According to research conducted by ComScore for Morgan Stanley, the volume of web surfing on mobile devices has now overtaken the volume of web surfing done on stationary internet connections. This means that many of the internet users viewing your site may be doing so with a screen the size of a smartphone, tablet, or mini-laptop. This is why Matt Cutts, the engineer in charge of Google’s webspam team, strongly recommends that responsive web design be incorporated into the SEO plan. With this in mind, converting your website to responsive design and making sure it is working correctly, is probably among the most important SEO predictions from experts that you should heed!
Responsive Design Trends
Responsive web design allows your website to look good on any screen size without using URL redirects. This gives you several SEO advantages. Your site will load much faster on smaller devices, a ranking factor very important to Google. In fact, Google has openly stated that they prefer to see a site load in less than a second on mobile devices but the current average load time is seven seconds! Using responsive design will also allow you to avoid duplicated content by having a whole separate site with the same exact text. You’ll also capture all the new links to your site instead of sharing them between two nearly identical sites. You’ll also decrease your bounce rate from mobile users, and since this is now more than fifty percent of everyone landing on your site, this could mean a huge boost to your search engine rankings just by switching to responsive design. Moreover, it is reported that Google is directly ranking those sites with responsive design higher on mobile searches! Given all of these factors, responsive web design is definitely the direction you should be going in 2015 if you want to rank your best in Google!
Other Search Engines
There are other important SEO predictions for 2015 too. This is the year where optimizing only for Google, or primarily for Google, may begin to lose its attractiveness. While ComScore is not showing a significant increase in market share, Bing has at least ten percent of the total market, even on the most conservative estimates and a far higher market share according to others. In fact, even Comscore estimated that Bing had a 19.4 percent market share in August of 2014 and it definitely isn’t losing ground. Perhaps more important, several companies that keep careful track of their clients’ analytics show that Bing has a much higher market share with older adults, probably because Bing has been set to the default browser on the computers they are using. Businesses should take note of this because this is the demographic that usually has the most disposable income.
Some experts are also predicting that smaller search engines like DuckDuckGo and Blekko may chip away significantly on Google’s near monopoly in 2015 and there is a growing sentiment among internet users that this would be a welcome change. Americans don’t tend to like monopolies very much! International search engines like Yandex, Baidu, and Naver are also beginning to capture market share outside their native countries as they become better known worldwide.
A public announcement by Mozilla in late 2014 may also prove very significant. They have decided that Google will no longer be Firefox browser’s default search engine! Instead, it will be replaced with the Yahoo search engine. Yahoo has agreed not to collect personal data from users like Google does, and since this is an increasingly sore point with many internet users, this could give Mozilla and Yahoo a definite advantage. Furthermore, Mozilla is very actively catering to the emerging internet markets, those areas of the world that are just coming online through the use of cheaper mobile phones and mobile access. If you are interested in SEO, the Mozilla/Yahoo partnership is definitely one to keep a close eye on. Yahoo’s search engine market share may jump significantly very soon both in the United States and internationally.
Inbound Links Strategies
Finally, inbound links will remain a key factor in 2015 in determining rank in Google and other search engines. However, Google is becoming increasingly good at determining if a link has been obtained without asking for it, i.e. it is an earned link based solely on the quality of content. Most SEO marketers already know to stay away from link farms and thin websites to build links but many SEO consultants are still pushing the idea of building links on “quality blogs” or similar approaches. This type of strategy will become increasingly less effective in 2015 and beyond as the goal of Google and other search engines is to improve the user experience by delivering results that truly show the best sites in terms of content and true popularity.