Thanks to the Internet, our world is drowning in information. Search engines were created to make it easier for users to drill down precisely what they’re looking for. It is possible to start a search and get results in one big chunk or smaller pieces. Previously, search results are directed to websites, but today search engines also connects to social networks.
These are a few trends SEO specialists should watch for in 2013 and onward:
Personalized Search Results
It is common for Internet users to get objective results when using search engines. Now, it’s more common for search engines to serve up subjective results as well. After users log into their system, search engines gather personalized search records and adjust SERP based on their unique browsing history. Personalized search results may significantly change SERP. For example, image search with personalization enabled could be affected by social network connections, such as Google+.
Naturally, major search engines are doing everything they can to encourage people use personalized search. They have an understandable selfish interest to make people logged into their system as long as possible. This would provide them unique user data that can be used to generate relevant ads.
SEO specialists can take advantage of personalized searches. Websites can be more visible through direct connections. Websites associated with certain circles can achieve top positions in personalized searches. Consequently, SEO specialists can now increase the amount of incoming traffic by adding their websites to relevant circles. Website visibility can also be improved through indirect connection. If recently published content is endorsed by people in the social network, it would appear on others’ walls. This may trigger a ripple effect that extends a significant distance while significantly adding more traffic. Another way a website gets more visibility is if search engines learn where logged in users typically go. As time goes on, search engines get smarter and understand unique preferences of each user. They will rank search results by prioritizing commonly visited websites. One quick tip for SEO specialists is to make their websites more appealing for personalized searches.
Today, major search engines no longer see backlinks as the only indicator for trustworthiness and content quality. They also take into account Facebook likes, tweets and other positive endorsements from social networking websites. This should be reasonable as a blogpost with one thousand retweets has better value than one with few dozens. Consequently, social networking contributions are more important than ever.
Thus far, it is still unclear the significance of social networking endorsements compared to traditional indicators such as incoming backlinks. It is also not known whether a Facebook “like” is as valuable as a retweet. There are still some problems associated with this method. It is difficult to evaluate the authority of an individual who started the sharing. Also, there’s always a possibility that a group of people game the system by inflating the amount of positive endorsements. Nevertheless, people still consider social networking recommendation acceptable provided they have confidence in the validity of data. In this matter, Google has an upper hand as it can integrate search result with social shares from Google+.
Overall, social networking endorsements will have bigger impacts on SERPs. Expect major search engines to ratchet up the involvements of links from social networks. One quick note for SEO specialists: They should put social networking buttons prominently to make it easier for users to share content on their social media circles. SEO campaigns should include intensified engagement in social media and perform content publication where it can be shared widely.
Today, there are significantly more methods to slice and dice provided search results. This could give SEO specialists new opportunity to improve website visibility based on the characteristics of their content.
It should be noted that segmented can be combined with personalized options to provide highly relevant results. Again, this allows users to zero in on filtered results based on browsing history and personal preferences. We will see search engines continue to group content to make it easier for users to drill down to SERPs that are highly relevant to their requirements. By using segmented options, images and videos can look much more sophisticated by satiating our appetite for audio visual content.
SEO specialists should stay current on how major search engines segment content. They also need to shape content to remain stand out after being segmented.
More Emphasis on Quality
For years, honest SEO specialists have complained that black hat methods pollute search engine ranking while pushing quality content lower. Fortunately, algorithms used by search engines continue to evolve and they get better at combating these evil practices. To fight content spam, search engines put more emphasis on quality when calculating SERPs. Quality of content is always an important focus, but search engines are taking this approach to a new level.
The infamous Google Panda update in 2011 was intended to strongly deter content manipulators. The primary goal was to effectively penalize useless content and to reward trustworthy, meaningful and relevant content. Google didn’t stop with changing the algorithms; it also seeks to communicate more openly about these changes to the general public. Many SEO specialists failed to respond appropriately to Google’s intention and as the result, a large amount of quality content gets lost in the process. Google simply wants websites to be optimized properly and serve up only high-caliber content. Search engines continue to push hard in this direction by evaluating content trustworthiness and general relevance. They will continue to get better at interpreting quality and associated social endorsement. SEO specialists should stay up to date with how search engines treat the quality of video, images and text.
Given these new trends, SEO specialists need to modify their strategy to increase the visibility of the website to obtain all the possible benefits. Some of the new methods used could be technical in nature, but others require creative thoughts. Overall, with search engines getting better at determining content quality, it is harder to inflate the SERP of inferior content through typical technical manipulations. Instead, specialists must see content quality itself as the linchpin of search engine optimization campaign.