It’s that time of year again when everyone who’s anyone in SEO takes it upon themselves to prove how clever they are by predicting what’s coming next year and confirming that smartness by reviewing their predictions from last year.
Here’s my guide to making completely accurate predictions for next year. To get the full effect you’ll need to predict now and review in a year. Then every year, as you review and get almost all your predictions right, your reputation as an SEO genius will increase exponentially.
1. Start with some obvious stuff that you’re sure won’t be wrong. Keep the language vague too, just in case.
Google will continue to clamp down on bad linking practises, continue to improve entity search and will reward good mobile experiences.
That’s your baseline taken care of. Remember, when you come to blog next year, people won’t read the whole article. You want to make sure the first few predictions are hits and they’ll leave thinking you’re really, really clever.
2. Predict something vague but guaranteed to happen to some extent but which can be twisted and spun next year to make it sound like you knew what you were talking about. This is similar to the classic cold reading techniques used by mediums and other charlatans.
I predict a major acquisition by a big advertising player of a large digital agency.
Big companies buy smaller ones, that’s what they do. Some will do this next year, guaranteed. The bigger the better for me but the words “major” and “large” are relative so I can’t lose.
3. Predict that something that hasn’t changed in a long time still won’t change.
Bing and other search engines will not make any major inroads into Google’s dominance. Google’s main source of income will continue to be advertising. I’ll even go further and predict that the amount of space in SERPs taken up by paid results will increase too (also see #7).
4. Predict an increase in a meaningless statistic which is likely to increase anyway but will sound to some like evidence of a shift in the industry that you’ve been pushing.
Content marketing/inbound marketing/negative SEO will continue to rise in popularity as judged by search volume on Google Trends.
5. Think of some areas of SEO in which most SEOs don’t partake for good reason and predict no growth in this area.
There will be no growth in optimising for myspace/blekko/digg search.
No, there will not.
6. Find an area of innovation that major social networks have all included recently and predict more of it. Make it difficult enough to prove either right or wrong that no-one will ever bother.
Better and increased use of video features on social networks for smartphone users.
Video features are always improving and there’s a long way to go. A no-brainer this.
7. Check what Google’s been doing over the last few years, predict they’ll keep doing more of that.
1. Increased focus on trying to understand data from webpages. This will include encouraging webmasters to use more structured data.
2. Google will provide more answers on its results page whilst providing less traffic to the actual sites. Sites will become more annoyed by this.
The second sentence of the second prediction here is an added bonus. In reality, who wouldn’t be annoyed when a search engine takes your content, uses it to answer their user’s question and generate advertising dollars but gives you nothing in return?
8. Make some predictions that can never really be proven correct or incorrect anyway. Come the end of the year you can argue you’ve seen a big shift towards them without fear of any serious questioning.
Google will increase the use of negative Morris Equations and military grade eigenvector calculations in its algorithms.
9. Find a technology which has been becoming commonplace over the last 6 months and predict that this is “its year”.
This is the year of the “internet of things”.
It might be or it might not. What’s guaranteed is that next year you’ll be able to find enough evidence that you can claim at least a partial win. Also, it’s late in your article and no-one will be reading by now anyway.
10. Just repeat what everyone else has been predicting for months.
Video is going to be huge for online marketing.
If it’s right then great, if not at least you’re not alone and hey, you got all your other predictions right!
If you’re coming back to this article a year on in order to help review last years predictions, you’re on a winner because you already know that you totally stacked the cards in your favour. Just go through them, ticking off their correctness and confirming your cleverness. Be careful not to go too far though, drop in a few “I got a bit lucky with this one…” and “I’ll not take credit for this because…” just to appear humble. It’s cool, everyone will think you actually deserve credit for being really clever anyway.
Well done, you’re now well on your way to becoming a true rockstar SEO guru.