Searching For Search Trends in 2011

As we make our way through the holiday season and approach a new year, we all know we can expect change. We can expect the following to occur:

  • Brett Favre will retire from professional football (maybe).
  • The economy will improve (maybe).
  • Search engine optimization will become integral in companies’ online marketing campaigns.

In 2010 SEO became more important than ever, and will continue to become a major player in integrated marketing campaigns going forward in 2011. Leave it to the thinkers at Search Engine Watch to sum up the major moves of the past year, including some noteworthy Google highlights:

When Tom Cruise claimed, “I feel the need. A need for speed” in 1986, he was clearly venting from frustration when attempting to load web pages. Early in 2010 Google rolled out their ranking factor based on page speed, creating incentive for website to invest in faster-loading pages, but it didn’t stop there.

Google proceeded to introduce “Google Instant”, a major change in user interface that allows users to view results as they type their search into the box. This not only made searches faster and simpler, but also probably made all of us lazier (why doesn’t “abaculus” show up when I type “a”?).

Google didn’t stop there. Just this past month the company released “Google Instant Previews”, giving users the option of viewing the page via a magnifying glass next to each result. The idea is to gauge whether users decide to visit or avoid a page based off the sample image of the site.

Bing also made noise this past year when integrating with Yahoo for search. Bing experienced a major increase in market share, from less than 10 percent to over 25 percent. So it’s important to consider Bing from both PPC and SEO perspectives moving forward.

We’ve already noticed search trends that will increase momentum heading into 2011, including the increasing importance in having a working and updated social media presence. Search also has the potential of becoming a player in your integrated marketing campaign that spans both online and traditional channels. So it’s vital that companies adopt an engaging social media presence and create quality content to enhance link visibility (search engines are becoming smarter, so go with it).

How are you planning to utilize search engine optimization in 2011?