OK, for 2009 and 2010 I had made my huge 30 Web Trends lists. Some of them turned out be true others did not. No surprise here. This year I turned a bit lazy. I won’t offer you 30 predictions for 2011 I’m quite sure about I will predict only the things I’m almost absolutely sure about. OK, maybe some of them are a bit funny or over the top but who wants business as usual?
SEO won’t die in 2010. SEO has been pronounced dead even before the official terms has been coined. In 2011 SEO will be alive and kicking as ever. I don’t even need to get into details here. On the other hand I’m pretty sure that people who call SEO “dead” will again have a huge following.
Google will remain the king of search and it’s business model will also be still more than 90% advertising based. In spite of all the tool and feature creep and the frantic attempts by Google to earn money from other goods and services Google will remain an “advertising company” like Google CEO Eric Schmidt called it. They may remove the search feature altogether though in near future in favor of high quality results (ads).
There won’t be the next big thing in social media, the market is saturated. Even the rise of Foursquare or Tumblr won’t change much. People won’t ecstatically flock to new and more networks or social sites. People are fed up. They don’t want more of the same. I use Tumblr myself but it’s nothing revolutionary, it’s just blogging made simple (again). Still myriads of startups will keep on renaming things and reselling your relationships to yourself and advertisers.
Mobile phones, tablets or Google Chrome network computers won’t change the way we use the Internet much. Why? Do you remember the first portable TV sets from decades ago? Does everybody watch TV “on the go” today? Also is everybody using their mobile phones the surf the Web all the time? Most people want to use a phone as a phone. Some people will browse the Web on the go but mobile phones, tablets and other alternative devices won’t replace notebooks or something. The act of using the Web is not something you naturally do outside of your home or workplace most of time. So while some usage will shift to mobile you don’t have to assume that 2011 will make personal computers obsolete. So mobile and local SEO are important but solely as an addition. On the other hand you might want to throw away all your computers as I’m sure Apple will reinvent them again by taking away features like mouse support.
Search will become more social and social media more searchable. The two, search and social media will merge more and more but neither one will replace the other. In case you consider dropping SEO in favor of social media marketing or vice versa you better think holistically. Alternatively you can decide what you want to stop in 2011, eating or drinking?
SEO will still be considered black magic. Although SEO has gone mainstream a while ago most people will still not get it and thus want to “buy 500 PR5 links for $19”.
The SEO reputation problem will prevail as well and thus even more agencies will try to differentiate themselves by calling themselves search marketing, internet marketing, digital marketing, clean up companies or whatever while basically offering SEO services.
Matt Cutts will keep his job. Spam will still be around, sorry to disappoint you!
Google CEO Eric Schmidt will keep on entertaining us with his Orwellian newspeak on privacy and the likes: “Don’t like Streetview? Just move.”
While Eric Schmidt will entertain us, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook will keep on annoying us with new even more vexing features and privacy disasters. Advanced “Facebook Stalk” features are already on the way.
So you see 2011 will be quite similar to 2010. The Web is in a phase of slowing down. That’s my overall impression after following it since 1995 and participating since 1997. The above mentioned predictions will most likely come true as they describe processes that are taking place already.