Each time a year ends, we encounter countless bloggers and writers who share their thoughts about the incoming year. Some predictions are theoretically supported and some are just plain wild guesses. Predicting what’s in store for the next year is almost a tradition for writers, even those not involved in SEO and Internet marketing. Sports writers, business analysts, music critics, and amateur writers – they all follow this unsung tradition. Many think that this tradition is worth following because nailing a wild guess or a well-researched fact means only one thing: respect from your readers.
It’s only the third month of the year but some predictions from last year have become realities. People didn’t ever expect that the realization would be this quick, but, unbelievably, many predictions are coming true right now.
The Power of Content Length
This was a common prediction that was heavily criticized. I read on some blogs last year that Google would be considering a site’s content length as a determining factor for site ranking. Experts and SEO veterans commented that this was an amateur’s prediction, but they all ended up wrong. As a result of this latest algorithm update, many guest blogging sites have increased their minimum article length to 450 words, and some are requiring even lengthier articles. Perhaps this recent update caused content-related terrors to some SEO geeks. They’ll just have to remember that quality is still better than quantity.
Mobile Search Growth
Both local and global search benefited from the rise of high-tech phones which provide consumers mobile web browsing. The growing rate of free Wi-Fi zones over the country also made browsing even more accessible to mobile phone users. Mobile browsing changed the way people use the Internet. Browsing the Web has become a daily part of people’s lives – not only Americans and Europeans but also people from highly developed Middle Eastern and Asian countries like Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Qatar and Dubai.
Social Media Expansion
2010 was the year of Facebook and Twitter. Countless companies vied for the most numbers of “likes” and “followers”, not only for branding and popularity purposes but for online presence strength as well. These two social media giants have become major advertising tools. No SEO campaign would be complete without social media and no advertising method would be fruitful without Facebook and Twitter accounts. Social media expansion is an advertising basic for many businesses.
Although confirmed as a hoax, the rumor of Facebook closure struck many businesses. It isn’t easy to find a social networking site as powerful and effective as Facebook. The shocked Tweets from many businesses owners that day prove that advertising and SEO without social media is impossible. A business’ online presence is major determining factor of success.
It took a year for all SEO practitioners to understand the value of site speed in SEO. Google first announced that site speed would be part of their algorithm in 2009, but it wasn’t until late 2010 that a majority of website owners seriously incorporated it in their SEO strategies. It’s not a surprise that many site owners are now aware of site speed’s importance. There are reports that many businesses suffered a major decline in rankings because they took site speed for granted.
Site speed can be a determining factor for website traffic. With the millions of websites available today, a slow-loading website can force a viewer to transfer to a faster site that can provide them the information they need.
Other Search Engines
Google is still the leading and most reliable search engine today and the main reason we obsess about search algorithms and rankings. Some business owners pay large sums of money just to get their sites to the top of Google’s search results. Google has set the yardstick in Web search and brought balance and fairness to the competition for rankings, so that anyone can now get first page search result placement. But, there are still other search engines we can focus on. Not all Web users rely on Google to find what they need. There is still a significant percentage of users who prefer other search engines that you too should consider when doing your SEO. Yahoo! was once the leader of the search game, and it’s realistic to think that there are remaining Yahoo! loyalists out there who put less importance on Google results. Then there is Bing, the Microsoft search engine that draws yóung Web users because of its homepage and features.
Bing and Yahoo! are continually improving their search algorithms because they know they have a large following and an increasing number of users. It’s fairly certain that these two search giants are making plans to erode Google’s current standing as the Web’s dominant search engine.
The Reincarnation of Blogs
Blogs didn’t ever really go out of style. Business owners use blogs to reach a wider sector of their target market and audience. Many have invested time in establishing domain authority and positive online reputation management, temporarily putting link building aside. Some articles previously stated that “link building is dead”, making SEO practitioners abandon the method and focus on other SEO strategies. However, many experts have reinstated and proved link building’s ability to provide traffic and rankings. Link building is becoming popular again, and we all know that the best way to practice effective link building is through blogging.
In addition, local search’s popularity has made blogging more appealing to a local audience. There are blogs today that specifically cater to a locality. Blogs, treated as micro websites, have proved their worth to local businesses, making blogging the most effective way of building links and networks.
Local Search Dominance
Global search has become popular over the past few years, but many people choose to concentrate on local search to get more specific results. As local search continues to escalate its way to dominance, the strength of the American local market today can be attributed to the growing number of local search users and the improvement of local SEO methods. The strength of site authority, anchor texts, and traditional link building is evident this year. Behind this strength are the ever-growing Local Listing (e.g. Google Maps Optimization) and SEO Resellers that focus solely on providing and introducing SEO to the local business scene.