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Jonthan Wickham: 5 Predictions for the Future of Online Marketing (Part II of II)


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#3 The Rise of Mobile

Users accessing the web via mobile devices have been on the rise for a number of years. Growth trends show by 2016 mobile queries are expected to exceed desktop by 27.8 billion.

This presents a massive opportunity for businesses to take advantage of this new form of traffic.

Google has now come up with a different listing of results pages for mobile devices.  This means that websites that are not specifically optimized for mobile devices will suffer in organic placement on smartphones and tablets. In that there is such a massive shift with users accessing the Internet with these kinds of devices, this could mean a huge loss in organic visibility.

The concept of a mobile responsive website is new to many business owners. We predict that as accessing websites with mobile devices increases, more websites will need to be optimized for mobile browsing. This presents a massive opportunity for companies to capitalize on providing this service.

#4 Increased Value of Social Media

There has been a constant debate over how social media affects the SERPs. There were recently a few interesting studies on Moz and SearchEngineLand that show a very high correlation with the number of Google Plus likes and organic rankings. Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Web Spam Team, wrote a response to these studies saying that Google+ has no effect on organic SERPs. He went on to say that this simply shows correlation not causation.

Whatever the fact is for the time being, we predict that social media will have an increased effect on a website’s organic placement.

Google has always strived to provide the user with the most accurate results pages. Content and websites being consumed and shared via social media are powerful ways to evaluate the quality of a website. We predict that Google and the other search engines will increase how they value social interaction in their ranking algorithm.

#5 New Focus on User Experience & Website Structure

Google has taken extreme measures to penalize websites that provide a low quality user experience. In 2011 Google introduced the Panda Update to its ranking algorithm. This was a big step in actually incorporating user experience and website performance as secondary metrics for evaluation a website’s organic placement.

There are a lot of different factors that go into creating a good user experience. The first, and most obvious, is the website’s load speed. This is a factor that is extremely easy for Google to measure, and has been an increasing factor in how a website is placed in the SERPs.

The Panda Update actually incorporated machine learning to evaluate which website were high quality. We predict that Google’s algorithm will continue to evolve and get better at determining which websites deserve top placement.

We predict that as the Internet evolves and business owners become more experienced, there will be a new focus on website design. If you think about it, websites are really still in their infancy. Many influential business owners and marketing directors don’t yet have a firm grasp of the Internet. As that generation retires and a new generation steps into those positions, there will be a new standard of quality.

Everyone will agree that the Internet is here to stay. In my opinion, it is going to be the main marketing channel of the 21st century. Maybe the only thing that has stayed consistent with Google and the other search engines is that they are ever evolving. It is going to be the responsibility of business owners and web masters to stay on the cutting edge of the industry.

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