As a year dominated by social media comes to a close, Searchmetrics, provider of search analytics software, reveals its insights and predictions for the search engine optimization (SEO) landscape in 2011. Looking back at the evolution of Web usage and trends in 2010, Searchmetrics noted the game-changers to look out for, while providing an opinion on some of the challenges the industry will face in 2011.
Since SEO is now being affected by social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, Searchmetrics predicted data is going to have to include concise social media metrics. Additionally, the application used to collect this data will have to evolve. The report noted that currently agencies and businesses are using anywhere from five to 10 different monitoring tools and many continue to use Excel to compile different data and different sources.
"This is too complex of a process for a marketing professional and can cost an agency approximately 40 percent of their monthly budget," the report said. "2011 will bring an onset of tools to streamline this process, providing the information that is needed to monitor and analyze items such as keywords and domains at a fraction of the time and cost it currently is."
The company also predicted that in 2011 marketers will also be using the term "social media optimization" (SMO) when referring to their online initiatives. Companies and agencies that will come out ahead of the game are the ones that start leveraging social media for scalable link-building efforts. The company's research concluded that the Bing-Facebook partnership may end up being the biggest game-changer in the industry.
Facebook currently has about 500 million users, and with Google logging approximately 2.5 billion searches per day, research suggested most people were leaving Facebook to search with Google. But with the Bing integration, leaving Facebook and choosing another search provider will no longer be needed, Searchmetrics research suggested: A user's Bing search results are now listed along with Facebook search results.
"This underscores the power that Facebook has on the Internet at the moment. Right now we can only speculate on how this will pan out, but if executed efficiently, this could change searching for information online as we know it," the report noted. "This partnership has the potential of making Facebook an individual's (and a corporation's) go-to social network hub and search engine. Previously, if you searched a company or name that wasn't on Facebook, you would have to leave the site to conduct additional research."
The report noted the main change to traditional SEO seen with Google Instant is that fewer keywords are now being used in searches. From an SEO perspective, the technical aspects and the amount of bandwidth behind these types of searches will come into the light. Additionally Google Local adds another element, allowing for maps results, video results and funneling traffic through Google's YouTube property, and can change the click distribution on search engine results pages (SERPS)-putting a site in the spot on a SERPS that gets most clicks-which, Searchmetrics researchers noted, is what SEO is all about.
"As social media continues to stake its claim as the dominating force of the Internet, the entire landscape of SEO will have to change to accommodate it," said Horst Joepen, CEO of Searchmetrics. "We offer extremely comprehensive, precise data to our customers. To be able to offer this level of data means that we need to stay a step ahead of the industry and add a functionality to our product before the client even knows they want it."