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Review of Search Predictions 2014 and Search in 2015

We are now in 2015 ! Last year flew by, there were many changes in our industry and before making predictions for what will happen this year, I wanted to review some of the predictions that were made in 2014. I have reviewed some of the predictions from the following three blog posts:

Fewer Announced Updates from Google

One of the predictions of 2014 on the Searchmetrics blog was from from Johnny Lis. He predicted in his post that in 2014, there were going to be fewer announced updates from Google. And he was correct.  Looking at Moz’s change history, there were 13 updates announced in 2014 compared to 17 in 2013. Google have continued to make changes to their algorithm, including “Pigeon” that was released July 24th last year. It was the biggest update on local search results for 2 years (since the Venice update in 2012). Pigeon changed the importance of ranking factors. The domain authority of a website was the most important and the proximity of the address to the point of search, whereas individual owner verified My Business Page and location of keyword in business title was became less important.

Watch Out Penguins About

Changes to the SERPs related to AuthorRank and PublisherRank

I don’t think we saw that Authorship was going to be removed. But then Eric Enge  knew his 2013 predictions on Authorship was incorrect and therefore was more cautious in 2014. Eric predicted in his post:

“We will see one or more new changes to the search results related to AuthorRank and PublisherRank. We may also see the in-depth articles feature rise to more prominence.”


Authorship photos in the SERPs listings were removed in June and then in August, Google abandoned its Authorship program. However, Danny Sullivan said in his post last year  that Google Authorship is dead and removing it will not impact the other ways that were important before, to reward these authors.  Google have always stated they have many ways to determine the authority of an author. Danny mentioned that the bylines on news stories will be one of the main ways to signal the author of each story.

Bigger, more in-depth content

Neil Patel wrote an interesting post in March last year about how long each blog post should be. He said we should not get hung up on content length, but his post did show that the longer content gets better ranking and is shared more. Neil mentioned that posts above 1,500 words are an ideal length. However it is also important to have an active social presence. Searchmetrics also said that high quality content was one the factors that affected the rankings of a site the most. In May Panda 4.0 was rolled out which targeted sites with low quality content. Ebay was affected by this update.


Guest Blogging

Rand Fishkin predicted in his Moz post on January 5th last year that “Google Will Publicly Acknowledge Algorithmic Updates Targeting Both Guest Posting and Embeddable Infographics/Badges as Manipulative Linking Practices”. Then a few days later, on January 20th, Matt Cutt’s said guest blogging as a way to gain links should be stopped. Then, in March, Matt Cutts announced that they had took action on a large guest blog networking. Ann Smarty, owner of MyBlogGuest confirmed that Google applied their penalty to her network. Eric Enge was also correct in his prediction last year that “Guest Posting Takes a Visible Hit”.

Matt Cutts

Guest blogging in the format it used to be has certainly changed. Eric mentioned there will be more action against sites that use rich anchor text and low relevance posts will also be affected. , but it is now more of a brand building exercise. People are writing content for exposure, rather than the links. This will continue to be the case in 2015.

Mobile Sites

Eric Enge predicted last year, that there would be more weight placed on having a mobile site . Sites with no mobile friendly sites may be affected in 2014. This prediction came true in November this past year when Google launched the mobile friendly label in the mobile search results. Google are now displaying text label under the URL in the snippet that says “mobile-friendly” to help mobile searchers know what sites are mobile-friendly against ones that are not. Google are also experimenting with a new algorithm for these mobile friendly websites.


2014 has been a busy year. Erin Everhart wrote a great post summarizing the major changes that took place last year. There were some surprises, such as Matt Cutt’s taking some time out in July. We also saw Vic Gundotra left Google which led to people to think Google was not as serious about its Google+ product before. However, we also saw some predictions come true and this means there will be further developments in 2015.  What do you think will happen for search this year? Let us know in the comments box below.



Jo Turnbull is the organiser of Search London and the founder of SEO Jo Blogs, which provides practical advice and tips for those in SEO.
  • sharithurow

    I give 90 kabillion points to Eric Enge for admitting that his prediction was inaccurate. I wish more SEOs would be more honest, appreciate that honesty, admit mistakes and when colleagues have been right.

    Okay, 150 kabillion points.