Predictions for Google in 2014
December 19, 2013
Suffice to say, this has been a wild year for SEO. Google unveiled no less than 13 official algorithm updates. I think we can all assume that Google will take it easy in 2014 with minimal changes to give everyone time to catch their breath, right? Hello?
In all seriousness, it’s safe to assume that there will be more big changes from Google in 2014. I’m reminded of a lecture series I attended years ago in Brooklyn where a Columbia University Computer Science grad gave a presentation on how Google’s search algorithm is starting to border on artificial intelligence in how it anticipates and predicts how users search.
Now mind you, this was nearly 10 years ago and Google’s algorithm was not nearly as sophisticated as it is now. While I don’t believe Google is anywhere near becoming sentient, one thing has stuck with me from that lecture years ago and that is Google’s dedication toward becoming the perfect search engine and providing the ultimate user experience. Taking that into consideration, here are my Google predictions for 2014:
King Content will continue to reign supreme. I predict that Google’s algorithm updates will continue to target poor-quality content that doesn’t provide a quality user experience. Strategic content created solely to influence rankings will continue to be devalued.
This ties in with content. One of the key ways that Google will judge the relevancy of content will be on whether that content is linked to an author’s Google+ profile. However, it will not just be enough to link your profile; Google will factor in the level of activity and interaction on your G+ account. The more people you have in your G+ circles and the more interaction you have, the more value Google will give to your content.
Structured Data Mark-up
Authorship is considered a type of structured data mark-up but there are other types out there that help Google and in turn, Google users, understand your website better. So far, structured data mark-ups can be used to create rich snippets that display events, reviews, products and more in your Google search listing. I predict that Google will expand and refine structured data mark-ups and sites that do not utilize them will look antiquated on SERPs.
While my predictions may seem like safe bets for 2014, these are three areas that are often under-explored in search engine marketing campaigns because the perceived impact on SEO is less noticeable than say, on-site optimization or link building. “Quality Content” is a much more nebulous concept to define and the results aren’t necessarily as quantifiable or measurable. Tools like Authorship and Structured Data Mark-up are Google’s way of nudging webmasters to create more quality content. This enables Google to create a more sophisticated product, which at the time of this writing is (thankfully) not sentient.