The last Lab Weekly of 2014 is upon us. There is a steady build of festive spirit within the office happening and we are all well ready for a nice break. But, on the back of that we also know that next year will undoubtedly bring further changes to SEO, to content and to the whole strategy we use when providing digital marketing for our clients. It is inevitable because this industry moves fast and if you cannot keep up you are soon outdated and scratching your head as to where all the organic traffic went to.

In a very competitive online arena you need to be up to speed with all the digital marketing changes taking place, or employ someone who will stay abreast of them for you. There are a few things to keep an eye on for 2015 so let’s looks at the current changes and the ones set to occur in the New Year.

Google

Google dominate so much of what we do but there are signs that they will have increased competition in 2015. An article by Virginia Backaitis highlights the pressure Google is getting on all sides from specifically Amazon and facebook. In her article ‘Is Gmail Google’s way to the Future’ she explains:

“The internet sweetheart is suddenly being squeezed by competition on all sides. On one end, it seems that more and more people are going straight to Amazon when searching for products (ComScore says that Amazon’s desktop search queries were up 47 percent between September 2013 and September 2014), which is hurting Google’s core ad search business. And, on the other end, Facebook is not only beginning to woo mobile marketing dollars away, but it may also be in a better position to leverage video in its News Feed.”

Facebook has a strong foundation already in that they secure 21% of the time people spend on mobile. The rise of Instagram and the new ads on the video orientated platform has made news and advertisement instant to users. Companies can place their material in front of a receptive audience. It is like we go to Google to search for news whereas we go to Facebook to have news fed to us – they decide what we want to see and know. That is a powerful concept in itself.

Google’s stock hit a 52 week low on the 16th December. There is no doubt that they have to make their mobile and ad offering more compelling. So what are Google doing to respond to these pressures? They are doing what they usually do and steadily developing their offering and refining their services – whether this process has been hastened is for you to decide – we could not possibly comment.

Gmail and Google Drive

Google have very recently announced updates to their Nadroid and iOS apps and are also focusing their attentions on new features for Google Drive and Gmail. Online storage, interaction, and simultaneous editing/sharing is undoubtedly the future and it is still a heavily contested one at this moment in time. The storage options alone include DropBox, SkyDrive, iCloud, Google Drives and many more. The linkage between Gmail and Drive is where the integration could work for Google.

The mindshare market is where the buzz is going into 2015. Google’s Search app means that you can ask for Google Drive files from your mobile device. Google have also added a ‘send via attachement’ feature so there is an alternative to sending your files via a link and risk altering them and denying the recipient access.

Google insights

Is there a replacement for Page Rank?

‘A Google patent that was granted in September indicates that Google might use some kind of PageRank 2.0 to rank pages,’ (source) and that comes as no surprise to us. On and off-site data is always going to be important for Google’s ranking algorithm.

  • The on-site data the patent suggests is considered by Google includes:
  • The frequency of the searched keyword on the web page or website.
  • The location of the searched keyword on the page.
  • The placement of the web page in the structure of the web site. For example, the home page might be regarded as more important than a page that requires several clicks before it can be viewed.
  • How often a web page is linked from other pages of the same website. (source)

The off-site data that Google is likely to use when considering your site:

  • The number of links to a page or website from other websites.
  • The number of times a web page has been clicked in the search results for a particular keyword.
  • Other statistical data about the relevance of a site.
  • Topical relevance to other sites: if many sites that are relevant to the keyword link to the same site, the linked site becomes more relevant.
  • Authoritative relevance to other site: the number of links to the site can indicate a high authority of the site. Websites with a high level of authority could be trusted more.
  • Web pages that have links from websites with high authority get a higher authority than websites that are linked from sites with less authority.

The patent quite clearly suggests that websites with a higher number of links get a higher authority. That is relevant, good quality links though – do not mistake that sentence for permission to spam your site – that will only lead to pain.

 

Adwords

Finally, to finish a quick mention of AdWords – yes Google again, check out our next post for what the future has to offer outside of Google’s sphere.

Google has released an updated AdWords Editor Version 11 after a few bugs were reported with the original. The reaction to the new editor in general has been very positive but a few basic errors needed a rapid response – and Google supplied one (source). The fixes came a week after the initial launch.

AdWords Editor 11.1 is now available for download.

 

To summarise Google have been all over the news in recent weeks. Will the axing of Google News in Spain lead to a massive drop in traffic to their top news sites? Will Amazon and Facebook take serious chunks out of their profits next year? Have they misjudged mobile and are now scrambling to improve services other companies have already nailed? The demise of Google Authorship got people asking why? Have they changed their direction and almost admitted to themselves what most of the world already knew – Google+ wasn’t all it was cut out to be! In fact, the only reason businesses are still on Google+ is because they own it and it could well affect search. The initial rumblings believed that Google authorship was morphing into a paid addition but time has elapsed and most now believe it just didn’t work. Whatever 2015 holds the Internet giants have shown their fallible side this year so there will be plenty of companies going after market share next year with a little more aggression – the likes of which Google hasn’t seen in recent times – or indeed ever. How will they respond? Excellent question – let’s watch and see.