Barry Schwartz kicked off an awesome day at SMX Israel with a keynote chock full of information and interesting perspectives on the year in search marketing and what’s ahead for 2014. Barry’s opening noted how Google algorithm updates “make the SEO community light up”—i.e., they force SEO marketers to deal with a constantly changing search landscape.
The focus then turned to the recent link wars and Google’s constant battle with link spammers and link networks such as Anglo Rank and Ghost Rank 2.0. Some legitimate sites such as BBC and Interflora also received penalties received penalties for “unnatural links,” mainly caused by user generated content or RSS scrapers.
Notable Highlights in Predictive, Paid and Social Search
- Predictive search: Google glass can show you things based on location data. According to Marissa Meyer this is the future of search.
- Social Search: Still in its infancy. Google says they don’t use this, but Bing is tightly integrated into Facebook.
- Google yellow ad labels: Where did they come from? The European Union is giving Google a hard time about distinguishing between paid and organic search results, so this was their solution.
- Google PLAs – product listing ads—were always free until last year. Now you have to pay to get your product into Google shopping results.
The closing slide for the year in review reported:
“Jill Whalen retires because Google released Panda and Penguin algorithms. She had championed white hat good content vs. black hat link hacking and with the release of these algorithms, her job is done.”
This was a theme that ran throughout the day — that search marketing should focus on producing and promoting quality content for clients rather than devising SEO hacking strategies for tired, irrelevant content.
Social Media in 2014
So what’s next? Barry’s predictions for 2014:
- Rise of mobile: Not just about smartphones – also smart wearables like watches, Google Glass and even contact lenses. Additionally, there will be more mobile ranking factors – also on the paid side.
- Social: Google says it doesn’t use social ranking factors in their algorithm. They will probably start to take social into account in 2014. Not just on organic, but also on paid search side.
- Predictive search: Google, Bing and Yahoo will start to get much better at this. It’s still an unknown as to how to get marketing content in front of target audiences.
- Quality and authority: Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird are all about these two things. Google is trying to figure out the authority of individual identities and how to raise the ranking of authoritative, high quality content.
It was a great talk that hit all of the major issues facing search marketing today.