Another year is almost over, so most webmasters will be looking ahead to the next with high hopes and a certain degree of trepidation.
You do not have to be a clairvoyant to predict how the market will evolve over 2013, but here are a few forecasts that might affect your SEO strategy in the coming 12 months.
Organic Search Decline
While it would be nice to think of Google as an entirely altruistic entity, which really does want to get its users the best possible results with as little bias as possible, it is ultimately a business that needs several revenue streams to maintain itself in the manner to which it has become accustomed.
Many experts believe that Google will continue to meddle with the design and content of its SERPs in order to put more of a focus on the products that help it to make money. This not only includes paid ads, but also things like Google+ and even YouTube.
It is even thought that the first page will show fewer organic results than ever before, with both branded and non-branded keywords and phrases being impacted by this.
As such, SEO will become even more important, because the value of the available organic result positions will rise as the scarcity of the most prominent ones increases.
Webmasters will be keen to make sure that if organic search is a less reliable driver for traffic, the paid elements of their strategies are providing the best possible value and cost effectiveness.
Tweaking landing pages to ensure that visitors who click through from PPC links and ads are actually converted into paying customers, will help sites to achieve this. 2013 could therefore be the year in which conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is on the tip of everyone’s tongues.
Costs of Copy
The ripples of Google’s Panda update can still be felt, with the focus now placed on the quality of on-site content, rather than the number of inbound links that can be achieved.
As such, you can expect that the cost of actually acquiring copy of a good enough calibre to satisfy visitors and search algorithms will rise. This is not necessarily a bad thing if it helps to improve a site, but it does mean that budgets might be tight if you have little wiggle room.
Rise in SERP Authorship and Preview Elements
Google’s fondness for tinkering with its SERPs is sometimes beneficial for sites, particularly the increased fervour with which authorship and rich snippet elements are being adopted and showcased.
The point of harnessing these tools is to give sites the chance to convince search users to click through, all while getting the edge over your closest rivals.
As long as you are willing to work hard and seek expert SEO advice during 2013, you should be able to deal with whatever the next year has to throw at your site and come out the other side as a stronger, more resilient business.