’s an area we can expect Google to develop. Mobile-based voice searches are going to be ever more common as technology improves and there’s no way Google will ignore that trend, and neither should you.
5. Mobile Friendly Sites to be Favoured
As I said before, Google will be looking at mobile internet search queries and related habits a lot more in the future. You should try to jump on this trend sooner rather than later. We’ve already written a Top 5 Mobile SEO tips list to help you get started in this direction if you haven’t already. It’s only a matter of time before tablets and phones become more popular than desktops in terms of internet use. It seems to have already become the case for online retail. Google will want to be ahead of the game in this brave new world of mobile internet users, and they will favor websites that are developed with mobile internet users in mind.
If you haven’t made your site mobile-friendly yet, then it’s a good time to start because it’s only a matter of time before Google started penalizing sites that don’t cater to mobile users. You probably already receive at least 20% of your traffic from mobile users, and you can expect this to increase. SEO trends in 2014 will follow the existing paths of development that emerged in 2o13. Get serious about mobile-friendly web design, think about conversational search terms and keywords that work with natural speech searches. Lay off the guest posts for a while and keep an eye on your Google+ profile, there’s magic in them thar G+ pages.