What does 2011 bring for search?
1) Integration between ppc, seo and social media
This has been discussed last year but 2011 is the year where people are going to sit up and take note of the positive effects you can get from combining all three as a digital strategy. Once a client has tracking on their website, it is possible to see the visits from paid and natural and social sites. Cost savings can be made on paid search if the site is ranking well for some of those key terms. Regarding social media, blogger outreach content can be optimised by the seo team, if the blogger is going to write about a particular product, they might as well include a couple of links back to that site
2) Local search
With the introduction of Google Places in September 2009 and then the merger of the local business centre in April last year, local search is going to play an even more important role in 2011. If you do not already use places for your business, then you should start now.
People have been jumping on the mobile apps and mobile site bandwagon. Mobile will be increasingly important in 2011. However, webmasters and marketeers will have a better understanding of a mobile app vs a mobile site and how to make these “seo” friendly. To me, it is making your site readable on a mobile device and when someone is looking for your store, they should find it on their handset, which ties back into the second point above, local search
Here are a few seo predictions from the industry experts like Rand Fishkin
#1: Someone Proves (or a Search Engine Confirms) that Clicks/Visits Influence Rankings
I’m taking a chance on this one, but I’ve been hearing from more and more SEOs that there’s some correlation between earning clicks and moving up in the rankings. In 2011, we’ll get confirmation, either through testing or an admission from an engine that click-through-rate from the SERPs, visit count outside of search (or diversity of sources), or other usage-based data is in the ranking algorithm (or a method they use to help ID spam).
#2: Google Local/Maps Adds Filters and Sorting
The big reason Yelp is so much better than Google Maps/Local for finding a good local “place” isn’t just the reviews (which Google aggregates from Yelp anyway). It’s the filters that let me sort by features/pricing/proximity/open status/etc. Google’s been playing the silly game of forcing users to choose search queries to enable rough, imperfect filtering, but 2011 is going to see the search engine shift to a model that allows at least some important filters/feature-selection.
#3: Social Search Will Rise
There’s power in social media search, and Google/Bing’s efforts to date have been lackluster at best. I suspect in 2011, we’ll see the nascent beginning of search that leverages Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn connections to find results from your friends. It’s possible this will start niche-based only (search articles your friends have shared, ala Trunk.ly), but it could also be broader – possibly something from Facebook or Twitter themselves.
I am looking forward to SES London next month, when some of these predictions will be reinforced by other key speakers and industry experts. No one knows for sure what will happen in 2011, but based on the results from last year, we know there will be more developments in search and the fight between Google and Bing will continue.