2012 saw a lot of changes and updates. 2013 is definitely going to be a new learning experience for search marketing folks. Though, we cannot predict or project the future, there are certain things that we could avoid, as lessons from our previous experiences.
Let’s take a look.
1. Link Building as we knew it, is no more.
This is probably a no brainer, but link building as we knew it (acquiring links by the numbers) is pushed down the priority scale and other metrics are taking over. Search engines have figured out (are in the process of) newer and sophisticated ways to finding out relevance and authority between Site A and B.
Though quality links and “link votes” will still be a decisive factor, the traditional methods of link building is soon getting outdated.
2. Social Media will influence Search beyond likes and shares.
At this point, we have couple of good reasons to believe that social sharing influences search to some extent.
However, this is a bigger scene and we’ve only touched the tip of the ice berg. Unfortunately, we do not know the inside out of social sharing dynamics, though we know – that social is a big influencing factor to search, and it is growing.
On a high-level, for clarity sake, we have to assume that social sharing signals are more genuine and “countable”, as it adds authority to the content being shared, However, it would be interesting to see how we dive in deep and find more data to interpret.
3. The line between Paid and Organic will start blurring.
If you look back at 3 years, SEO and PPC were the biggest lead generators for business, small and big alike. PPC also touched a high note at some point of time, but with the advent of social channels, PPC’s share of lead gen is diminishing in numbers.
Gone are the days when lead generation was a straight line. Today, people follow more than one channel before making a decision. Multi channel funnels on Analytics is a great example, that shows the complex routes people take before that sign up form.
The lines that clearly demarcated channels like PPC, SEO and Social are blurring and it has pretty much standardized into a matrix format. Search marketers would have to gather their marketing insights from within the matrix to sharpen their search marketing funnels in 2013.
4. User behavior will play a larger role in deciding site qua lity.
We’ve seen multiple instances of Google emphasizing this point, with every search update. Page loading speed, time spent on site and Click through rates are probably some of the basic metrics that we know of, but I’d imagine with Google having access to different channels, there is lot more to this.
Authority, Crowd Sourced Data and Traffic Metrics – We’re talking about a more semantic web where information is categorized and silo’d based on user behavior and demand. With the traditional methods of “by number” metrics diminishing, it will be interesting to see how search goes forward in 2013.