SEO is always changing, and 2015 is shaping up to be a big year for search marketers.
2014 was quite the year for SEO -- we saw the release of the Pigeon update, which revolutionized local search, and long-awaited updates to both Panda and Penguin in the latter half of the year. But it's starting to look like 2015 is going to be an even bigger year, and savvy search marketers are already starting to plan their strategies.
If you want to stay ahead of the competition, keep your eyes peeled for these five changes likely to come with the new year:
1. Local signals are going to get specific. Pigeon already showcased Google's commitment to improving the totality of local search. In 2015, I expect they're going to improve their search capabilities even more with proximity-based searches, and wearable technology like smart watches are only going to increase their propensity toward that strategy.
2. Keywords will take another beating. Even now, keywords are almost useless to an SEO strategy. Searches are starting to become more semantically based, meaning Google is attempting to understand your intent rather than analyzing your keyword choices.
3. Social signals will become more sophisticated. It's not clear how social signals exactly play into your rank, but in 2015, you can expect those qualifiers to change. We could even expect a massive update -- think Panda or Penguin scale -- that targets social optimizers.
4. Voice search is going to become popular. With smart watches gaining in popularity and semantic search operating more efficiently than ever, you can bet voice-based search is going to start catching on.
5. Apps will start superseding web pages. Next year, you can bet Google will be indexing just as much information from mobile apps as it does from web pages. App and mobile popularity are becoming more important than ever.
Of course, Google is unpredictable and technologies rarely pan out the way we expect them to. But even if these predictions don't come to life, 2015 will be an exciting and eventful year for search optimization.
Jose Vasquez is a serial entrepreneur and tech enthusiast dedicated to helping startup technology companies get the direction and momentum they need to succeed. As the founder of Build. Brand. Blast., Jose has established a collective resource for tech entrepreneurs to consult when brainstorming, creating, launching, or expanding a new business. Jose is also the founder and CEO of Quez Media Marketing, a marketing firm that combines technology and creativity to help new and growing companies get the results they need.
Jose graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.