Marketing & Business
piece written on the 26th January 2014 by  

A wedding, business year end, a birthday, a honeymoon and a number of other things occupied a great deal of my time around the 2013/2014 transition and as such I’ve fallen behind in some things I wanted to do – One being a post where I outline some of my predictions for the year ahead in the digital marketing arena. I’ve found a chance to finally think about this and below are my predictions.

2014 Predictions

1. Greater Google+ Integration

The other day a friend of mine updated his Facebook status to something along the lines of, “you should hide your bank pin and important stuff in Google+ because nobody would ever look there” – Yes, I literally laughed out loud at my computer, it was a classic update and well worth the laugh. However, I’ve harped on about Google+ (personal and business) for quite a while, I even published an article on Memeburn that accumulated 388 tweets, 127 shares on LinkedIn, 189 likes and 749 plus’s. Memeburn is a local website and for a post to receive so much traction you’d be in a position to assume that the local market does appreciate Google+?

We’re all plugged into Google, whether it’s GMail or YouTube or one of their many other apps, there’s a connection somewhere and because of that we can’t just write off Google+. On top of that, Google+ is Google’s attempt at giving Facebook and Twitter a run for their money, you think they’re not going to find hugely intelligent ways of incubating us all into it?

So it might not be about how many people are on it, what’s important is personalised search. You build your authority on the platform, as and when you share things and interact, and in return the people who are connected to you (through Google) will see your information in the search results. It’s not all about how many people are active within your circles, it’s about knowing that if you create a strong presence, you’ll have your information showing up in the search results before others.

I predict that we’re going to see more content coming through on a personalised front, but also seeing more content that has received great traction on the Google+ platform.

Follow me on Google+

2. Mobile Importance

For years and years people have said, “this is the year of mobile” and I believe that we’ve crossed that bridge. Anyone operating online, whether your a digital service provider, a blogger or someone just with some brochureware, you’ll know by now that mobile is hugely important. Of course, that’s what we read online or heard whilst talking to people, but I actually looked at accumulated statistics of about 50 Google Analytics accounts and I can confidently say that visitors to websites using mobile devices began to increase significantly a number of months ago.

Through this I believe that we’ll start seeing more and more importance around ensuring that our web presence takes mobile into account. I might even go as far as saying that I believe having a mobile site will play a roll in where your site appears in search. Google has just announced a new Google Bot for crawling smartphone content – guess what’s on Google’s mind?

Side note: With mobile in mind, I believe that app store optimisation will become more important. Here’s a guide if you’re interested.

3. SEO Understanding

I believe that in South Africa (and some areas Internationally) many business owners and marketers still think that SEO is a specific task that involves some sneaky work and suddenly a website should appear in the first position on Google. I think media has driven people to think this but it’s certainly not the case anymore. SEO has become greater than that and I predict that 2014 will be the year that more appreciation and understanding is created.

SEO once involved a number of specific tasks: link trading, article spinning, guest blogging, bulky keyword usage and so the list goes on. These old tactics set the standard in many people’s minds for what SEO is, but this is certainly no longer the case. If you’re still under the impression that these procedures will get your website to the top, you’re unfortunately very wrong and you’ll probably find your website being removed from Google altogether. Just do a search for Google algorithm updates and have a read.

New SEO involves so much more than this, linking building is no longer what it used to be, the levels of intelligence and amount of work required to build proper links are extreme, producing content that is worthy of Google’s approval requires great depth and research, basic audits are no longer applicable, a detailed understanding of a site is required to make any progress from a technical point of view, local search and positioning has become incredibly important and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Mobile too, duh.

I believe that people will learn that SEO is so much more than what it used to be, it won’t take a few months to rank number 1, a careful plan of action will be required and this cannot happen over night nor can it happen for a couple grand a month.

Side note: I also believe that those companies that learn that offline marketing must support online marketing will take over their competitors.

4. Blogging  Come Back

Blogging was once a massive form of marketing, and then Facebook and Twitter came along and the concept of micro-blogging took over. Bloggers stopped blogging and started growing a following on these social networks. This was a good move, I don’t need to share the statistics with you, but with everyone on the social networks, building a following there was hugely important. But it shouldn’t have been at the sacrifice of blogging.

With that being said, “content marketing” has been a buzz word for a while now but for good reason – those sites that produce excellent content are being valued more and more by Google. If you have a company website and you have a blog that gets used, you’re going to benefit from this in a big way. Sites without content production are going to fall behind.

Because of this I believe blogging is going to make a come back, and if it’s not called blogging, it’ll be called something else.

5. More Offline/Online

Social activations or what ever you want to call them are going to become way more popular. You know the ones I’m talking about: when you send a tweet and a can pops out of a vending machine or a plant that tweets when it needs water or what about a bra that tweets when it’s taken off. I believe that these forms of offline/online activations are going to become hugely important in the world of digital marketing.

Internationally, we see a lot of these campaigns, many can be seen on Digital Buzz Blog, but locally not as many. I believe that we’ll see a large increase in the number of these activations because it’s where the world is at – online and offline are meeting, more and more every single day – the mobile acceleration certainly assists even further with this.

So there you have it, 5 of my predictions for 2014. I probably should have predicated a few more things to do with social media, paid search and knowledge graph but I had to stop somewhere and it’s getting late ;)

Do you have any predictions for 2014, why not share them in the comments below?