It seems like yesterday when my idea of fun was making client websites move up and down Alta Vista search results after a code change and page refresh.
December is known for many things, like holidays, days off, fourth quarter taxes and snow. For we web folks, it’s also a time to analyze and review the consistent and twisted Google roller coaster algorithms and every word Matt Cutts delivered to his search engine marketing flock. This is the time where we review the past and ponder the future, make predictions and check those from last year to see who won or lost.
This year I decided to make some predictions of my own. Since nobody predicted Jill Whalen would ever retire from her search engine optimization career, I feel safe in jumping in with mine just to see if my Zen Mom visionary skills are razor sharp.
1. I predict that PubCon will FINALLY have a regional seminar in Philadelphia or a surrounding suburb so I can drive there and save money on flights.
2. The backlash against Google will continue to develop into an underground movement of defectors. I don’t believe these fed-up folks will run to Bing or Yahoo!. Rather, they will rally around a new search engine being built in the underground caverns of Mt. Shasta with the help of alien technology donated by Star People who have been watching this whole thing and laughing at us.
3. WordPress has had its heyday. New blogging platforms that are easier to use are already here. Why? We got greedy, okay? WordPress was for bloggers, not enterprise content management systems with bells and whistles and widgets for layouts. So yeah. Bloggers are back! Remember them? The story-tellers from 14 years ago are going to make a huge comeback. Which reminds me of the time years ago when I found the blog of some New York gigolo who had trouble with his girlfriend, who apparently screamed louder than any of his clients. I love stories like that!
4. You know I’m going to say it so I’ll just get it done and out of the way so we can move on. Usability will be even more important that ever! Why? Because “users” who use websites are people. People have brains with neurons and need information. People have credit cards and PayPal and need to buy stuff. Search engine bots have neither.
5. “She’s breaking up, Captain” My sense is that we’re sick and tired of feeling sick and tired of the constant onslaught of privacy invasion, hacking, spam and all the uglies that turned website ownership and sharing our lives on Facebook a real kick in the pants. I predict we are going to hide. This is a true disaster.
6. You laugh. But think about it. We who own, use, build or market websites are like the toys in Toy Story who just want to be loved. Our intentions are to please our customers, readers, clients and friends with our day to day humanbeingness. We never asked for our information to be stolen or sold. We certainly never gave permission to be tracked, traced, spied on and stalked by every engine, cookie, bot and remote viewer out there. I predict we will “play dead” until we feel safe and we won’t feel that way until things change with the Internet. We will pick and choose who we play with, however.
7. “To infinity and beyond.” I foresee 2014 as The Year of Buzz and The Year of Mrs. Nesbitt. When we develop new spaces where we feel safe or fortify existing ones, we will fly. Online communities are making a tremendous return for the simple reason that people are tribal in nature. SEOChat, Cre8asiteforums and Webmasterworld are thriving because there are no ads plastered everywhere and distractions out the gazoo. Blogs that are simple are returning to an audience that just wants to read. I predict new vertical communities and websites with less noise, more substance, and a keen and swift army of folks protecting the property from invasive online marketing tactics, hackers, etc. Meanwhile, the drunken Buzz Lightyear’s among you all will wear your pretty aprons, call yourselves Mrs. Nesbitt and serve up the same old website crap. Snap out of it!
8. Who will retire next? I have a gut feeling about a famous Boykin dude who, after building the largest Internet Marketing company on the planet, with the added sense to include usability and conversions design and testing to the mountain of services, announces he is dead, records messages in music videos backwards, moves to a private island he loving names “Apple” and re-writes the lyrics to “Let it Be” while watching the waves on the beach with his new Google Glasses. Wait. I have him confused with Paul, or John. Silly me.