Speculation. It comes with the territory known as SEO.
Given the well-guarded black box that is Google, professional practitioners of search engine marketing have no choice but to hone their speculation skills.
Of course, to succeed in SEO is to perpetually study, hypothesize, test, and refine strategies and tactics. Suffice it to say, if you’re going to achieve your search goals, you need to know what you’re doing (even if you don’t know what Google’s doing).
There is, however, one thing everyone in SEO knows: Things will work differently tomorrow. That may be the one and only shred of wisdom search pros will agree on.
And now it’s prediction time. I present you with a host of professional-grade prognostications from an amazing array of experts who have earned the right to speculate on the SEO trends coming to a device near you next year.
Real Estate on the Small Screen
“In 2015, I’d pay very close attention to Google’s expansion of Knowledge Graph. Human-curated data is showing its limits, so Google is trying hard to produce direct answers from the index (read that: ‘our sites’). They started pushing out index-driven answer boxes in 2014 and I’d expect those to expand significantly next year. I’d also expect those answers to become more reliable as Google’s capabilities improve. These direct answers will impact more and more verticals, and could dramatically change CTR, especially for mobile SERPs (where the answers take up a lot of screen real estate).”
Dr. Peter Meyers, Moz
“In 2015, I see a big shift in mobile SEO. Mobile devices have been growing in popularity, but companies haven’t been optimizing for mobile search. Having your website SEO friendly isn’t enough… You need to also think about the mobile web when optimizing for search. Some of the companies doing this are already receiving more than 50% of their organic traffic from mobile devices.”
Neil Patel, entrepreneur
I have some mo’ mobile for you…
Couch Potato Domination
“It’s no secret that mobile and tablet search is growing tremendously, even outpacing desktop search in many categories. The day of thinking about a website’s mobile experience last (if at all) is over. The couch will be the preferred point of conversion for many brands with mobile sites tailored to the medium. Brands that want to remain relevant in 2015 must have a mobile-first mindset.”
Jayson Akers, Digital Current
Lights Out Long-Tail
“Watch out for the death of the long tail keyword. Long tail keywords started to go out of style after Google’s Panda update. That update made long tail-focused content farms like Ehow.com obsolete and invisible in Google. Semantic search and Hummingbird made long tail keywords even more irrelevant.”
“Back in the day, it made sense to have two separate pages for the keywords ‘best baking tips’ and ‘top baking advice.’ Thanks to semantic search, Google will show the same results for those two keywords.”
Brian Dean, Backlinko
Let’s Go SERPin’ Now
“SERPs changed a lot in 2014 and they’ll change even more in 2015. Here are some changes you might see:
- More prominent local listings, including a redesigned carousel
- More ads, including a possible experiment of images within AdWords ads
- App results for people searching on smart phones
“I don’t expect we’ll see more rich snippets in organic listings, since these draw attention (and revenue) away from PPC ads. We may see even fewer rich snippets, as we did this year with the end of Google Authorship.”
Andy Crestodina, Orbit Media Studios
Death by Integration
“Search is alive. SEO is dying (for real this time). Long live customer-focused, integrated marketing.”
Lee Odden, TopRankMarketing.com
Interesting, eh? Especially when you consider Lee wrote the book, “Optimize.” Here’s another dire warning from one of SEO’s finest minds.
Prime Real Estate
“Today, 85% of search results on Google is comprised of Knowledge Graph, maps, local, wiki, news, social media, carousel, images, videos, Amazon, Yelp, and other content aggregators and rich media. So, one SEO trend that will be the winner in 2015 is your ability to ‘show up’ on the platforms and technologies that take up the hottest real estate in Google and look outside your website for ranking opportunities. That’s where I am putting my money and efforts.”
Matthew Capala, SearchDecoder
And now, I predict you’ll start to pick-up on a pattern…
All The Right Intentions
“Continuing with the advances Google made in 2014 I foresee them expanding their capability to understand the intent behind each search, and awarding those websites, and their pages, that provide the right type of information to the user (determined by time on site). If the intent of the search is to get a quick answer to a straight forward question, Google will certainly expand their ability to answer those questions directly via their Knowledge Graph.”
Jarrod Hunt, Digital Current
One More Answer About Answers
“Watch for big expansions in the Knowledge Graph/Answer Box in Google’s search results. This is a major strategic initiative for Google and getting a lot of resources. The changes will come in many forms including: direct answers to simple fact-based questions (such as how many quarts in a gallon); answers derived from third party web sites, such as their step-by-step instructions.”
Eric Enge, Stone Temple Consulting
Eric Enge offered this search result, as example of a rich snippet extracted from Knowledge Graph data.
So What Do You Think?
There you go — nine digital marketing experts put on their super search specks and gaze into the future for you.
Care to know what I see? I see consumers from every corner of the business world continuing rely on search to find what they seek and us marketers continuously searching for better and better insights.