I see [search] merging with inbound marketing practices as a whole. Every inbound channel is connected-organic search, social media, content, community, email etc. The future will bring less and less of an ability to do great SEO without embracing these other channels and practices.
I think we’ll see more authority given to vetted authors/sites so Google returns results that matter to the person making request. What “real” people search (ask) for and what’s important to them is what Google makes a note of and strives to return. Their algorithms appear to be evolving to better undestand relationships between content, the question asked and the person asking it.
Mobile is going to be the most important factor in search and will play a bigger role in future. Computers are no longer encased in desktop or laptop covering and search does not happen only on 1024×768 screens. We only saw a rise in smartphone activity in 2012, but also significant activity in tablet computing.. With tablet computers, there will be different metrics, different keywords to optimize for, and other considerations in future.
It’s an ecosystem really- search results give way to links/mentions/shares which give way to more authority, and ultimately better ranking, and even more links/mentions/shares.
Content is what people are searching for… They search because they have a need. That need, be it product, services or information, appears to them as content in some form or another. Stay focused on creating engaging content experiences and impress visitors with thoughtful usability, making the job easier.
Today is not about “get traffic”.. it’s about “get the targeted and relevent traffic”. This is the are of less is more SEO. Content is the key, because it’s how a website creates and online experience. Content is ANYTHING that creates a compelling experience. But It’s so much more, because you quickly realize thay you can’t really know which contnet types to create until you understand which content types people want.
I don’t think SEO has changed. The basic components are still the same. Optimize your pages with good content and get lot a lot of quality sites/pages to link to them. What has changed is the way the engines look and judge content and the fact that engines like Bing and Google are no longer the only platforms you have to optimize for.