Nothing says "it's December" like the flurry of prediction posts for the forthcoming year, it happens in every industry - and SEO and Digital Marketing is no different so lets get to it... what do I think will be a trend in 2015?
Mobile Will Become King of the Web
Many websites are already on the cusp of 50% mobile and tablet traffic through their website on a regular basis (and that is the key). This will not only become the norm across the web, but mobile focus will become dominant across the web as brands big and small race to ensure their website gives the best user experience across browsers.
In my experience it is large websites which will struggle to move, struggle to maintain their old audience requirements whilst ensuring the "new" mobile audience is catered for. A great example of this issue for large brands has been M&S's website relaunch this year, which floundered somewhat.
E-Mail (marketing) Survives - Just
In a year where Social Media continues to go from strength to strength, 2015 will be a year to test the 'grit' of e-mail marketers. Results will ultimately reduce for pretty much all industries reliant on e-mail alone, however for those who seek success in email it will remain solid - the secret will be to ensure that email marketing becomes personalised and rigorously tested & iterated upon with each campaign. Social Media by it's nature is a mass communication tool but is also, and more importantly, a channel for users to interact with brands and businesses directly - it is therefore a one to one marketing tool which in 2015 will grow and grow.
Real-Time Analytics Becomes "The Norm"
Google Analytics has for a while had "real-time" analytics available - we expect the real-time view here to be extended, but we also expect that many systems will have real time data integrated directly - not simply to show statistics but to allow trigger events to manipulate the website based on user trends over time (even if that time is 5 minutes for a single user).
Real-time analytics will allow websites of all sizes, but in particular for blogs, to flourish as they can see instantly how good (or not) content they produce is to the audience at that second.
Semantics is Where it's At
Keyword Ranking is Dead - we all see a personalised ranking to some extent today, even if it is simply based upon your IP location or indeed GPS location. We will continue to track this as a metric, I'm not sure why though. Instead the focus should, and indeed for Google, will be on context becoming king.
I expect that keyword focused websites, and not 'interest-led' articles will be pushed back in search results in favour of more subject-based and context-based results. It is likely that Google will bring some of its "joined up" technology from voice search on Android devices to desktop search, allowing the service to take into account previous searches to find the true context of your searches, giving searchers the best results possible.
Fast, User-friendly & Secure - The Mantra of 2015
The mantra of 2015 for SEO and Digital Marketing Consultants will be to to ensure that every user gets the best user-friendly experience possible (mobile & analytics) , a fast website (analytics) with great content (semantics) and in a secure environment (Googles move to rank SSL websites). Those who don't catch-up with this norm will find their search rankings and traffic reducing over the year.