2013 has been a particularly crazy year for SEO with regular algorithmic updates from Google – predominantly under the Penguin and Panda umbrella. These had a significant impact, as many websites were affected with many still adapting their search marketing to recover rankings. The general trend was to promote the importance of more direct content and to make sure the content was trusted and properly sourced, along with a tougher stance on low-quality inbound link profiles. The Google Hummingbird update was also rolled out into place with a strong focus on future proofing the search algorithm to allow Google to more accurately interpret the needs of searches.
Hummingbird has changed the way you can search on Google. It has become more conversational, leading users more directly to the page that they wanted to see, rather than a generic term. For example; David Cameron’s birth date, before it will have taken you to Wikipedia and in the information on the left would appear David Cameron’s birth date, whereas now it will take you directly to his birth date. This will sieve out information that you are not looking for. Google has adapted to the increase in use of mobile devices and now can help you search for a more local result, with this they are also looking into what you and your friends share online, and what you are interested in. Overall this will give you a more personalised answer.
Google are therefore looking to more accurately predict what you may be wanting to search for, for example, romance in ITV’s recent ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’, this would bring up Joey Essex and Amy Willerton as this has been speculated the most when searching for ‘I’m a celebrity’. The upshot is that Google is incorporating more contemporaneous references into its search and are closer than ever to real-time calculation.
So what can we expect to happen next year?
The way that mobile phone technology is progressing, we can foresee Google adjusting more to this and doing more things based on mobile devices. Not only has there been a big push for Google+ this year, but eventually Google want this to be bigger than social media sites such as Facebook & Twitter. Not only have they proved that having a Google+ page linking to your website is an algorithmic factor, it is also very useful as providing the hub for joined up searching through Google Maps, etc. This is great if you are doing a local search – for example, if you search for ‘Italian Restaurant’, Google will match up Italian restaurants near your IP address or closest to you if you are using a mobile device. This real time synchronicity with your location, your social media activity and your searches is definitely high on the agenda.