The general themes are Social, device optimisation and content:

  • A continuing rise in social and personalised search
  • Social Media will become more data driven and measurable
  • Visual and search optimisation for devices
  • Multi-channel analytics
  • Specialist industry comparison tools (similar to credit cards) hosted by search engines
  • An increase in DuckDuckGo users
  • Facebook putting search at the forefront
  • Ranking as a solitary indicator may become obsolete
  • More consumer trust and purchases on Social platforms
  • AuthorRank – Content from authoritative people
  • More creativity and wider use of content.
  • Google+ communities will increase and will have an impact on search

We feel confident that all of these predictions will be at the forefront of discussions on digital, and we have already started to see some of them taking shape.

To be a little different, I decided to take a deeper look into some of the more “out there” predictions, so we can look back at the end of the year and see which of them came true.

Out of stock products

What if Google were to release an algorithm update that looks at the stock levels on ecommerce websites? For example, the algorithm may demote certain product pages when the stock levels are less than 5. Search engines proudly proclaim that they are focused on the user experience, and what could be more frustrating than finding a product you want, only to find that the item is out of stock?

International features for webmasters

I predict that in 2013, search engines will develop more features that allow webmasters to indicate when pages are targeted towards specific countries and languages. The Hreflang tag is still encountering a few issues, so I also predict that an upgraded version or a new measurement tool will be reloaded in Webmaster Tools.

Google SERP display change

The look and feel of search engine results pages has been quite consistent for a number of years, with only minor changes being made. I predict that 2013 is the year that search engines will do something a little more drastic. We have already seen credit card comparison tools appearing in the new “position zero”, and it is possible that this space will be used for some form of dynamic searching. What if Google were to create something similar to a word cloud, something that displays terms related to your search so that the algorithm has a better understanding of what results you want? This is definitely an “out there” prediction, but a visual change is something that would get the industry talking.

Microdata / Structured markup / Rich snippets / Metaweb

Interactive snippets, namely recipes, events and reviews in search engine snippets, is something that I’ve been a fan of for a while. I predict that in the coming year, we will see structured data appearing in more search results, and it is my hope that we will see more content types supported by Google. Schema.org has markup for a wide variety such as “pet shops”, “sports teams” and “airports” to name just a few, and I predict that we will see the incorporation of more.

Google has recently recruited Ray Kurzweil as Director of Engineering, confirming that attempts at creating a search engine that acts as a ‘Cybernetic Friend’ are underway, associating search results with your likes and dislikes… it’s going to be an exciting year. “Google Daemon” comes to mind!

 

 

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