SEO Ranking Factors, Trends & Search Predictions for 2011

SEO Ranking Factors, Trends & Search Predictions for 2011

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Bruce Clay is a name that should mean at least a little something to you if you’re in the search engine optimization business. They are one of the oldest, largest, and most trusted search firms in the world. And they’re using their considerable experience and expertise to help guide the rest of us in the SEO field with a new release called The SEO Factors & Trends Report for 2011.

The SEO Factors & Trends Report is designed to serve as a bit of a bridge between 2010 and the coming year. It looks at the major changes in the world of SEO from the past 12 months, but also looks ahead to predict where the future of SEO will go in 2011. You can download the report here.

For those of you pressed for time, I’ll do my best to sum up the important findings—at least the video-related ones… the report is pretty exhaustive, and there’s plenty of great information in it that I can’t get to in one summary article.

2010 SEO Factors & Trends

As the report says:

“This section identifies key changes to search engine algorithms and the search engine marketplace that could have an impact on search engine rankings.”

With that said, let’s pull out the 2010 “factors” that impact us the most in the world of video marketing:

Social Weight

Multiple search engines have begun trying to gauge the relative influence or authority of Facebook and Twitter users, and the report suggests: “These changes could lead to likes becoming as important as links in the algorithms.”

Mobile Search

Mobile search was rapidly on the rise in 2010. Google Instant–which I love–rolled out to iPhones and Android devices. There were other factors pushing mobile search as well, like the increasing accuracy and sophistication of Google Goggles. Lots of things are going mobile: search, apps, and of course, video.


Rapidly advancing technology (like YouTube’s auto-captioning system) and new tools for content creators (like video sitemaps) are helping engines understand and properly rank video.

Site Speed

2010 was the year Google officially started making the speed of a website an important ranking factor. This impacts video marketers in a huge way, as video can definitely slow down a website’s performance, depending on how much of it there is and how it’s implemented.

2011 Search Trends & Predictions

Bruce Clay isn’t content to simply tell you what SEO factors were important in the past… they also want to play Nostradamus a bit and predict some things that are likely to be important in the future. Again, there are too many for me to get to all of them, so I’ll stick to the ones that stand out most to me:

Content Farms

Are there such things as video content farms? If so, this might be a bad year for those sites, as Google seems more determined than ever to fight the lower quality websites that crowd the results.

Reviews & Rankings

Particularly in the area of local search, user reviews and ratings are going to have an increasing impact on the results. And video, like most content varieties these days, is rated, ranked, and reviewed by users in higher numbers every day.

Search Market Growth

One of the more fascinating predictions on the list is this one:

“The search market will grow dramatically as Internet penetration grows in Africa, Asia, Middle East and Latin and South America.”

Think about that. Even if it’s not in 2011, it’s coming. Beyond all the staggering statistics regarding search volume lies the fact that there are still gigantic portions of the world that are only just now coming into their Internet age. And many of those cultures are wildly different from yours and mine. If you think search is going to change once these areas embrace it… just wait until you see what happens to video.


The entire report is worth a read, and I’ve barely scratched the surface of its contents with this article. It’s a great snapshot of the major milestones and shifts in the search engine world over the past year. And the predicted trends for 2011 are all sensible and probably accurate. What were you doing a year ago to help your videos get found on search engines that you’re not doing anymore? What are you doing now that you won’t be doing a year from now?


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