December 21, 2012

Ben's predictions for 2013

Published: 21 December 2012 

My team is 100% correct in their predictions for the future in their tactical areas of expertise...

  1. Steve's predictions on Web Design: Mobile to Responsive, Retina displays, End of Flash & Location Centric Website Design
  2. Stacey's prediction about Marketing Strategy being at the heart of good digital marketing
  3. Selina's highlight of marketing in real-time to mobile devices and the work-flow of marketers becoming more "agile", a principle borrowed from programmers

Before I wade in with my predictions, I thought I'd give a little run down of two of the biggest things that hit me in 2012.

2012 big thing number one - True Strategy

We've talked strategically to clients for years. A big part of this is taking the time to listen to clients about their goals, their business plans and their strategy. I've personally consulted to many clients about what their options are and given considered recommendations based on what I would do given their situation and their options.

I did an MBA, a good one from a great business school in London but until I watched a video by Rhea Drysdale in June 2012 about the difference between Vendors and Consultants I'd been making mistake after mistake by confusing a Vendor relationship for a Consulting one. They are different!

Thank you @Rhea. We're very clear these days about what we can do for clients.

2012 big thing number two - Inspiration

One word, Mozcon. Mozcon was simply awesome. The speakers, the attendees and the place.

I was blown away by these and more...

  • #RCS - Real Company Stuff @wilreynolds
  • Link Building Magic - @paddymoogan
  • Pitches - @ipullrank

My prediction for 2013

The days of SEO as a purely tactical exercise to generate synthetic signals for Google's algo to detect and recognise are numbered. I can't think of a serious player in the SEO industry that I've read recently who isn't 100% in agreement with this.

The development of co-citations here, here and here have been discussed as the beginning of the end for anchor-text.

The death of blog networks is a just a symptom of a disease that many SEOs have suffered....

  1. Simple scalable link building technique appears
  2. Early adopters make hay while that sunshines
  3. The technique is implemented in less and less sophisticated ways until people "push the limits, and that isn't OK" (to quote Matt Cutts)
  4. Algorithmic devaluation or elimination of those signals is then just a question of WHEN not IF.

Think infographics and guest blogs posts.

Slide #32 of

The spirit (not just the word) of Google's Webmaster Guidelines mean that websites need to look to what users want, not just faking something worthy of a great ranking.

There are clear indications from Google that this is their objective.... manipulation is a step too far, "push the limits" and watch out.

Everyone knows that great content is what we all aspire to. How many blog posts waffle on to a conclusion about great content being essential yet avoid any definition of what "great content" actually is.

I sat in the Westin Seattle watching Rand Fishkin give his head-to-head presentation about "Inbound Marketing" and played this video from the Seattle Children's Hospital and 799 SEOs from around the world well-up (me included).

Drum roll..... (profound statement follows)

I predict that Emotion will be the driving force behind Search Engine Optimisation.

To quote a master orator Zig Ziglar...

"Say what? You say that is profound? That has always been the case (sic) Ben"

Yes, great writers and speakers have always known this.

Ziglar asks if you've ever been to the movies and cried? and if so do you think it is because they put something in the seats? Our minds are the key to connecting with one another through this amazing technology to inspire and motivate informed customers.

The differentiating factor between good and great content will be (as it is today) emotion.... but as the synthetic workarounds fail and fail all that will remain is the real company stuff (#RCS).

Harness emotion into your content creation; it WILL be linkworthy.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Best wishes for 2013.

Ben Maden

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