There were some dramatic changes in 2013, and it’s likely that there will be many more from Google, Yahoo and Bing. Already there’s been a major CEO change at Microsoft with the appointment of Satya Nadella. Now three search CEOs are dominating Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. It’s clear that search engines will always chance, but by preparing for these changes with savvy Internet marketing ideas, businesses can always stay on the cutting edge. These are just a few predictions for 2014 as businesses and online marketers head into the SEO landscape this year.
1. Hummingbird Continues
Last year Google released a new change called the Hummingbird update, which actually had rewritten the way that Google crawls content across all arenas of search. Social signals, semantic search and sharing all have more importance with the new update. This year businesses will most likely see an even greater impact from the new Hummingbird search platform and will need to adjust their SEO strategies as a result.
2. The Google Authorship Program
The new ranking factor of expert authors or Google Authorship entered the SEO stream last year after Hummingbird. There’s still a lot of changes that need to be made to make this program perfect, so there will likely be a few tweaks and updates to this program to ensure that expert authors get higher placement than some guy pretending to be a journalist in the mountains of Norway. AuthorRank and PublisherRank will likely also get a few more updates to ensure that in-depth articles become the norm and spam content is out. More personalized results according to authors is also likely.
3. The Answer Engine
Google, Bing and Yahoo don’t just want to be search engines. They want to be answer engines. That’s because people are using natural language to search for stuff online nowadays. They are asking questions like “Where did he play football” are common, and while there is no celebrity football star name, the search engine must still ascertain who the user is asking about. This makes user intent most important when becoming an answer search engine. There will likely be more updates to natural language and question keywords will also become apart of successful SEO keyword strategies as marketers look to target the mobile voice search audience. Others will also implement linked open data in posts to help crawlers understand the relevance and intent behind a post.
4. Google+ is Getting Big
It’s still not like Facebook, and you probably won’t find your Grandma on Google+ but no business can deny that Google+ is necessary to success in digital marketing. There will be more updates to this social network platform to increase its relevance for SEO through personalized results, social signals and posts on SERPs from Google+ profile pages.
5. Will Guest Posts Still Be Viable
There has been a lot of talk about guest posting since Matthew Cutts’ update on his blog saying that guest posting is dead. However, nothing about SEO is ever dead. Some practices still work. That’s because SEO is ever evolving. It’s about looking ahead. The parts of guest posting that will go away include rich anchor text, non-authoritative posts and low relevance posts.
These are just a few of the predictions for SEM trends in 2014. With all types of change, businesses must be ready for the next SEO strategy and change ahead of search engine algorithms to stay on the edge.