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2015 - emerging trends on search, what are you predicting?

     
2:58 am on Dec 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Here's some things/questions happening recently that I saw :

- Matt Cutt's may have left his previous Google role for good [ is there such a need for a role on outreach with the new algo's ]... what's the signal ?
- Duane Forrester made redundant at Bing [ ditto , following Google ]
- Panda quality algo seems resolute and relatively unforgiving
- Penguin was certainly resolute and hasn't forgiven anyone en-masse
- Mobile growing exponentially at the expense of desktop search
- More competitive platforms strengthening to be seen on e.g. Social / Facebook , Pinterest , Instagram
- Will search engines alone matter as much in the grander scheme of things
- Smarter SEO ?

What search engine trends are you seeing, what does it tell us, and how will your competitors embrace the changes in 2015 .... / thoughts ?
3:08 am on Dec 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

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From the guru predictions I've read, a KW density of their comments puts 'mobile' firmly at the top.
9:21 pm on Dec 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Links devalued even more as a search ranking signal
9:22 pm on Dec 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

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User intent - if you don't know what it is, might as well get out of the way.
11:23 pm on Dec 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Seoskunk offered a provocative thought in another recent thread:

I see a time shortly when google will not index your whole site until it has reached a threshold of quality signals.


I don't know how likely that is to happen, but it certainly would be a game-changer.
11:40 pm on Dec 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I don't know how likely that is to happen, but it certainly would be a game-changer.


I think we've pretty much established that the quality bar can instantly be met with a briefcase of benjamins.
1:20 am on Dec 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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2015 stands a very good chance of being the year when search becomes balkanised..

The continent and country where you live, will determine what search engines are allowed to show you, what they are willing to show you ( the latter has always been the case to a degree )..the same will apply to social media, to a greater degree than it does currently..

This already results in certain areas using completely different social media, search , and B2C and C2C mega ecommerce platforms..which have to be approached in very different ways..

The major western search engines are forcing people into ever more restrictive "bubbles", both in the advertising presnted to them via "personalistion" and the "personalised serps"..we may all know how to mitigate that..99.9999% of our visitors do not have any idea how to do so, nor do they even know that it is happening..

WebmasterWorld tends to be very focused upon the English speaking market ( USA, with some "rest of the world which speaks English as a first language" )..with some inconsistencies..such as a lot of Indian subcontinent visitors show up here, but they are usually talking about, or offering their services to "western markets", not about their own potentially huge markets..

China and Japan and other Asian countries are huge markets, with now very little western search or western social media or western mega ecommerce, they have their own platforms..which are looking to expand their offers into the west, as they have done with their hardware manufacturing service and other services..

One can say the same of Russia..rapidly developing it's own alternatives to western offerings in search, social and mega-ecommerce..Africa is in many areas jumping straight past desktop into mobile..
Latin America is ( IMO ) not to be viewed as one "area"..and Europe is way more diverse than many outside Europe ( particularly many in the USA ) realise..

Not a "trend"..just a reminder, your "competition" ( for eyeballs ) can be based anywhere, despite what the balkanised search shows you personally,( I know of Asian companies who are sending staff or family to "western countries" with investment funding, to open retail or wholesale outlets so as to "cut out" the established middle men ) as can the eyeballs that you are trying to attract..

One can make more money attracting rich Chinese to Paris and France for holidays than attracting rich Parisians to China and Peking for holidays..;)
1:50 am on Dec 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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More answers, fewer links to sites with answers.

More Information provided directly, fewer links to sites with information.

Ecommerce sites will only be found in the ads, no more free traffic to sites that sell stuff.
3:46 am on Dec 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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More Information provided directly, fewer links to sites with information.


We may see more answer boxes, but that doesn't necessarily translate into a smaller number of organic links. (Today's SERPs on Google and Bing have a lot more elements than they did back in the day, but most of them still have 10 or more organic links. I just did a hotel search on Google and got 10 organic results; on Bing, which was more ad-heavy, the number of organic results was 13.)

Ecommerce sites will only be found in the ads, no more free traffic to sites that sell stuff.


In the next 12 months? That sounds pretty extreme. The "boiling a frog slowly" scenario seems more likely: a gradual increase in the number of ads, sponsored price comparisons, etc. to provide answers to a query before the searcher scrolls down to the organic results. If testing shows that searchers are having their needs met, the burner's flame may be turned up a bit, and then the testing cycle will begin anew.
9:42 am on Dec 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Ecommerce sites will only be found in the ads, no more free traffic to sites that sell stuff.

Monetized search: Google achieves 100% above the fold [webmasterworld.com ]

Certainly looks like it's headed this way. Makes me wonder how really, really good content will surface in the organic search, with a focus on the user migration to mobile.

Another trend, I'm seeing major plays which do not even have a search/web presence yet/ maybe ever. Just Apps and PR about them.

[edited by: Whitey at 9:48 am (utc) on Dec 16, 2014]

10:15 am on Dec 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Ecommerce sites will only be found in the ads, no more free traffic to sites that sell stuff.


Thatīs not the whole Point. I guess that Google will continue to loose customers to the big players. Searching for items where a search engine shows only the same big players makes itself redundant. Poeple will slowly migrate to other sources.
10:48 am on Dec 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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...before the searcher scrolls down to the organic results.

Of course, all published real world numbers regarding click through rates above and below the fold make that statement nothing more than pretty fluff.

The "boiling a frog slowly" boat left the dock April 2012. During 2015 we will continue to see eCommerce related searches targeted aggressively. Extinct in 12 months, probably not, endangered species list, oh yeah.
8:17 pm on Dec 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Poeple will slowly migrate to other sources.

I think quicker rather than slowly. Actually very quickly.

Although Google is a big and powerful company that will sustain through it's diverse activities, there's no doubt in my mind that other media alternatives, through mobile devices will eat into the organic Google share, as users attention is compromised by alternatives.

For the first time I get a sense that social, connecting to real people, their recommendations and the convenience of the 24/7 handheld convenience of mobile is the cusp of a paradigm shift. I think 2015 will be the year things ramped up hugely to a higher level of innovation.

Interesting that Facebook has just dropped Bing as it's search engine. And they're looking to take off with Facebook for business. Social search maybe?
8:44 pm on Dec 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Mobile search will become even more voice entry oriented, and more "answer centric" like Google Now and Siri.
8:54 pm on Dec 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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only obvious thing that I can think of, is that we'll continue to get a smaller percentage of desktop traffic, as opposed to mobile. which means less ad money.

one good thing though... mobile phone screens seem to be getting bigger now, rather than smaller. so maybe users will be more likely to do stuff (and spend money) on our websites.
9:22 pm on Dec 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I think this year I'll subscribe to the local newspaper and get back to the simpler life.
9:32 pm on Dec 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Leosghost has pretty much said what I would especially since my experiences are, like his, more global and I actually get to see what people and companies do on my regular visits.

Mobile is huge in China and India which is precisely why all my sites will be responsive within the next month or so. I have people on the ground in both China and India who only use mobile with whatsapp to stay in constant communication with many of our clients.

Surprisingly search seems to becoming redundant, my industry seems to be returning to "it's who you know" that counts...YMWV!
1:05 am on Dec 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Great inputs !

What do users want with mobile? What are the driving factors and which of those have a place in search. For me handheld devices are especially good for speaking instructions into my mobile to find a place that I'll navigate to while walking in a City, coupled with pictures and explanations. But do I really need search ?

( Google sure controls some of the essential assets that my device/site/app interfaces withl - like maps ).
2:21 am on Dec 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Poeple will slowly migrate to other sources.

I agree with Whitey and think the migration process will be accelerated. Google has been so focused on showing "the best results" that the most useful part of search has been lost - unearthing unknown websites with really great content. It's as if Google serves results for noobs that never heard of Amazon, WebMD, Mayo Clinic, Wikipedia and so on. Many people I know use search to find something somewhere else then what is listed on the major websites. Strangely, the only unknown listings Google returns are from its own services like YouTube from anonymous people with weak videos. For example, a product review search had a listing for a YouTube video with the product spinning 360 degrees during the whole video and the narration was all about visiting his affiliate link.

To find something different in Google, I must dig many pages deep or refine my search query. Perhaps this is why Google is seeing an increase in search volume or it's just an increase in scraper activity? Frustrated, I don't use Google anymore for personal searches unless it is in the course of analyzing website data. I find better choices with Bing and feel Google is doing their best to take away choice from their users.

Mobile is definitely changing the landscape, and I think Facebook is best positioned to take the lead. I wish they would push out a hybrid search engine that combined social and static results with an algorithmic ranking method that demotes the same dull results Google is intent on displaying like forum posts from 2005 that are so outdated it's not even funny.

We will probably see fewer organic listings in Bing, Google and Yahoo. With search engines fighting to make more money with their traffic, and positioning themselves to consume more of everyone's marketing budget, it will create an opportunity for someone else to emerge (hoping it's Facebook) to take the world by storm and restore value to users and website owners. So far Facebook is doing a good job as my advertising returns dwarf that of Bing/Yahoo and even Google. So in 2015, my budget and time will be spent with where I find the most engaged users and get the best return - and that's not with Bing, Google or Yahoo.
2:24 am on Dec 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I predict Google's results and "standards" will get more Google $$$ biased, Google $$$ centric, Google beneficial, and we'll still have to put up with being called "conspiracy theorists" for questioning anything Google does, even though it's independently verifiable Google essentially stole AdWords and settled for something like $Billion when it got caught, Google used/stole copyrighted content for GoogleBooks, Google invaded privacy with it's wifi collecting and also via Buzz, Google accepted copyright theft with it's purchase of YouTube and lets it slide as much as it can now since it's "just too complicated to catch" even though Google has a system that can catch it, Google pays relatively no taxes because it holds it's cash off-shore as much as it can, etc. -- IMO we're going to mainly have to just put up with what Google's doing, the direction it's obvious to some it's going, and being told we're "conspiracy theorists" for pointing-out/calling things how they are [sharing reality], even though Google's lack of ethics and integrity are obvious "writing on the wall" to some of us, [...]

Bottom Line: Google is a business about making money, and it's *very* good at it. Please don't chide yourself into thinking Google will "do the right thing" rather than "push every limit, take every chance, and pay the fine if it goes too far," because any fine is far less than what Google would lose by "not going there" or "pushing the limit(s) as far as possible" in the first place -- Contrary to some people's opinion, not all of us who look back on what Google's done previously, the limits pushed [too far on more than one occasion], and now question Google's motives/integrity, are conspiracy theorists. Some of us are simply realists and can see what Google is really doing, where it seems to be headed, and/or the rules it will push to the limit or even step over to get there.

[edited by: phranque at 4:06 am (utc) on Jan 1, 2015]
[edit reason] TOS#24 [/edit]

4:02 am on Dec 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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We seem to have two threads here--one about search, and one about Google.

Not all search is Google Search, and since this is the Google SEO News and Discussion Forum, perhaps it would be more useful to focus on Google Search specifically. (Either that, or the thread could be moved to a more general forum to keep Google from dominating the conversat9ion.)

As for Google Search (which is the nominal topic of this forum), I predict:

- Incremental changes (e.g., nothing as dramatic as eliminating organic results for commercial queries), though some of those changes could be significant;

- More emphasis on links as citations, with genuine authority becoming even more important than it is now;

- Less "Webmaster outreach," in keeping with the dictum of "Build sites for users, not for search engines."
4:17 am on Dec 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Either that, or the thread could be moved to a more general forum to keep Google from dominating the conversat9ion.

Huh? Who hasn't addressed Google search and their perspective about where things with Google could/might be headed in this thread and why would anyone want to keep Google from dominating a thread in the Google SEO News and Discussion Forum? Seriously, are you kidding?!

[edited by: TheMadScientist at 4:19 am (utc) on Dec 17, 2014]

4:52 am on Dec 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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IMO we're going to mainly have to just put up with what Google's doing, the direction it's obvious to some it's going, and being told we're "conspiracy theorists" for pointing-out/calling things how they are

As you so eloquently pointed out, Google is a company. To maximize profits they will squeeze where they can, which is not a conspiracy but just part of any logical business plan. Those that toss the word conspiracy theory around when addressing other members comments, as if Google is some charitable organization, just look like fools, shills or members who just want to start a senseless argument. I prefer not to entertain these people and would encourage others to do the same.

There's really no conspiracy in Google's desire to make more money. Where are they going to get it? From you, me, acquisitions, investments in other businesses, tax shelters and anywhere else they can. If there is indeed a conspiracy, it may be found somewhere in the clout Google has with the USA government and directly with the President. Unlike other businesses, Google MAY know just how far they can push that envelope and are doing just that. But I'm not sure if that would even qualify as a conspiracy. It's a well known fact that Google's Chairman is close with President Obama (contributed to his campaigns, sits on a Presidential advisory board, etc.) while other past Googlers hold high level government positions now. Oh well, maybe instead of the conspiracy theorist name calling a proper response to those people would be to respond in facts.

Search engines will continue to maximize their profits in 2015 and will not become charitable organizations. That much I think we can all agree on. The small websites will probably be the ones that hurt the most, just as they have in 2014. Since Google holds 70-90% of the search marketshare, they will be the ones inflicting the most pain by likely reducing the amount of free traffic they are presently delivering.
10:31 am on Dec 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I'd like to quote a good article [searchengineland.com...]

It is all about being amazing. At the end of the day, make sure youíre building, making, creating and selling something great. Make people happy or help them solve their problems. Make their lives just a little bit easier.

The internet is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
You need to have a legitimate product or service that is as well-supported offline as it is online. Iím not saying you have to open a brick and mortar, but your company must have real people behind it to succeed. The days of selling vaporware are over.


That's it.
12:54 pm on Dec 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I am sure that Google will keep on with their current tactic, if they feel they are being left behind then buy their biggest competitor in that field!
1:57 pm on Dec 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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The days of selling vaporware are over.


Really? PPC is the biggest non tangible "vaporware" I've ever seen. Google is selling what amounts to "thin air" and with equally empty results, ripping us off to the tune of $2,000 per second every day.

I sell digital content but certainly not "vaporware". I've done this successfully for 15 years with virtually no complaints. I used to be BBB accredited and hired the services of "alertsite" and the like, but once Google blindly decided my digital products were a scam in their eyes, I was bounced out of the serps and had to stop buying BBB's and Alertsite services....along with everyday goods for basic survival, like food.

More of Google's "do as I say, not as I do".
3:09 pm on Dec 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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OK, here's another prediction for 2015:

Any Webmaster World thread about search will degenerate into rants about Google.

That one was easy. :-)
3:17 pm on Dec 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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PPC is the biggest non tangible "vaporware" I've ever seen.


That's unfortunate, but not universal.
4:08 pm on Dec 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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> degenerate into rants

Probably, and if someone made a site for it all, no one would read it. But perhaps someone could be there to play devil's advocate, EG? ;)

What I'd like to see (as someone who just works with marketers rather than doing)

- A dropping entirely of the idea of SEO just being about link building and traditional on-page SEO. An acceptance that it's part of an overall marketing strategy and user experience for any long term sustainability of a brand/site. Hopefully the industry experts feel a need to better define the role for those that don't know about it.

- Less people able to run churn and burn effectively, ranking a site short term

- Ongoing problems/issues with scraping and intellectual property

- SEO-type data intelligence tools to become more powerful and prominent. More atomisation of datapoints and higher availability to marketers, prominent link tools moving more into the 'knowledge' area.

Personally, the knowledge graph-type developments are what really interest me, and the social graph. Those fundamental building blocks of information can be so abstract they can be meaningless, while at the same time their relatedness is massively powerful. Google is really secondary to it.
5:57 pm on Dec 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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A growing recognition that Organic Serps = Backfill.
This 170 message thread spans 6 pages: 170