In 2008 it is believed that Google made over 400 changes to its algorithm, keeping all of the search marketers out there on their toes. But just when you think you may have cracked the big time with your search results, the search landscape is changing.
So what may Google and other search engines have in store for us in 2009?
- Semantic Search –It seems the next big trend upon us in search is semantic search. Recently Google’s search results have shown preliminary signs of deploying semantic search, and both MSN and Ask have made their intentions in this area known.
- Blended Search – Whilst blended search has been in use for sometime it is becoming more and more mainstream. At the SES conference in Chicago in December it was identified that nearly a third of all search results contained some kind of blended result. This had nearly doubled since March 2008. With web 2.0, interactive content is exploding and it will be those who can optimise video, maps and images for search who will benefit in 2009.
- Local Search – The importance of local search results and reviews is more important than even. This is partly being driven by the rise in smart phones to search for on the fly information such as restaurants and entertainment. Optimising for local search should therefore have a greater focus by marketers.
Trends such as localisation as well as personalisation are not only changing the optimisation process, but are changing the way in which we measure SEO. Localisation and personalisation make rankings less important and results in an even stronger focus onto measuring traffic and conversions.
- User Behaviour Metrics – Site relevancy & quality will play an even greater role in search rankings. Click-through rates and bounce rates will be taken into consideration and overtime poor performing sites will be affected. A natural progression to utilise these metrics seems obvious given Google already utilises these metrics in their quality score for paid search.
- Popularity – Link popularity will begin to take a backseat as Google will focus more on the intelligence gained through personalisation, search wiki’s, chrome and social media to determine real popularity.