Our Top 5 Predictions Regarding SEO in 2013

cystal ball

Let me look into my crystal ball...

One of the things I hate doing the most is offering predictions. That’s because I’m often completely wrong about what’s going to happen. For example, I thought that Romney would either win by a thin margin or lose by a landslide. I didn’t predict at all the razor thin margin that Obama won by in November. That said, since I’ve been asked for my predictions on 2013 and SEO, here they are:

Social Media Will Get More Important

I have another piece I wrote recently about how social signals are not enough if you want to rank well in Google and that is very true. That having been said, I believe that social media will become much more important as time goes on.

The fact is that social media, love it or hate it is here to stay and nothing anyone can do is going to change it. People ask each other for suggestions all the time and the loners out there who don’t interact are going to be left out in the cold.

That having been said, I believe that Facebook will become ever less important in the world of social media. There are any number of up and coming challengers to the dominant network, including Google + and Twitter. Plus, I have seen other platforms showing up more recently, from Pinterest to Zeen (okay, not really a social network but a pseudo social network.

Even Disqus is becoming very important in the world of social media (though I do find it tends to encourage an awful lot of mud slinging and not a whole lot of rational talk. Then again, that is a big part of social media).

I also firmly believe that there is room for still more social media online. I’m not really sure exactly what the next big thing in the world of social media is going to be (and I refuse to try to predict it either) but I believe that we have not seen the end of innovation in this realm.

Twitter and Pinterest were two brand new efforts to redefine the social media realm after Facebook became popular and even Facebook was an effort to create something new on top of the popularity of MySpace.

I believe that 2013 may well give rise to yet another social network that most of us have never heard of or which perhaps has not even been created yet. Watch for some new concept to show up and get wildly popular in a short time (and again, I don’t know what it will be but I believe it will happen).

Junk Content and Links Will Continue to Disappear

This is another fairly obvious thing that we should all be aware of – the cheap, junky content that so many of us have been purchasing for next to nothing is going to continue to become useless. I know that there are a great many people still pushing various kinds of spinning programs but I have yet to find one that actually works like a human being does.

Mind you, I get the appeal of cheap content – we all need to fill our websites on a regular basis and having a real writer write real content is very expensive. However, for all the advances in artificial intelligence, I believe that content written by real human beings will become ever more important in 2013 and not less important.

I recently hired a guy on Warrior Forum to post content to my personal finance blog. I fired him after a few weeks and went back to doing it myself. The guy was posting remarkably poor looking spun junk that he found on the web. Yes, he was super cheap but that’s what you get when you want to pay super cheap prices (and yes, I know it’s ironic that a writer is hiring someone to write for him).

Google’s servers may not be able to churn out content which reads well and looks good but one thing they definitely are capable of doing is actually figuring out whether the content you created is pure junk or not. They can and will continue to weed out all the cheap, junky content that you think you were so clever to buy and they will punish websites which don’t cooperate.

Similarly, the cheap junky links that you buy on Fiverr and other places are going to become increasingly worthless as time goes on. I predict that many of us will actually end up spending a significant amount of time using the Google disavow tool in order to remove some of the most egregious links which we may well have created ourselves.

In short, 2013 will be the year the Internet strikes back and good content which is well written along with quality links are the things that people actually look for.

Google Itself Will Be Less Important

Now here’s a bit of irony for you: as much as Google is turning the screws on SEO people, I believe that it will also make itself that much less relevant to SEO people. The amount of competition for trying to make it to the top of the search engine rankings is quite fierce as I’m sure everyone knows. I regularly see offers from SEO companies where they promise to get you to the top of the rankings or work for free.

However, I am also seeing some very smart people in the world of SEO take a step back and completely change the whole paradigm for how they measure success. Instead of an artificial ranking where they say they will get you to the very top of the SERPs, many SEO people are now offering set increases in quality traffic.

I believe this trend is going to accelerate in 2013 as Google continues to wreak havoc on the world of SEO. We’re going to see more and more efforts by the search engine giant to stop people from gaming the system and this will mean in turn that Google will become less and less important for generating traffic.

Instead, I believe that we will see an increase in alternative methods of traffic generation. I wrote a while back in another prediction post that in the future, we’re going to see a lot of people who used to be “SEO” experts becoming something else entirely – traffic generation experts.

This can only continue to become the reality because there really are a great many other ways to generate traffic other than by using Google. And no, I’m not talking just about creating viral videos on YouTube or creating a viral campaign on Facebook. I mean that there will be all kinds of different changes wrought where ideas we may not have even thought of will be used for traffic generation, leaving Google in the dust.

Mind you, I don’t expect that Google will become completely and utterly irrelevant. I expect that Google will remain the dominant search engine for some time. However, people are increasingly not looking to the search engines to find the information they need. Instead, people are using alternative sources and those sources are going to become increasingly important as time goes on.

Authorship Will Become Increasingly ImportantGoogle authorship

I know – I just got through telling you that Google will become less important in the world of SEO in 2013 and that is true. More people will be looking for alternative methods of traffic generation than ever before. That said, while Google will be less important it doesn’t mean it won’t still be pretty important (i.e. instead of being 90% important, it may become 80% important this year).

One of the things that will keep Google relevant and that will become a big trend this year is the authorship program that Google created. Readers may have heard passing reference to this. I have also seen a handful of WordPress plugins which can handle this. In essence, the authorship program allows you to claim authorship of specific content.

The idea behind it is simple – you can now find out which sites have the writers you like the best and you can vote those writers up while ignoring everyone else. This in theory would allow more people to find the kind of content they really want to read as opposed to the junky content which still clogs much of the web (though again, that is becoming less and less prevalent).

I predict that 2013 is going to be the year of Google authorship because people will become more and more interested in using it as a way to boost their traffic to their websites.

Getting in on authorship by the way is pretty simple – you need a Google + account with a decent, business like image and then you can either manually set up your content for authorship or use a WordPress plugin (if you use WordPress, which I highly recommend) to make every one of your posts follow your authorship. Of course, if you write junk then you may not want to try that idea…

Another Major Update from the Google godsThe Google gods

Finally, I believe that we will see another shakeup from Google this year. It’s not all that hard to predict – they seem to be coming out with new major algorithm updates every single year and so I believe that we’ll see another one this year. Of course, predicting what that major update will be is a lot trickier, but here is my best guess:

I’m guessing that Google is going to look for a way to crack down on fake social signals. Given that we’ve all been taught over the past year or two how important social signals are, I think the Google gods will be trying to find some way to discount the links we create automatically.

To protect yourself from potential Google wrath, I suggest that if you use automated programs you ensure that you use spintax and that you test to make sure that every comment you make using the spintax will actually sound okay once it appears. I also highly recommend that you use a proxy service to make sure that there is no footprint from a single IP address to tell Google that your social signals are artificial.

Bottom Line

Here is one thing that we can all be sure of: Just as it has every single year since the very first websites were created in the mid 1990s, the Internet will change and will throw us some curve balls. We’ll be surprised by some and we’ll know to expect others. Probably half of the predictions I and everyone have made will prove to be wrong and the other half will be right.

In other words, if you want to know what to expect in the SEO world in 2013, expect the unexpected and you’ll never be surprised.

30 thoughts on “Our Top 5 Predictions Regarding SEO in 2013

  1. You made some very interesting prediction here and I hope that some of them really do come true. Thank you for the amount if time you have obviously spent on this post I look forward to seeing what you do next and I hope that it will be just as fascinating as this one was, I really learned a lot about what they think is going to happen.

    1. My pleasure. I believe at least some of them have already come true since I wrote this though.

  2. Ok so these people think they can use a crystal ball now is that it? I am shocked to think that people are actually listening to this stuff and thinking it is true. You can predict so much but not everything that could happen in this world of technology that is ever growing. Thank you for posting this I look forward to your next one.

    1. Hey. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no prophet. I’m really making educated guesses based on the past. We’ll see if they come true or not.

  3. I don’t have any data to confirm this, but just from my heavy use of the internet, I have to agree that social media is becoming more important as a means of driving traffic to your profile and even your website. In fact, I have been wondering if I should look to promote my social media accounts more than bothering with SEO. That said, Facebook is more customizable than ever and should be considered as a replacement for a website.

    1. No question it is becoming more and more important. Check out my recent post about Klout where I discuss what’s involved in this and why it’s so important.

  4. Franklin I am with you on this, it is hard to make predictions like this though. I am hoping that they will come about myself because this would help my ranking a lot after I make some minor adjustments. Your blog is great and you have put a lot of work into it and for that I am sure we are all grateful. Keep up the good work I look forward to reading more.

    1. I admit that predictions can be a fools game. However, I did hedge my bets a bit by putting out predictions which are not too outrageous or ‘out there.’

  5. You have made some pretty sound predictions here and I am sure they will come true simply because they have been around or coming for awhile now. You have done a great job putting this information together and I look forward to seeing your next post, will it be about how the predictions came true? Great work keep it coming.

    1. Yeah, I tend to be pretty shy on predictions because as I said, I’ve seen some doozys that never panned out so I err on the side of caution (and then I look like a biblical prophet when they all come true ;)).

  6. I have to agree with many of these predictions. That is why I have begun to focus on promoting and fully utilizing my social media outlets. Besides the networks that are mentioned in this article, I would have to add Linked In to the group of social media platforms that have proven to be effective. It’s kind of like a networking outlet on steroids.

    1. Yes, social media is definitely here to stay. I personally have never cared for it myself but I have started to adapt and learn to be more involved because it is important for SEO.

  7. I think Google is always going to be important and I think as things change and people start going to other providers that Google is going to get back into it heavily. I don’t think that Google is going to let go of the control that they have right now, let’s put it that way. Keep up the good work I look forward to trying new search engines though.

    1. Well when a company has billions of dollars in reserve and seems to be trying to expand in all directions it’s pretty dangerous to count them out completely.

  8. I thought this was very interesting but I think that some of these have already come true haven’t they? You did a great job putting this together and you used intrigue to get people to read your blog by putting the word prediction in there. That was very clever and I am hoping to use that myself sometime. Keep up the good work you are very creative.

    1. Could be. It is now nearly the middle of 2013. We’ll see at the end of the year how many of these in fact came true.

  9. I will make sure to pay attention to these predictions very closely, I have made some similar to this myself and I am curious to see who is going to be right. Thank you for posting this because I am a bit of an OCD freak when it comes to things like this being just right and yours was perfect. You do good work and I hope that you will continue.

    1. Thank you. Of course, one never knows with predictions. They may all be wrong or only some of them may be right.

  10. It is interesting that one of the major predictions mentioned here is about the next big social media networks that will emerge in the coming years. I think we won’t have to wait that long because the next big thing is already here. I am not referring to one particular site, but rather a trend. And that trend seems to be networks that allow others to help other persons’ content go viral by sharing it. I saw a report about it on Night Line.

    1. Yeah but that’s not really a social network. That’s just pretty much any old social network and promoting it there. I’m still waiting to see which if any will emerge to be this year’s Pinterest but I believe it will happen.

  11. The host of this blog certainly knows what he is talking about when it comes to SEO and web marketing in general. Even if some or most of his predictions come true, the one thing that is certain is that there will be social media networks that will come out of seemingly nowhere and take the internet by storm. The next big wave is already being developed and planned out.

    1. That wasn’t a very hard prediction considering it’s pretty much happened every year for the past few years. Still waiting to see which one this year will bring though…

  12. I think Yasir could very well be onto something with his prediction about the next big thing in social media that will take the web by storm. One such concept could be that of Buzzfeed: the so called King of the Internet. This Website has mastered the art of going viral, writing about all things, well, buzzworthy. I learned about them on Nightline. Maybe this concept will one day be featured on TV.

    1. To be honest, I haven’t heard much about Buzzfeed. Interesting thought though. I’ll have to take a look and see what it’s about.

  13. Everyone would like to be able to predict the next big thing or even the future, for that matter. It reminds me of that comedy, Hot Tub Time Machine, where at the end of the film, we see the two main characters living a life of luxury because they went back to the past and invented Google before Google existed. That’s everyones dream, I’m sure.

    1. Hey, spoilers! I haven’t seen it yet. But seriously, it is indeed everyone’s dream. That’s why I said predictions tend to be pretty dangerous.

  14. You have done a lot of work on this blog post and you did a great job however predictions are just that and they stand a 50-50 chance of being wrong as they do right. You took a risk putting this out here for the world to see so you must be pretty confident in your predictions. Keep up the good work I enjoyed your article a great deal.

    1. As I said, predictions are hard. Sure everyone makes them but sometimes we’re wildly off base on what we predict. The only way to know will be to check back at the end of the year and see which of my predictions came true. If they all did, I’m either really lucky or I’m some of kind of modern day Nostradamus.

  15. You have done a great job on this post it is very intriguing and I know people are going to have a lot of questions about it so I hope you are ready for that. Thank you for the amount of work you have put into this I hope you will keep posting more like this because believe it or not it keep people looking out for these things.

    1. I’m always ready for any and all questions any of our readers may have ;). Feel free to ask away.

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