Where is search headed in 2015?

Just in time to shake up online search for the new year, two major brands are poised to drive valuable traffic away from the captains of the search engine industry – Google, Bing and Yahoo. It’s been some time since we had to pore over which search engines to pursue. Just this past August, comScore confirmed that Google remains top dog in online search with 67.3 percent of the U.S. market share. (Bing and Yahoo split the difference with a 2:1 ratio, respectively.)

However, with the new Amazon Travel service in effect and Facebook dropping Bing for its own Graph Search product, you can’t help but wonder how search behavior will shift in 2015. Will we be optimizing content for Amazon’s algorithms in addition to Google? How much more focus will we give Facebook keyword search?

While these introductions to online search are certainly geared toward fulfilling a specific customer need, they are still just that – limited by their own focus.

For example, Amazon Travel will show search results for travel-related inquiries, so it can help consumers to book hotels, rent cars, and make flight reservations. There will no doubt be some online shoppers who will take advantage of these services, especially because Amazon can leverage its brand reputation. However, we think that time will tell whether or not Amazon’s search engine results are very accurate or helpful. Amazon will have to match Google, Bing and Yahoo’s prowess at returning highly relevant results.

As for Facebook, we see the Graph Search as a potentially useful tool in expanding the reach of company posts both on Facebook and on Google, as long as users are engaging with the content. Right now, Graph Search is supposed to help its users find content that friends shared or commented on through a keyword search tool, which makes it difficult for business pages or public posts to grow in this way. However, Facebook could eventually allow its posts to become indexed, so businesses would need to place even more focus on keyword usage.

All in all, we think that online search in 2015 is going to be exciting yet challenging, if these two new services take off. While businesses are going to have more ways to engage with online consumers, it also means a learning curve for online marketers and the clients they serve.

One thing is for sure, you can bet there will be many watchful eyes on Amazon and Facebook as they look to change the way we all experience search.

What are your predictions for search in the coming year? Let us hear from you in the comments.

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