1. Hummingbird Will Be Next Big Thing
Google came up with the famous Google Hummingbird update when they turned 15 and it is something which will have a great impact on everything for sure. It was never announced and thus, people noticed it almost 3 months after it was introduced. This will continue to have its effect in 2014.
Hummingbird is not an update or search filter update, but it was a rewrite of Google’s core algorithm. The update, will affect more than any other update and will have a much longer effect.
As the update was more of a platform change, the immediate effect wasn’t felt, that is why people didn’t notice it much initially. Like the Panda and Penguin updates, the basic rankings didn’t change. Google actually tried to understand the query better so they can serve better and more accurate result for any query.
What can this really mean? This can mean, the algorithm will process the links in a better way. It also means social signals will work better now. In fact, every possibility is not yet fully explored by the SEO people.
In 2014 we will see the real effects of Hummingbird. It is very much possible that the predictions we will make here are caused by Hummingbird, either directly or indirectly.
2. Author Rank / Publisher Rank
People predicted so much about Author Rank in 2013, but nothing really worked. It was because people thought it is very easy for anyone to do it. The reason was, because we think Google is using a signal as a ranking factor, doesn’t mean we all can exploit it easily really.
Implementing a new algorithm is hard for anyone. Google, with all its might, needs to go for extensive testing before they can really implement it at large scale. There are changes which break other ranking factors. In 2013 it was known for in-depth article update where the publisher rank was more important than the author rank, or so it seemed.
Thus, let’s not chase this factor too hard. There will be a few changes, or at least one, which will bring the focus more on AuthorRank or PublisherRank. We will also see how the in-depth article starts to be a more prominent star in the ranking algorithm.
What we shouldn’t expect is that the search results will shift too much, based on the author rank. The signal will work in certain scenarios only and will not be a universal signal. An example of such scenario might be the result of your search when you are logged in and you have shown a previous inclination to a certain authors.
3. Natural Language Search
Before Hummingbird came, the natural language search was limited to the queries which could have been handled by the knowledge graph. But, since Hummingbird the natural language queries will visibly be bringing you far more accurate results.
However, Hummingbird is still an infant and can not handle all the queries properly. Thus the queries it can handle are still limited. This is why 2014 is important as we will see Hummingbird to reach its youth in 2014 and will increase its capability and reach. Google sees the future as mobile and that is why they are bent to take this technology to the next level. This search, if it fulfills its initial promises, will change the way voice searches are done and will also tilt the balance towards voice searches.