When it comes to SEO there are a lot more theories than there are facts, and the best you can do when it comes to making predictions is to look to past behaviour – past Google behaviour that is. Here then, are the top five SEO trends of 2014 and what we’ve learned from them:
Google+ was once predicted to become the bridge between social media marketing and traditional SEO. This prediction seemed sensible, considering that this is Google’s very own social media platform. But then something unexpected happened: Google Authors found that their content had limited visibility on external pages, meaning that even Google’s very own social media platform is not immune to this search engines’ algorithms. So what can we expect from Google+ in the future? Nothing much according to most search engine marketers. It’s just another social media platform and a much weaker one than Twitter or Facebook at that.
2. Panda 4.0 and 4.1
Granted, the original iteration was launched in 2011, but so powerful was the impact, and Google so happy with the result, that Panda kept on making tsunami- sized waves in 2014. Panda 4.0 was launched in May and sites with low-quality content instantly felt its wrath and were pushed way down the search results list. Then September came around, Panda 4.1 was released and impacted three percent of search queries over several days. The victims this time? Sites with copied content. The prediction for 2015? More of the same – a lot more, so invest in high-quality content to stay as far away as possible from the wrath of this deadly metaphorical Panda.
3. Penguin 3.0
The new Pidgeon algorithm was launched in October 2014. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t as big a change as Penguin 2.0, but what we’ve learned is that Google puts a strong emphasis on “natural” external links. So stay away from all those back links, and if your site has a couple then a clean-up should be at the very top of your list of priorities.
4. Pigeon Update
The Pigeon Update worked miracles for localised searches in 2014. Local directory and review sites were made authorities and businesses with good reviews found themselves moving up rankings lists in a big way. In short, local search was simplified. What should you do in 2015? Put an emphasis on building up a strong reputation in your community and encourage your patrons to review you on available platforms.
5. Security, Security, Security
Due to all the bad news surrounding these issues, Google made security and privacy a top priority in 2014. Sites with SSL encryption (HTTPS designation) were rewarded with a ranking boost and will continue to be rewarded all through 2015. Need we say more?