The world of SEO seems to have gone from toddler to preteen in just the last 2 years, and the industry doesn't show any signs of stopping. In early 2011, Google released the Panda/Farmer update, an update focused on ridding search results of weak content, leaving business owners without businesses, webmasters without websites and homeowners without homes.
Then in April of 2012, Google released the Penguin update, in which 3.1% of search results were impacted. Unlike Panda, Penguin was aimed mostly at linking factors such as exact match anchor text and having connections with "bad neighborhoods".
In retrospect, in just a 14-month period Google had brought much of the digital world to its knees. So what can we expect to happen in the next 12? Here are 5 SEO predictions for 2015.
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Google will continue to experiment with its SERP results
We've all seen the tools and knowledge graph results that are becoming more and more common. From timer, to credit card comparison, Google is doing what it can to further monetize results. Whether they're goal with a particular result is to keep you on their property, or begin a transactional search result, I believe they will continue on this path in an effort to increase their bottom line.
User engagement metrics will grow in importance
Google has made no secret of the fact that user metrics are important and that webmasters should always optimize for their visitors first, but as search technology continues to grow, the capabilities to interpret and integrate metrics like bounce rate and click through rate into SERP ranking will make expanding these measurements a no-brainer on Google's part.
Conversion Rate Optimization will get even bigger
CRO already holds a respectable place in the search world, but as the competition heats up for search traffic, it’s becoming more evident to businesses that converting their share of traffic is just as important as it is to fight for more. As an example, at Findmyshift, we’re seeing more and more competition for the search phrases “employee scheduling” and “staff rosters,” so converting the traffic that we do get will be a top priority to us.
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Savvier business owners will help keep SEO companies honest
The SEO world has long been considered the Wild West by many because of how prevalent low quality tactics are. While this won't change overnight, 2015 will usher in a much better opinion of the industry because of the increased amount of information clients are being exposed to. You can't hide from the news - the constant changes to search algorithms and penalty stories are everywhere. Because of this, decision makers are becoming much more knowledgeable about what kind of methods can be penalize a domain. This educated mindset will push the demand for more ethical providers that focus on long term goals and proving ROI. There are already a multitude of free ROI tools online that help prove a return from SEO, so clients will begin to expect this from providers as well.
Mobile ranking factors will hit the scene
This may not come directly from Google in the form of an announcement, but rather in the form of blog posts by authorities, comprehensive case study or survey, or multiple news articles. We've seen a hint of this recently, and with mobile browsing not slowing down in the slightest, I can only imagine that we'll see much more information as 2015 progresses.
Some of these are bold, I know, but 2014 really shocked the SEO world (mostly in good ways) so I can only assume that this year will be similar. What do you think?