Year in Search 2010, 2011 Predictions

Posted by Sam Battin, Senior Search Strategist, SEO

This blog post wraps up 2010 and looks forward to 2011 in the world of search engine optimization.  We’ll fondly look back at the predictions we made this year and make a couple of predictions for next year.

Stuff We Wrote about in 2010

Site Speed – In our Google Site Speed blog entry, we talked about how Google tried to get the Web moving faster with the initiative. As we suspected, Google actually did incorporate site speed into its algorithm to give a bonus to faster sites.

Internet Retailing – I went to the Internet Retailer conference here in Chicago this summer and I got a glimpse of the future of search.  In the article, I mentioned those new “smart” UPC symbols and I’m somewhat gratified to see them popping up more often on billboards and other ads over the course of the year.  I’ve even seen smart UPC symbols used as Facebook profile pictures.

Google Elements – Google added several widgets that webmasters can include on their sites, and we wrote about them.  Sadly we didn’t predict the end of Google Wave but in retrospect we should have.   Ways for employees to share useful information can really help a business, but Google Wave failed to incorporate the tool’s output into email. 

Stuff We’ll Probably Write about in 2011

Cloud Computing – The idea sounds cool; basically it means tasks that would have been performed by software on a single computer can now be performed much more quickly through software networks installed on hundreds or thousands of other computers.  For example, cloud computing is how the contents of the Wikileaks Web site managed to survive on Amazon for a short time (before Amazon kicked it out, of course).  The opportunities for cloud computing are great, but so are the risks, and we’re sure there will be something SEO-related to write about in 2011.

Closer Integration of Social Search & Natural Search – Next year we’ll get to see how well search works when engines incorporate the number of people who have clicked a “Like” button into their search.  For example, other things being equal, a site with lots of “Likes” may get better ranks than ones with no “Likes.” Google and Bing already said they’re starting to do this.  Implementing social activities into search will mean search engines must combat spammers head-on, because many spammers are more than willing to create 1,000 different fake sock puppet Facebook profiles and click a “Like” button a thousand times if it means their generic prescription site moves up one space in search results.  Should be interesting.

Mobile SearchGoogle reported that in Q3 of this year there was a 130% growth in the number of searches performed on mobile phones.  Mobile phone technology is starting to catch up to PCs, or at least it’s catching up to where PCs were back in 1998 or so, and I’ve no doubt 2011 will find a new wrinkle in searches made from mobile phones.

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