The last two years have seen a considerable shake-up in the world of SEO, what with Google’s Panda and Penguin updates. There is no evidence to suggests that those overhauls will not continue into this year with the aim of seeking to make the internet more responsive to the requirements of browsers. So, in an attempt to guess what lies in store this year, here are a few of our key predictions:
1. Improved Ranking Signals
Google has long campaigned against so-called Black Hat ranking techniques and this campaign will continue with renewed vigour Tactics that worked just a few years ago, such as link farming, keyword stuffing and other SEO “tricks” that do not give any real indication of the true popularity of a particular site are at an end. Witness the decimation of the blog networks last year. There will still be those who endeavour to game the system, but slowly and surely their optimisation techniques are being further discredited and sites that are ranking with any of these techniques are unlikely to continue to rank well in the future.
Expect social media to increase in importance as a ranking factor, reflecting Goggle’s aim to rank sites according to relevance and the value they offer to users.
2. Quality Content Is King
Please note the difference here. Previously it was said that “content was king”. Now its all about the quality of that content. It is no longer sufficient to stuff your site with loads of general off-topic content supplied by guest posters anxious to secure a link. Google and the other search engines have been increasingly focused on rewarding those sites whose content is both unique, relevant and preferably frequently updated and this is a trend which seems certain to continue.
3. Mobile Browsing
The number of people accessing the web via laptops and smartphones continues to grow apace and is set to overtake those searching by conventional means. This brings its own challenges to website owners, namely to ensure that their sites are adapted to ensure they are able to take advantage of this growing trend. Responsive web design should be employed to ensure sites are more mobile friendly
In this regard it is important to ensure that your site and its content is adapted so as to be better able to deliver its content – from text , to video and audio – across the range of mobile platforms.
4. Social Media
As referred to in paragraph 1 above Social Media already plays an important part in ranking content and the signs are that trend is set to continue this year.
Maximising your site’s social media presence should now beconsidered essential to your sites ranking
Social media sites are continuing to gather ever more data on what their members are interested in, and as this data is reviewed by the search engines, so it is likely to play an increasing role in determining a sites ranking. After all, it makes sense that if the search engines are trying to deliver data and results which are most relevant to their users queries, social signals are likely to form an important indicator of such criteria in the future.