Goodbye To Google+
One of the more surprising Google updates possible for 2014 is that Google might get rid of its social network platform Google+. Estimates put the start of dismantling Google+ at the summer of 2014, and the process should be complete by the beginning of 2015. Google is not completely getting rid of Google+, though. Instead of competing directly with Facebook, Google has decided to use Google+ as a way to enhance content search results and allow content authors to stand out from the crowd.
Focus More On Other Social Networks
As part of the list of Google predictions for 2014 that were listed earlier in the year, the most persistent prediction is that social media will play a larger role in bringing traffic to websites. While Google is going to dismantle its own social networking platform, it still wants websites and content creators to connect directly with readers to add more value to content.
Some of the spring 2014 Google updates will include algorithms that analyze a website's social media presence to see if there is value being offered to users. Google outlawed irrelevant content on websites years ago and forced users to only have content pertinent to their website online. In other words, gardening websites could no longer post content about personal finance to get more traffic. Now, Google will be watching social media activity associated with website URLs to make sure that there is no irrelevant content on social media, either.
Soft Panda Update
Google predictions can be hard to make because Google does not release a time line to outline when it will make changes. It was widely expected that later in 2014, Google would release a small modification to the Panda algorithm that has been prevalent since 2012. However, what wasn't expected was that the update would come much sooner than that: Word that Google's Panda 4.0 update had arrived came on May 21.
The Panda algorithm is the one that forces website owners to focus on linking strategies that are more natural. Websites were immediately and harshly punished for using purchased links when Panda was first released. This new update to the algorithm looks to enhance the idea that websites must link only to relevant partners or else face stiff penalties.
The Future Is Mobile
Google recognized a long time ago that mobile search needs are much different than the needs of desktop users. The mobile version of the Google search engine has been refined repeatedly over the past few years, and those refinements have picked up pace with the rise in the popularity of mobile computing. Google is being quiet on the kinds of changes it intends to make with mobile search engines, but it is expected that concise and accurate content will be the focus.
When Google speaks, the online world listens. Unfortunately, Google never says much about its algorithm updates in advance, which drives website owners crazy. But there has been plenty of evidence to suggest that Google plans on being very active for the remainder of 2014.