It goes without saying that search engine optimization is always changing. If you doubt that, just take alook on the online forums where business owners discuss the shifts in their rankings and traffic following the introduction of new Google algorithms, such as the recent “Panda” update.

But, while those top keyword rankings might be a moving target that seems to jump around unexpectedly, that doesn’t mean you can’t anticipate any of the changes before they happen. In fact, there are two important trends taking place right now that will likely make or break your site on Google in the coming years:

1. Deemphasizing sites with too much optimization in search results. When Google announced they would be making changes in their algorithms to analyze sites that are “over-optimized,” you could almost feel the collective sense of panic spreading throughout the Internet. What would make a site over-optimized? And how could you keep getting customers to come to your site if you aren’t allowed to use optimized page headings, keyword-rich blog posts, and other traditional SEO tools?

The reality is that most sites aren’t likely to be affected. That’s because Google still wants your site to be searchable and indexed, just not to the degree that would seem like you were stuffing keywords into low-quality content and trying to manipulate the rankings. In other words, you should still keep putting out informative articles, building inbound links, and engaging customers, but do it in a way that puts more focus on the buyers, and less on search engine spiders.

2. Using visitor behavior as a factor in search rankings. This is an interesting twist, because it brings search engine optimization even closer to the world of social media marketing. The idea is that Google will study how long visitors remain on your website, how many pages they visit, whether they follow you via social networks, and so on. From that data, they will try to determine whether or not your site is reputable, and whether it’s giving searchers what they were hoping to find.

The ramifications are easy to understand – sites with strong, informative content and easy-to-navigate layouts are going to benefit, if only because searchers will stay on the longer, and buyers will be able to find what they’re looking for. On the other hand, those using poorly-written keyword-stuffed content, “squeeze pages,” and other shortsighted tactics are going to lose out. The lesson is the same as it was before: think of your customers first, and search engine traffic will follow.

In both cases, these changes to Google’s way of determining search listings should eventually lead to better results for its users (who are in essence its customers because they attract advertisers). So, you can expect that they’ll be implemented more and more heavily as time goes on.

If you don’t think you’re ready for future changes to Google’s algorithms, now is the perfect time to contact us and speak with a member of our team. Get your free consultation today!