News & Insights

Take A Gaze Into The SEO Crystal Ball

Google’s search algorithm is a mysterious creation of endless wonder and speculation. While the search behemoth claims to use over 200 ranking factors to calculate search results, no one outside of Google really knows how these hundreds of factors are weighted. To make matters even trickier, Google’s search algorithm is a work in progress – so what’s optimal today may not be tomorrow. But before you pull your hair out in frustration, slow your roll. Because thanks to Moz, we have seen the search future. In case you’re wondering, Moz is an SEO software leader (not a futuristic time traveler). But while they lack a Flux Capacitor-equipped DeLorean, that hasn’t stopped them from traveling to the search engine future. And while their time machine isn’t nearly as exciting as a stainless steel sports car, it’s just as effective. So how did they do it? And more importantly, what did they find? Every two years Moz releases their Search Engine Ranking Factors Survey. This report presents survey data from over 150 top search experts, and their answers provide valuable insight into the inner workings of Google’s current search algorithm (including the various weighting factors thought to be used). If this is all the survey did, it would still be an important resource. However, it does something much more interesting (and this is where the time travel bit comes in). While current ranking factors are important to incorporate into your marketing strategy, it’s ranking factors of the future that should really grab your attention. Fortunately, Moz has given us an SEO crystal ball. Because in addition to gathering expert opinion about today’s Google's ranking algorithm, Moz has collected predictions from the experts on how the features of Google's algorithm will change over the next 12 months. In other words, we know the future of search (or at least what the experts think it will be). And short a DeLorean, this is the best we’ve got. So that said, let’s head back to the search future! The Future Of Search According to 150 top search experts, the future of search is in your hand. Literally. That’s right, “mobile friendliness” had the highest predicted increase in search impact. We can’t say we’re surprised by this finding. At Rhythm, we’ve been harping on mobile’s importance for years. Coming in a close second in predicted impact was a web page’s perceived value, followed by quality of instant answers provided in SERPs (search engine results page), usage data (click-thru rate, time on site), and readability/usability/design. What makes these predictions particularly interesting is that each one centers around user experience, something Rhythm takes very seriously. The experts also predicted search factors that will decline in impact over the next 12 months. Unsurprisingly, these culprits were the more manipulative aspects of SEO including paid links and anchor text. To save you some time, here is a condensed list of search predictions from Moz’s 2015 Ranking Factors Expert Survey: Predicted to Increase in Impact:
  1. Mobile friendliness
  2. Analysis of a site/page’s perceived value
  3. Quantity/quality of instant answers provided in SERPs
  4. Usage data (CTR, dwell time)
  5. Readability/usability design
  Predicted to Stay the Same:
  1. Topical relevance of links
  2. Quality of paid results on SERPs
  3. Social signals (shares, likes, +1’s)
  4. Presence & prominence of advertising vs. content
  5. Raw domain authority based on incoming links
  Predicted to Decrease in Impact:
  1. The effectiveness of paid links
  2. Influence of anchor text
  An Integrated Approach At Rhythm, we keep a close eye on SEO trends and scour helpful search reports like the one from Moz. But we also understand that search is just one piece of a larger puzzle. Here we believe that the most powerful marketing efforts are integrated, and based on insights and strategy. A good example of this integrated marketing approach can be found in our ongoing relationship with NVISION Eye Centers, a leading provider of LASIK and cataract eye surgery throughout California, Nevada and Oregon. When NVISION selected us to redesign their website, we approached the project with the big picture in mind. While a revamped website could stand its own, we knew it would be much more powerful as part of an integrated marketing effort. So once NVISION’s new website was ready for launch, we had already optimized it for search with a number of features that provide deeper insights into visitor activity. Today we help manage NVISION’s paid search efforts, including PPC, and these optimizations continue to provide NVISION with a tremendous paid search advantage. Sources:  Moz Ready for an integrated marketing approach with SEO in mind? LET’S GET STARTED.