SEO predictions for 2011

February 18, 2011

What a year 2010 was for SEO and the internet. In 2010 we saw the introduction of Google Instant. We saw the release of the iPad and saw it sell 15 million units in its first calendar year, putting mobile Internet in the hands of an increasingly large user base (and the obvious implications for a well ranked website). We saw Facebook not only reach 500 million users (not bad a for a website banned in China) but become bigger than Google (at least in terms of traffic). Have you implemented or considered a strategy to better use Facebook? We also saw more and more content from social media sources such as Youtube, Twitter and Flickr begin to play a greater role in website visibility and overall online marketing strategy.

So what lies ahead in 2011?

Clicks/Visits begin to influence search engine rankings

We have already hadconfirmation from Bing that they are using click through rate to aid their rankings, but we have also seen this month that Bing copies Google search results (link) so they can hardly be considered the authority on such matters.

What better measure than the relevance of a website presented in a search result than its click through rate? This would begin to weed out sites that are not so relevant to the terms they rank so highly for.

The result will be that these sites which are often ignored by a searcher (yet still rank highly) would start to move down the rankings and the more relevant sites further down which receive greater clicks would rise to the top.

The rise and rise of social media will continue

There are currently more than 500 million activeFacebook users with an average of 130 friends spending 700 billion minutes per month 200 million+ Twitter users tweeting more than 70 million times per day. Now imagine that Google works out a way to rank content to present to you based on what your Facebook friends or Twitter followers have already consumed?

It may begin slowly, with, for example, the ability to limit search results to articles your friends have liked/tweeted, but we believe it will only grow from here.

Google Places and Reviews to become increasingly important

Creating and optimising a Google Places account will be even more important in 2011. It is our prediction that Google Places listings will continue to find their way into and up search engine rankings and the reviews that have been collated from sites such as True Local will either tell a good or bad story about customer experiences.

Companies should definitely start to encourage reviews from their clients, not just as on-site testimonials, but also as Google Reviews.

Set and forget websites are no more

The Internet has now become the first place many people go to for information on products and services and this will only continue to occur at an increasingly rapid rate in 2011. Couple this with the power of a referral provided to a potential client through their friends on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and you have a very strong proposition that many businesses continue to overlook.

A website needs just as much, if not more, attention as your offline activities receive. It needs fresh, relevant and informative content in order to add value to your website visitors and keep the site up to date.

So there you have it, a few predictions from Itomic for the ever evolving field that is search engine optimisation. How accurate will they prove? We look forward to finding out.

Ross Ross Gerring