Here’s a look at some of our predictions for SEO in 2014:
1. Sentiment Analysis:
A large number of companies are using sentiment analysis to track the general feeling towards their brands online. Some even have procedures in place that will send out discount vouchers or other activity if the feeling to their brand drops below a certain level.
This is tied in hugely with social media as most conversation online takes place here. This does mean that managing your customers’ experience through social platforms is vital.
Not only does it impact the view customers have of your brand, but regardless of what Google states, +1s do have positive effects; it’s natural that other popular platforms will be given similar importance.
What Does the Internet Think is a tool which gives you a basic idea about the general feeling online with a certain keyword or search term.
Google is sure to be using more sentiment analysis when considering which brands are more relevant to the user’s search.
2. Social Signals:
Depending on the speed of social media growth, Google could view genuine social signals from influencers as equal to incoming links from blogs and other high quality websites.Tied in very closely with sentiment analysis, a person’s Facebook profile is generally representative of that person’s opinions and if a user is talking about or linking to your brand, either positively or negatively – they must have strong feelings towards it.
3. Keyword Importance Reduced:
With Google taking into account much more than just keywords (such as sentiment) it’s expected that keywords will take a back seat in favour of overall meaning of the content. Google removed its keyword tools and keyword search data for a reason; it doesn’t want SEOs focusing on it.
SEOs have already seen the effects of this with anchor text and exact-match domains for keyword given far less credence and actually being viewed as a sign of ‘spammy’ SEO tactics.
4. Google Authorship:
This allows an author to tag a particular website as belonging to them. Over time this allows the author to become more recognisable and build authority in specific subject.
If an author is associated with specific topics, it’s likely that articles and sites written/built by that author around that subject will receive a boost.
However, this could be detrimental if misused. If for example, an SEO assigns their authorship to multiple pages and article for clients, in the hope of building a wide range of authority, Google could put 2+2 together and identify that person as an SEO and reduce their authority in subjects not related to online marketing.
5. Mobile Optimisation:
Smartphones are in their maturity, now 1/7 people have a smartphone and the majority use their phone to perform searches and browse online.
Having a website that is optimised for mobile will give you an advantage with users from an experience point of view, but Google will look more favourably on your site when compared to non-mobile sites.
A user having to pinch and zoom to properly view a website is not a great customer experience and Google will no doubt take this into account.
6. Location Relevance:
With mobile searches increasing, so will Google’s giving of importance to results which relate to the users’ location.
It can be assumed with relative accuracy that a user in Sheffield performing a search for cake decorators is far more likely to be interested in companies based in Sheffield than those based in London.
As Google is all about giving the user what they want to see, so will see the location of your business in relation to the user as highly relevant information.
7. Knowledge Graph:
Google’s knowledge graph is already fairly accurate at providing information that searchers are looking for without the need for the user to select a search result.
The knowledge graph will grow in the data it can present and the frequency with which it appears. Eventually this could mean that a search could return only knowledge graph results.
South Korean search engine, Naver, already shows results this way, with only 3 out of the 38 results being external or “organic” results.
8. Quality Links:
The effects of this have already been seen with the Panda update. Links from low-quality or spam-like sites will have a negative effect on your chances of listing.
Quality links have never been more important and this will continue to develop. However, you shouldn’t discount links which give you diversity, a natural link profile will include PR1 – PR10 sites, anything otherwise does look slightly suspicious.
9. Rich Snippets:
Rich snippets make Google’s job a lot easier, they give the search engine a greater understanding of the content of the site. Naturally, if Google give this any form of priority, which is highly likely, every SEO will use them, meaning that rich snippets will be appearing in a growing number of websites.
This is exactly what Google wants to happen and SEOs will do a large chunk of the search engine giant’s job for them.
10. User Generated Content:
Heavily linked with authorship and social signals, Hummingbird encourages user-generated content. One way to encourage user-generated content is to draw attention to it. If you promote the content your customers have created, whether it’s a review, tweet, photo or a video; they are far more likely to create more.
It’s common knowledge that complaints are far easier to find and are created more frequently than positive reviews. For a customer to spend the time to generate such content, their experience must have been very positive – search engines understand this.