As the landscape of search continually and rapidly changes it is vital to look to the future and establish, when possible, where the next changes are coming from. Looking at the next 12 months and the immediate future of search shows us certain ranking factors appear to be increasing and decreasing in influence. Below are the key factors that are vital to keep in mind when planning your SEO strategy in the next 12 months or so.
1- Social presence
The emergence of social signals such as Facebook Likes and Tweets are factors search engines are taking on board more and more. This trend is set to continue and it is now vital to have a social presence where possible.
2- Quality content
The recent site-wide Panda Update indicates that quality and dynamic content will remain important as ranking factors and that search engines will continue to look for ways to exclude low quality pages/domains from results.
3- Freshness of content
Search engines will continue to give weight to sites that are regularly updated with fresh unique content.
4- Being ‘human’
Google is getting closer to modelling human opinion in its algorithm and therefore it will be increasingly more important to act human and think human when it comes to SEO e.g. Consider the reader more when writing content and not just the search engines.
5- Website speed
Loading times are becoming more and more of a factor in rankings and Google is beginning to penalise websites that are too slow to load. This makes it vital that you ensure your sites are efficient and load within a reasonable time frame.
6- Mobile Search
With the massive increase in smart phones (there are already 90 million mobile users who have access to the web on their phones) and the improvements in online mobile services people are using the internet differently. Instant information is even more instant meaning people can make more convenience searches. These convenience searches may now affect and skew search results and analytic data. It is therefore imperative to keep this in mind with regards to SEO.
7- Mobile compatibility
Regarding the above point, mobile compatible websites are therefore increasingly more important to SEO and it will be important to make sure your sites are not devalued on a mobiles browser.
8- Anchor Text
Anchor text continues to be devalued by search engines in an attempt to stop its manipulation. Due to this, topic relevance and the authority of linking domains and linking pages to a website will continue to increase over the next 12 months.
9- Exact Keyword Match
Exact Keyword match domains will become less important due to algorithm changes implemented to improve search rankings result pages.
We can’t be sure what the future will bring but we can look to see what the most likely changes will be. Those who saw the potential for social media a few years ago are now reaping the rewards for entering the sphere earlier than others.