It is always fun at the beginning of the New Year to pull out the crystal ball and make bold pronouncements about what the New Year will bring. I confess my ball is not crystal but, instead, is one of those plastic eight balls that always says “future is cloudy,” or some other meaningless sentiment. This still does not keep me from looking ahead and postulating as to what the future may bring. Here are my three rock-solid predictions:
Prediction 1 – Google Will Make Hundreds of Changes to Its Algorithm
It is easy to predict that Google will make hundreds of changes to its algorithm during the span of the year, because the search engine regularly claims to make hundreds of changes each year. So why highlight the obvious? The point is that it is pointless to try and chase every tweak and change made by Google. Once upon a time, algorithm chasing was a very much practiced art among SEOs. Most wise practitioners no longer chase changes, endlessly looking for ways to defeat the mighty algorithm. Unfortunately, many of us work with clients who still believe that there is a value to aggressive algo-chasing. As a result, it is one of my missions to dispel this thinking and replace it with a more balanced approach.
Prediction 2 – Google Will Announce Some Big Change
This is another can’t-miss prediction that I am sure will come true. Each year, amid the hundreds of minor changes, Google announces some big change or other that is predicted to have a serious impact on search rankings and their resulting traffic. The real question is whether the next much-ballyhooed change will be another fizzle, like Mobilegeddon or something else. Giving preference to mobile-friendly sites was supposed to be the proverbial Armageddon of search, but it was a bit of a fizzle. The reason it fizzled was that the well-optimized sites – those at the top of the rankings – were already tooled up for the change, and their results did not suffer much at all. An answer appears to be emerging for how to avoid being caught up in responding to the announced and the inevitable unannounced major change like the Phantom Update. The ability to float unscathed above the turbulence of all this change is possible and does not require prescience or magic.