As the year came to a close everyone, even Google, was reflecting on the events of the past 12 months and looking ahead to what the new year might bring.
Some of the key things to note from Google this past month are the company’s predictions for 2015 and its roundup of search trends for 2014. Google also released one of its key algorithms more widely, which is something you’re going to have to be aware of if you’re trying to attract visitors to your website from multiple countries.
In this post I’ll recap the top SEO updates of December and get you up to speed with what’s been going on so far in January.
Google’s Top Searches Of 2014
Towards the end of the year Google put together comprehensive lists of trending searches in 2014. You can narrow down the lists by multiple categories and multiple countries, or you can choose to view a combined list of top global searches.
Here are the top 10 worldwide searches for 2014:
- Robin Williams
- World Cup
- Malaysia Airlines
- ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
- Flappy Bird
- Conchita Wurst
- Sochi Olympics
I can’t provide the entire lists here because there are far too many of them, and quite honestly they are fun to explore on your own. Here are some of the favorites I found while browsing through the list that made me thing “What the hell? People are actually searching for these things?”
- How To Teleport: Yes, this was really one of the top searches. I wonder if anyone got the answer they were looking for.
- Selfie Tips: Apparently there are some selfie experts out there. It is possible we’ve been doing it wrong all this time?
- Buy Pharrell Hat: Thank goodness this trend didn’t catch on.
- Mutant Giant Spider Dog: Always fascinating to find out what the top video of the year was. Wasn’t expecting this one.
Google’s Top Technology Predictions For 2015
Early on into the new year Google released a list of its top 3 tech predictions for 2015. This is how Google sees the internet landscape evolving this year.
More Devices Connected To Other Devices
Google sees more devices communicating with each other in 2015. You know how you can control your Nest thermostat with your Pebble smartwatch? That’s the kind of thing Google is referring to, and the company has data to back up the prediction that this trend will grow:
- Searches related to the Internet of Things grew 2.5x this past year.
- Searches for wearable tech grew 3x this past year.
- Searches for smart lightbulbs are up 36% from last year.
- 4.9 billions connected things will be in use globally in 2015, up 30% from 2014.
More things connected to the Internet means you’ll potentially be able to gather more data from your customers this year. Use those data-driven insights to step up your customer service and site content.
Mobile, Mobile, Mobile
Google documents the extent to which mobile has grown in the past year to illustrate how its momentum is not showing any signs of slowing down:
- 1.3 billion smartphones have shipped globally in 2014
- 151 minutes per day are spent on smartphones, more than is spent on TV or laptops
- Roughly 1 in 5 searches on Google are related to location
- Searches for “nearby” have grown 5x since 2011
With those stats in mind, at this point visitors on mobile should really be having a great experience with your business when they land on your site as that is rapidly becoming the preferred method of browsing.
Internet Is Moving Even Faster
With access to information, entertainment, and services whenever we want it, there are going to be more and more moments of quick decision making.
Customers want things faster than ever before. For example, Searches for “same day delivery” grew 2x this past February compared to February 2010.
Google suggests there’s going to be an expectation improve your business to meet your customers’ growing demand for speed — maybe 24/7 customer support or same-day service?
Google’s “Pigeon” Algorithm Rolled Out To More Countries
Earlier this summer Google introduced an algorithm specifically designed to improve local search results, which has since been referred to as “pigeon” within the SEO community. At first it was only rolled out in the US, but now it has been confirmed to be rolled out in all English-speaking countries.
This is important to be aware of if you’re trying to attract local visitors from multiple countries. A key change with Pigeon is that the maps radius has tightened for local searches, so make sure you have a verified maps listing in all the countries you do business in.
Another signature change to come along with Google’s local search algorithm is a reduction in local packs, you know that box that appears featuring local businesses in search results. It went from 7 listings down to 3.
A reduction in the amount of local pack listings means the local search landscape will be ultra competitive this year. If you run a local business, or are trying to attract local visitors from a variety of countries. be prepared to be on top of your local search game in 2015.
Now you’re all caught up with everything that happened in December, and the key updates so far this year. If you have any questions about anything I went over, please leave a comment below.