SEO/SEM 2009 Trends

SEO/SEM 2009 Trends

In looking for new SEO trends for 2009 (specific to Google), I encountered a few new things. Most importantly of these are: Google is moving towards personalization, which means search results will be less universal and more personalized to specific users and possibly those Google deems have similar interests. Google is also giving more and more credit to authoritative and trusted websites and less and less credit to generic directories. Google’s search is becoming more and more diverse, as mapping results and YouTube videos are showing up more often.

1-Personalization

As Google becomes more commonplace and gains a larger pool of users, they are beginning to have an idea of what their users tend to like. While it’s impossible to know what Google will do for sure, it’s possible they use their user’s search behavior to cross reference other search results (if people visiting site A also visits C quite often, this may affect rankings for site C for other people who visit Site A often).

The other personalizing factor is location. Google results are becoming more geared towards a searcher’s location. So if a company is based in the user’s city, Google may decide that this page is more relevant to the user than a more highly optimized page for a company in another part of the country. This can work for or against you, depending on whether or not you have a physical location, and whether or not in correlates with a user’s location.

How this affects your SEO efforts will depend on how much further Google continues to place emphasis on personalized search. The more significant personalized search becomes, the less significant of a role traditional SEO will play. This will also mean that SEO professionals will have to focus more on Local Search.

Matt Cutts – On Non-SEO Factors

In a recent interview at the PubCon, famed Google engineer Matt Cutts certainly hinted at a need for lessened attention to pure rankings and an increase in attention to traffic, conversions, user experience, different formats.

2-Inbound links – Trusty and Specific

Google is putting more weight on pages with TrustRank. These are pages with unaffiliated links, as opposed to paid directories or e-commerce sites. In other words, quality links over quantity links. Google is also placing more weight on authoritative sites as well as look for links from a diverse set of IP addresses. This is to help ensure that inbound links are authentic and not simply paid for.

‘GoogleGate’

Google’s ‘rater’ guidelines were recently leaked. The document specifies outlines for human raters, who are charged with assigning values to landing pages (not domains). This tells us that Google ranks pages, not domains (likewise with banning or “devaluing” a page’s rankings). These human raters are also tasked with understanding the search terms in question, and categorizing pages into one of the following categories: Vital, Useful, Relevant, Non Relevant, and Off topic. Download guidelines here.

Hence, it appears that there is more to Google these days than spiders crawling websites. Rather, there appears to be a great deal of human input. This provides us with even more incentive to provide relevant and useful content for researchers, as well as focus more on Local Search.

Sources:

Google`s Quality Rater Guidelines Leaked
Google Algorithms

Google Rating Guidelines Leak

SEO Trends for 2009

Your 5-Step Link Building Task Planner for 2009

Matt Cutts on SEO 2009 & Google Talks AdSense
Is Ranking Dead in 2009?
Google and Yahoo SEO – 2009 Changes – Benefit From This
What Google’s Matt Cutts Sees In 2009