If there are two things that could be said about me, they would be that I hate jumping on the New Year’s list blog bandwagon and that I am a complete and total hypocrite. So, because it’s New Years and since this IS the time for reflection and forward thinking, I suppose it’s best to take a “when in Rome” approach. With that in mind, and with 2013 slowly dwindling in the rearview mirror, it’s time to ring in the New Year with a host of SEO, Social, Local Search, & Content marketing predictions for 2014. Buckle up, it’s going to be a wild ride!
Search Engine Optimization Predictions
As we mentioned quite a few times on this site, SEOs everywhere were seemingly always in a tizzy about something in 2013. Whether it was Penguin, Hummingbird, or Panda updates, or simple changes that “would end SEO as we know it”, there was always something to get mad about, and always something to make SEO types just a bit less excited about the future. Fortunately, this fear of the future (and of Google’s update power) always turned out to be unfounded, and I’m predicting more of the same in the future.
As you can see from the following, so are some of the most well-respected experts in the industry:
- SEO Strategy: Looking Ahead to 2014: If you enjoy updates (like we know you do), then boy does Social Media Today have some great news for you! According to them, Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird aren’t the only updates that we’ll have to deal with in the near future; in fact, SEO will continue to evolve in 2014, just as dramatically as it had in 2013 and the year before that (and the year before that, and so on and so forth). In all seriousness, however, this is a great article looking at SEO as a whole and how its many parts will continue to change. It’s even got a great section about social media and its improved role that it will take as the year goes on. Trust me; if you’re looking for something that’s not too heavy but useful nonetheless, this is the perfect article to check out.
- SEO Predictions for 2014: Link Earning, Google Authorship, and AuthorRank: SEMRush has long been a leader in the search marketing tools industry, and this article shows precisely the insight that has gotten them to that position. Though it retreads many of the points made in the article linked above, more fantastic points and predictions are made about the future importance of link earning—a change in philosophy from what we know as link building—and how that will effect content sites and SEO as we know it. You will also get a few juicy nuggets about Google Authorship and AuthorRank, both of which had their infancy in 2013 but will gain prominence as 2014 rears its ugly head.
- 10 Marketing Predictions for 2014: This article from Taylon Chandler I found especially interesting, and not just because it has even more awesome SEO predictions (alright, I’ll admit it, I kind of like this New Year’s list thing now). Though he mostly focuses on how SEO is going to evolve, providing some predictions on how content will need to become more quality and how the Hummingbird update will force marketers to be more conversational (which really is one of my favorite predictions so far), he also talks a bit about search engine optimization is going to affect real world, brick and mortar based stores. Add in the bits about how SEO will be affected by brand new technologies (like multi-screen and multi-platforms) and you get one of the more unique prediction lists I’ve read.
- Top 10 Predictions for Video in 2014: Let me preface this by giving you some major advice: if you aren’t using video to further your SEO endeavors, then you are doing something wrong. Video content is every bit as important as written content, and can be that extra something that kicks your site through to the next level; and, as Greg Jarboe (from SearchEngineWatch.com) puts it, this is only going to become truer throughout the next year. Though this article isn’t really about general SEO, it definitely is something that you need to read and keep in mind for this coming year (since so many seem to forget about the importance of video in the SEO world).
Content Marketing Predictions
Content marketing has long been known as the king of SEO signals, so what will 2014 have in store for us? Well, if all signs are true, we’re in for another year (or five) of content reigning over other SEO activities; content is and will remain king. That doesn’t mean, however, that there won’t be any changes. Here are a few collections of predictions that should clear the air of mystery surrounding this incredibly important facet of internet marketing:
- Leading Experts Predict the Content Marketing Trends for 2014: Yes, content is already powerful as a marketing tool—and for good reason too; however, we may only be seeing the beginning of what content can do, according to these experts. If 2013 was the year that content became the poster boy of online marketing, 2014may be the year that companies begin fully concentrating on this powerful tool, making it the number one focus within the internet marketing realm. There are some other interesting predictions listed here as well, all of which are from the best content marketing minds around.
- 50 Content Marketing Predictions for 2014: This one’s a bit of a doozy, but it is the definitive source for content marketing predictions from industry giants such as Mike Weir (LinkedIn), Mark Shaefer (Schaefer Marketing Solutions) and John Fox (Venture Marketing). Better yet, these predictions concern the entirety of content marketing, offering future insight on everything from the increased usefulness of Vine, Gifs, and Instagram to how personalization will become the driving force behind content marketing campaigns.
- The Content Marketing Forecast: 10 Predictions for 2014: If you’re looking for more business based content marketing predictions, this article from Mashable.com is precisely what you want. Short, sweet, and to the point, it gives a few insightful predictions on how the industry—from a business perspective—will mold around content marketing. Shafqat Islam is certainly on the money with these predictions, and he definitely gives you an idea of what the business place for content marketers will be like in 2014.
Local Search Predictions
Though local search is something that many beginning web marketers forget, 2013 was a year that saw this crucial facet of search engine optimization become easy to use and more prominent than ever. Of course, if the experts’ predictions are right, 2014 might be that much better:
- What Will 2014 Bring for Local Search? 6 Predictions: Local search certainly should be a major part of your marketing plan, and Chris Marentis at Search Engine Land believes that 2014 should show more of the same. Some salient predictions he makes in his article include: a change from national to local marketing campaigns, an improvement in local content marketing due to Google Hummingbird, a more rating and review focused approach by Google, and—of course—more opportunities than ever for companies to shill their brand to local constituents. Overall, it’s a great article, and a must read for those who count local searches as the basis of their traffic.
- Hyperlocal Execs’ 2014 Predictions (Part One): Moz, Foursquare, Booker: For a more broad take on the future of local search, StreetFight offers a host of other high profile SEO minds predictions, as well as some insight on what it means for you. In truth, this was one of my favorite articles about the direction which Local search may be taking, as some truly breathtaking—and a few bold—predictions are made, including the possible use of indoor local search positioning for companies, the growth of mobile payments (further assisting small businesses on their consumers whereabouts so they can make more informed decisions on their marketing campaign), and the further growth of content marketing.
- Where do you See Local Search in 2014?: If you’re looking for expert opinion on local search, this is definitely the article for you. With 26 local search SEO experts weighing in with their predictions for 2014, you’ll get differing viewpoints on pretty much everything you possibly could need to know. Best of all, it’s all very specific and technical—with some experts talking about the possible improved importance of structured data markup schemas, the rise in mobile computing, and how rel=publisher will continue to affect local search. In other words, this should be your go-to article for 2014 predictions on local search.
Social Media Predictions
Let’s get this straight right now; if content is king, then 2013 surely saw social media marketing become its right hand man. As an SEO signal, it quickly became one of the most prominent facets an SEO could focus on, while its ROI remained one of the most solid out of all marketing quadrants. Here are just a few articles outlining what we could easily see from social marketing during 2014:
- The Top 7 Social Media Marketing Trends that will Dominate 2014: For those hoping that social media makes an even bigger jump than it already has, this detailed article by Jayson DeMers has some predictions that may just tickle your fancy. In it, DeMers talks about how social media will cease being the “eh, maybe if we have time” facet of marketing and transition fully into being a tour de force and a highly focused-on objective in the SEO world. He also displays great insight into the importance of Vine and other “micro video/image” sites, all while positing how Google+ will finally become more than the “other” social media marketing site; he even ventures that MySpace may be making a comeback! Bold or no, this is certainly a useful and insightful article that can give you an idea of what kind of transformation Social Media has made, and what leap it’s about to take. It is definitely a must-read.
- 11 Social Media Marketing Predictions to Watch for in 2014: A lot of these articles I’ve posted so far have simply pointed towards trends from 2013 continuing; this article from our friends over at SocialMediaExaminer.com, however, does just a bit more. In fact, author Cindy King is looking forward not simply to a rehash of last year, but an entire overhaul in the social media marketing system. If things go according to the experts highlighted in this article, we could see news feed spamming become a thing of the past, an increase in “smart” marketing, and something users have all been clamoring for, for a long time: forced viability for marketers. In other words, content and marketing strategies used in the social sphere will need to actually be useful to the social network users, rather than simply being billboards for their respective companies. We might even be seeing an improvement in social marketing tools in the way of advertorial 2.0 and possibly even A/B testing measures! The future of social marketing, according to this article anyway, truly seems a progressive one at that!
- 11 Web Marketing and Social Media Trends that will Shape 2014: Not everyone wants to spend an hour reading up on future social media trends, and even fewer like slogging through content that simply isn’t worth it. Fortunately, this article from Stephanie Frasco at SocialMediaToday is a simple, easy to read update on what you can expect in 2014. Granted, she does focus a bit on things we’ve already seen in the articles listed above; but, she puts it into an easy to read, Cliff-Notes format that you won’t find elsewhere. Better yet, Frasco covers a wide range of topics—including a few web marketing predictions—and adds in a few insightful predictions of her own. Just a few things you can expect from this article include predictions about the future mainstream format of mobile marketing, the increasing importance of niche sites (like CafeMom and untapped) in the social media sphere, and the impending growth of Google+.
In a world as complex and ever-changing as web marketing, it’s crucial to set one’s sights forward and prepare oneself for the inevitable changes that may be coming our way. These predictions—and remember, they are only predictions, even if they are well thought out and based on a wealth of industry experience—should help you do precisely that. Thus, continue researching, understand that what’s happening now may not be happening in the future, and make absolute certain your website is ready to roll with the punches. If you do all that and keep these predictions in mind, you and your site almost certainly will have a very happy New Year!