This year rather than covering off a long list of predictions in the style of Mystic Meg I’d like to cover off the themes that I expect to see cropping up more and more often.
To get the ball rolling I’d like to talk about the overall trend around how SEO has already shifted from the keyword to the user and topics. Putting the user first is nothing new and Google have been preaching about it for a long time, but in this post Panda and Penguin world the SEO industry should really wake up to this. In 2014 I’m expecting the brands that line up their off line and on line data to really start making inroads and start owning their customers. There is literally a ton of user data out there and in the right hands this can be used to craft a successful content strategy.
Universal Analytics in my opinion is going to be another milestone in the evolution of measurement. I’m expecting big things this year and we’re already working with a number of clients to join the dots between mobile apps tracking and websites.
Google’s crusade on web spam continues to remind me of doping in professional cycling with the dopers always staying one step ahead of the testers. Google’s link schemes page has traditionally acted as SEO’s banned substance list and for years many SEOs simply chose to ignore it. In 2013 we saw the end of advertorials; something a lot of people predicted. In 2014 guest posts have already had the chop as have article directories. Overall I expect the trend to continue with Google really clamping down on brands that don’t play by the rules. Overall I think this is a good thing for the industry as a whole. SEO does need to change and SEOs need to start explaining how they are going to help clients hit their business objectives rather than baffle them with metrics and technical jargon.
Search results pages are also constantly changing too. Again this is nothing new but I wonder how many of you know that there are now over 85 SERP layouts (according to Dr. Pete Meyers). This has a couple of implications.
1. Google is trying to cut out the middleman
2. More paid ads in disguise
3. Big sites with structured data dominating
4. A more personalised search experience
Structured data is something that I’m expecting to see more of and I don’t think you have to be a big brand to capitalise on this opportunity. I’ve always felt that technical SEO is about ensuring that your site is built to the right specification and structured data is now certainly part of this standard. In 2014 I’m expecting to recommend adding structured data to more and more client sites and it’s something that I’m confident will reward them in the long run.
Well there we have it. Do you agree or disagree? Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you!