Can you believe it, a whole year has passed since Rand and the gang joined us in London for what is widely known as ‘the’ search event of the year. We at Silverbean thought it would be a good idea to take a look back at last year at some of the trend predictions that were made and see just how hot the search crystal ball really was, before we head off to SearchLove 2015. So let’s look back at 2014’s SearchLove Conference and highlight some of the predictions that were made and see if any have materialised in the past year…

SearchLove

Trend Prediction #1: Brand building is only going to increase in importance

Sounds simple and almost like common sense to the majority of us, but it is surprising how easily the brand message can be lost in a sea of marketing messages and noise. It is a vital part of a marketing strategy and whilst search is a huge part of the brand message, it is essential that it is synced across all aspects of the marketing mix.

Did the trend materialise?

Results of how much focus has been paid in regards to brand building are varied, depending on where you look. Whilst there is some fantastic brand messaging out there, the majority of marketers still aren’t incorporating the brand message effectively to create unique, usable content. If the message hasn’t stuck, there is a tendency for any content to become muted and bland, and therefore lost. While this is the case for some, it generally seems that everyone else is making a genuine attempt at building their brand.

 

Trend Prediction #2: Content Needs a Rethink

The distinct message over the past 2 years has been ‘content, content, CONTENT’ and people have essentially grabbed that idea with both hands. Reading your average blog or company news feed and it just feels like there’s content there for contents sake, with the mantra ‘any words are better than no words’. To a certain extent, it’s the right idea.

However, when this is the case, there’s a need to really stand out and get attention, content needs to be strategic, thought provoking and have a meaning that your audience can relate and engage with.

Did the trend materialise?

Simply put, in certain online communities, yes. These are the communities with their fingers on the pulse and ear to the ground and they haven’t missed a trick. It’s worth noting though, that the real gains sit within the industries that are slightly less digitally mature, as they have the potential to skip the content churn stage and head straight to the golden ticket.

 

Trend Prediction #3: Mobile, Mobile & More Mobile Focus is going to be needed

This has been a message for a while now and it makes sense when you study the behaviour of the modern consumer in any detail. Search is mobile and people expect answers there and then, not later or when they get home.

Did the trend materialise?

It definitely did. Mobile overtook desktop as the leading device type for organic search this year, so snoozers will most definitely be losers. In fairness, if I think about the majority of sites that I visit and work with, they are all fully capable of supplying my need on any mobile or table device.

 

SearchLove 2015 Themes to Expect

This year’s line-up is filled with a who’s who of A-list SEO’ers, so let’s take a look at some of the topics and trends that could form Search for the coming year.

TomAnthonyseo twitter

Fundamental Changes to Search – Tom Anthony @TomAnthonySEO, I am particularly excited to hear from Tom about the shift away from keywords and towards more conversational search and apps.

As Google continues to develop it’s thought based algorithms, knowledge graph and complexities of semantic relevance, our content and messaging as organic marketers needs to resonate in this new landscape. This should be underpinned by strong technical and structural optimisation, ensuring your content gets the opportunity to gain the visibility the message should deserve.

In real world terms, content has to serve the users’ needs at the right time and give them a reason to interact and engage with the brand. The value of your content needs to be worth your audience investing their time in it, or your message is not going to be heard.

TaliaGw Twitter

Emotional Targeting through CRO – Talia Wolf @TaliaGw, I think Talia is going to hit the nail on the head with her talk, Conversion Rate Optimisation needs to become fully integrated with search content, sooner rather than later.

You cannot have a strong content message that does not guide the user into the next stage of engagement. Bringing conversion planning to the front of your content strategy will focus the message and improve conversions.

Something that doesn’t seem to have a dedicated slot on the roster this year is Micro Moments and their impact on search and I think this is a shame. I believe that micro moments are a key opportunity to have your brand visible to shape preference and answer a user’s need, even when there is no intent to buy or interact. This earlier part of the consumer decision process is going to be a battleground that I predict new services will be born from.

This image shows the audience at a past SearchLove Conference in London

So, SearchLove 2014 was focused on the general content/content marketing message. I hope that this year, the focus will be on the smarter side of online marketing and hone in on the practices and methods that are really going to resonate with consumers. Looking at the 2015 roster, it would certainly seem that way. One thing is for sure, we are bloody excited for it!

We’ll see you there!

Are you attending this year? If so, drop us a message over on the Silverbean twitter, @silverbean or one of us excited attendees @Tom_Silverbean, @stephen1986, or me @mechan135. It would be great to see you there and we may even buy you a beverage… if you’re lucky!