Let’s take a moment and theorize about the future of SEO and social media. What are some possibilities about the future of the industry? I mean let’s face it, Google and Bing don’t really want you to be able to game the system. They want to level the playing field and make it all about real marketing and real popularity. Furthermore, social media is so new that drastic changes are imminent. So here are some predictions about the future of search engine optimization and social.
1. +1s will never be the end all
Google + is going to grow, but +1s will never be the only external metric to influence rankings. There are too many ways to manipulate it. Also, the network will never be quite large enough to have the data pool that links and citations can offer.
2. Citations will matter and links will change
We already know that anchor text has a threshold. But anchor text will continue to deteriorate even more. To compensate for the loss of anchor text credibility Google may look at the text surrounding the link and attribute the value of that link based on the keyword density of that page and the overall theme of the website.
Google may also pay closer attention to citations. How many times is your site mentioned online? And not just on webpages, on social media sites as well.
3. Social media marketing and SEO will become the same thing
You need to know both already to do well in Internet marketing, but moving forward it is going to be even more important. Especially with the new Facebook Opengraph Search! Now if you are a social media marketer and you say you don’t know anything about search you really aren’t very good at your job. On the other hand, if you don’t use social media strategies to supplement your search engine optimization then you are living way in the past. So recognize this change is coming, if it is not already here.
4. There will never be one login, there will be three or four
Have you ever heard someone talk about one master login for the Internet? Basically, you log into one portal and it gives you a web experience that is so great you never have to leave. Facebook is trying to do this, so is Google (really players like COX and Verizon may be focusing on this too). But there will never just be one that rules them all. Instead there will 3 or 4 major ones and it will be interesting to see which area of tech it comes from. No matter which businesses get lucky enough to be front runners in this race there will be many SEO and social media marketers eyes on them.
5. Referral traffic will become more important
I honestly feel that people underestimate referral traffic. Its traffic, it converts, it’s great! So why not focus on it more. Anyways, with social media becoming so big, referral traffic is going to grow more and more. Especially with all the content marketing people are doing on social media sites. Furthermore, as the Google and Bing indexes get increasingly competitive, it will be harder to get good search traffic. Instead people will focus on marketing to their communities (we already do this for our clients it works like a charm).
6. Schema.org will be the next big thing
Schema.org markup is already a big thing for search engine optimization. But as time continues it will get even bigger. Google is heavily invested in this technology and if they want to make their search results really shine, they need to be able to offer more customized data. Schema is not going anywhere and it will only get bigger this year.
7. Facebook Opegraph SEO will become a new niche
I know we already touched on this a little. But Facebook Opengraph Search is going to be on every Internet marketing experts radar. Brands are going to be asking, “How do I get my page to show up?” Internet marketers are going to need to know the answer to this question if they want to keep their clients.
8. LinkedIn will be a focus for every online business
LinkedIn is already huge. But this year all of the people waiting on the outskirts are going to jump in head first. How can they not! With the new advertising and job posting abilities, huge discussion forums and completely redesigned LinkedIn pages, businesses everywhere, whether B2B or B2C are going to be getting involved with the site. Also, who doesn’t want to at least have a LinkedIn page to represent their business? And while you’re at it, set it up so your blog automatically posts to the page giving your content more exposure for SEO.
9. Pinterest will struggle to monetize
Pinterest is in a little bit of a tough spot right now. I have seen many websites copy the design and functionality and utilize it as their own. There is a new app that turns Facebook into Pinterest and there is even a WordPress theme that looks just like it. Overall, Pinterest is a great site that many people use. But the word in the industry is that its growth has slowed and it needs to bring something new to the table. Couple this with the idea that they are not making any money and it is clear the website has some things to work out.
10. Hundreds of smaller social sites will die
There are over 1,000 social media sites out there on the Internet, all in various stages of their life. I know, we have a service where we secure your profile name on all of these sites so no one steals it. Some of these sites have hundreds of people on them and others have millions. These little social media websites cannot hang on forever. Funding dries up, people get tiered and have to pay bills. Anyone who has been hanging on to a slow growing social media site dream for the last couple years is going to have to accept that as of now, the major players have arrived and you are just not one of them.
11. Exact match domains will continue to lose value
The Google exact match domain update was a BIG deal. Literally on that day domains that used to be worth tens of thousands of dollars had their value reduced to hundreds or just barely thousands. In my opinion, no one really wants to see an exact match domain anymore. They want to see awesome branding. With social media marketing being such a big part of the equation people can pick something fun and exciting and take it to the next level.
12. Mashable will lose popularity
Mashable is one of the biggest social media news sites online. But they recently did a redesign that was a little too aggressive. It hard to even look at the site now. This redesign may have caused them to shoot themselves in the foot. Also, isn’t everyone a little tired of seeing Pete Cashmore post his face on everything he owns? I mean we are all about success and positive self image but geez.
13. FourSquare will add new functionality to compete
Honestly, for an app/website with such a basic purpose FourSquare has really done an amazing job. I thought they would have been out of business by now but FourSquare continues to innovate. If they continue to add new features and improve their already excellent user interface they will continue to do well as a business.
14. Google will develop entirely new markets
Have you seen the Google car that drives itself? How about Google Glasses? Google has a lot more going on than search and they are good at just about everything. Google will come out with new markets that people will be running to catch up with. And yes, Google autopilot driving and the Google Glass Project will be two of them.
15. Ignite Visibility will be an SEO powerhouse
Sorry but we are really excited about the future of this company. We work hard for our clients and intend to grow with and lead the industry.