Predicting the future of anything is always a risky business, and that’s especially true when you’re trying to read some of the world’s brightest minds. Nevertheless…
Looking ahead to what might be next for Google can be worth the effort and frustration, if only because they currently handle more than 8 out of every 10 searches in North America, meaning that there are millions of users that can affect your business in a profound way.
Besides, even though Google’s exact plans are kept secret, they allude to new ideas, changes and search strategies all the time, often implementing them one small piece at a time. What’s more, they always follow one clear mission – to give searchers more of what they want, and less of what they don’t.
By examining current trends and coloring between the lines, we are able to make a few educated guesses about where the world’s largest search engine might be going.
In fact, here are five changes we expect to see from Google search in the next two years:
1. Domain names won’t matter as much as they have in the past.
In the past few years, people with affiliate sites and low-quality Internet stores have snapped up a lot of the most searched for (or obvious) domain names that were available. But, searchers don’t like finding these in the results, so Google may ease their preference for exact domain name matches going forward.
2. Responsive websites are going to get more attention.
It’s no secret that more and more people are using mobile devices to access the Internet. That means responsive websites – those that adapt to tablets, smart phones, and other web-ready mobile devices) are more likely to be useful for searchers. Don’t be surprised if Google begins to weight them a little more in response, and the other search engines follow.
3. Inbound links will be weighted differently.
Right now, we are seeing the effects of a concerted effort to put more weight on high-quality links, and penalize sites that seem to be “spamming” Google’s inbound link calculations. But, in the future, it may be that the content on a particular page will weigh more heavily into links, rather than just the trustworthiness of the referring site itself.
4. Individuals will carry as much weight as websites.
With its “author rank” system, Google is already starting to separate content writers from the sites on which they are published. It’s not a big stretch to assume that well-known authors and authorities will be prioritized over different domains, since searchers tend to look for trustworthy, relevant content, rather than specific websites for answers.
5. There will be big changes in the way location and language are considered.
In one sense, the web is becoming more local, replacing the Yellow Pages and print directories as the top way to find companies in an area or neighborhood. In another sense, however, modern translation tools and the spread of information continue to cut through geographic lines. So, we might see local search become more important for retail businesses, but less relevant to topical or research-type queries.
We can’t guarantee all of these predictions will come true, of course, but they seem like a safe bet, considering Google’s own goals and where Internet marketing trends seem to be taking us. If you’re worried that your business won’t be ready, or that you aren’t on the cutting edge, then now might be the right time to schedule a free consultation with a member of the Kayak team.