Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on December 31st, 2009

SEO Predictions for 2010

This is the time of year that every SEO expert, ninja, guru, wizard, and Jedi peer into their crystal ball and try to predict the future. Looking back to last year, who would have predicted even 90 percent of what happened, not only in SEO but in life in general. That is why I’m not going to blow smoke up your assumptions or blind you with science. Here are a few SEO predictable predictions for 2010.

Personalized Search is Permanent

Google and Bing both released their “personalized” search features in the last few weeks. Many InterWeb users may have felt a little violated, but most encourage the help in searching for answers. By watching what you click on in search results, Google can learn that you may favor some sites over others. The more you search, the more the results are custom-tailored to you.

What This Means For SEO

If you rank well and experience consistent traffic, it may be harder than ever to knock you from your spot. This means that new sites to the SEO game will have a harder time climbing higher than ever before.

SEO Spending Will Continue To Rise

According to a recent report by Forrester, US Interactive Marketing Forecast, SEO is third only to social media and online video as places where marketers will be shifting marketing dollars. This includes not only search marketers, but ALL marketers.

What This Means For SEO

SEO is becoming ubiquitous and, in 2010, those who do not search engine-optimize will fail to compete.

Refined Queries Yields Less Traffic

Google and Bing are both doing a better job at refining searches while users are still on the SERPs. This means that peoples’ questions are being answered without them ever having to leave the search results. That means more refined search queries, with much less traffic leaving Google and coming to your website for answers.

What This Means For SEO

The more Google and Bing can answer people’s questions without sending them off their search results page, the more they will, and the less traffic sites will receive. Although this is a better user experience and promotes search engine loyalty, it may be a big hit for the “little guy” that almost depends upon someone who can’t find the answer right away to stumble upon their site.

2010 is the “Year of the Conversion”

Volacci has already ordered a huge banner to hang in our office that reads: Year of the Conversion. More often than not, SEO firms tend to concentrate too much on rankings and traffic, and don’t optimize specifically for increasing the conversion rates of their clients. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is a process for improving conversions over time. Online businesses can generate a significant amount of revenue from this, but tend to be obsessed with popping up on Google’s front page.

What This Means For SEO

For Volacci and the SEO industry as a whole, CRO needs to be the focus for all of our clients. Conversion rates help a company assess their spend and measure how much value they’ve derived from their campaign. Clients who have already put their campaign through the rankings gauntlet will be more than ready to have a CRO conversation.

Volacci would love to hear what you think about SEO in 2010. If we left out anything in our current predictions, or if you have one of your own, please leave a comment below with your thoughts. Happy New Year and good luck in 2010!