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My New Year’s Predictions :)

Posted in: Conversion Optimisation,Google,Search Engine Optimisation by Richard Hearne on January 5, 2009
Internet Marketing Ireland

I’ve noticed that quite a few others are making 2009 predictions. I’ve never been big on such hockery-pokery, but that said I have a few thoughts on what might happen to SEO/SEM in 2009:

  1. Google ignores all the low-hanging fruit, and easy-to-get links are rendered useless
  2. Directories et. al. (low-hanging-fruit) hear final death knell
  3. Content REALLY becomes King, as valuable links will only point at valuable content
  4. Google goes on to dominate even more of the search space
  5. Personalised search still doesn’t gain traction
  6. SERP ranking shuffles dynamically between searches – chasing ranking becomes even more futile
  7. Social Media – links gained from social media users become more powerful as the “low-hanging-fruit” crap gets filtered out
  8. The people who really get this social stuff \glances here\ will be in even more demand
  9. Good creative folk – copy writers etc. – will see an increase in demand when the penny drops
  10. More small businesses turn to SEO as chronic costs of PPC sets in
  11. More businesses of all sizes get burnt by ‘SEO’s, you know… the ones who haven’t got a clue, but promise you the Earth… for a few hundred €
  12. SEO goes into mortal decline as search engines (all called Google…) make it more and more difficult to game the results
  13. The survivors online will have a deep understanding of multi-channel marketing, and beating customer expectations at every turn – it’s all about the marketing mix…
  14. Irish businesses, especially in lead-gen, turn more and more to conversion optimisation and testing
  15. An Irish web agency starts offering testing as a core product/service (and not like every web designer now offers ‘SEO’)
  16. One or more Irish web startups will come up with something that gains serious traction in ’09
  17. RedCardinal.ie releases some interesting tools [unfair insider knowledge ;)]
  18. RedCardinal.ie turns off the server for good [more unfair insider knowledge...]

2008 Was a Weird Year

2008 was a weird year – I’ve seen/learnt more than in any previous year, yet I’ve not been blogging much about it. I could probably write as book about what I’ve observed/done in 2008 – some really fantastic things.

And I’ve been speaking to a few people about that point recently. So my New Year’s resolution is to try blogging a lot more in 2009.

At least until I flip the switch that is :O

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  1. Excellent post, Richard.
    I think your insights are dead on. Be sure to mark calendar to revisit this at the end of the year.

    The only point I’ll argue is the perennial cry of “SEO is dead” — (“SEO goes into mortal decline”).

    Folks having crying wolf about that for years. I think the reason is a misunderstanding of SEO. If you mean simply getting rankings, yes. But, true SEO is, and has long been, about more than just getting rankings.

    SEO is about getting rankings that convert thru creating quality content that is relevant to users. SEO is about constantly analyzing your analytics to glean search patterns and search behavior. SEO is about optimizing the pages for maximum delivery that users find via search.

    In one sense, I am agreeing with you that SEOs need to have the full marketing mix, but my point is that true, quality SEOs have been doing it for years now.

    Comment by Jeff Gregoy — January 5, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

  2. Hey Jeff

    Actually I didn’t really articulate what I meant with SEO’s death. My thinking is that with an influx of folk who don’t know what they are doing, and changes from Google that make SEO far more difficult, SEO as an industry is going to suffer.

    Best rgds, and thanks for passing by so often

    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 6, 2009 @ 7:15 am

  3. Hi Richard,

    Great to see your thinking on Google’s direction in the coming year. Still keeping this blog on my Google Reader, might have to drop you a few emails to remind you to blog through the year ;o)

    Take care, and best wishes for 2009,


    Comment by Paul Anthony — January 6, 2009 @ 10:33 am

  4. Hi Richard

    I would have to agree with Jeffs comments too.
    I don’t see it being more difficult to “game the results” as you put it, I think it will just be less obvious than it is now. Concurring with Jeff, if done properly you won’t have anything to worry about.

    Also, from a testing and conversion optimisation I would be of the opinion that the companies that have already taken their web presence seriously are already well on their way to improving conversions.

    Just my two cents !

    And what’s all this about RedCardinal turning off the server??? Do tell us more!!??

    Happy New Year to You!


    Comment by Tom Doyle — January 7, 2009 @ 3:59 pm

  5. Following up on Tom’s comment:
    “And what’s all this about RedCardinal turning off the server??? Do tell us more!!??”

    Yes, please elaborate on your cryptic comment.
    Say it isn’t so!!!

    Comment by Jeff Gregoy — January 7, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

  6. Hey Paul – you too, happy new year!

    @Tom – from what I’m seeing links are driving less and less value, and Google are ignoring more and more of the link graph. That’s my main gripethought. It’s going to get less and less easy to rank for stuff without top notch content.

    Curious thought about your thoughts on conversion testing – from what I see virtually no indigenous Irish companies are using testing. There are a few I’ve come across, but more the exception. Do you know different?

    There’s a saying I always remember – A Change Is As Good As A Break :)

    Happy new year back at you :)

    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 7, 2009 @ 5:04 pm

  7. Hi Richard

    Yes and I don’t disagree with you at all. My point is that the usual tricks we all use at the moment won’t be how we’ll do it in the future.

    At the end of the day though, as long as Google continues to be algorithm based, there will always be ways of cracking it, it’s just up to us to figure out what those changes are and I think those things are going to be much harder to figure out. However, I don’t see the fundemental basics of good, relevant content ever being done away with. So I would believe that although things are going to change, there will still be ways to game the results.

    In terms of conversion optimisation we’d be working with a few clients now with a clear focus on conversions and no longer traffic building through SEO as they are well established in the SERPs. But that’s why I said serious clients, we’ve other clients that just saw the increase in traffic and were happy with that.

    Conversion testing is part of the process, from my point of view I always believe things can be better, so we’re constantly reviewing our call to actions etc to see what we can to do improve conversions.

    So what’s the change? It’s the only reason I’m commenting ;)


    Comment by Tom Doyle — January 7, 2009 @ 6:05 pm

  8. I agree with the points made above. I think Google can always be gamed. The real smart SEO’s are already using web2.0 properties like squidoo, hubpages, webpaint, kaboodle etc etc to ensure they have a huge reach pointing back at their money site. The stats on how may number one rankings these sites have in organic listings is unbelievable.
    I think from an SEO perspective you will need to build a network using these sites all with good unique content. For example people never think about building some links to their youtube videos or hubpages but these will give you more immediate results than you will get building them for your home page.
    Personally I agree that SEO spam is going to get harder. Google hates these methods. But I think good SEO creates good content in a manner that users are looking for it. To be honest my main interests are in delivering business kpi’s and using the relevant strategies. The hard part is making this point to your clients. Less traffic can be better if it’s more qualified.

    Comment by Kieran — January 10, 2009 @ 12:23 pm

  9. Hey Richard,

    I never quite got around to posting my 09 predictions, but they would be closely inline with what you’ve covered, especially that content is king and personalisation won’t take off.


    Comment by Peter — January 16, 2009 @ 6:48 pm

  10. Great post, I have to say I agree with some of the comments that have already been made and I think SEO will always be a big part of the internet marketing. I think Social Media marketing will be a bigger part but SEO will always have some part to play

    Comment by Ps3 News — January 18, 2009 @ 11:48 am

  11. If you are dot.com…
    You are dot.GONE!!

    Time for a change of industry perhaps?

    Comment by Prophet of Doom — January 28, 2009 @ 11:14 pm

  12. Wow, some scary predictions there Richard.

    Thanks for making me excited about the coming year!!!


    Comment by James — February 3, 2009 @ 9:26 am

  13. Good to see you thought about posting more…

    pray tell with the tools – not a lot happens here with tools, let me know on your launch and I will blog away.

    Take care.

    Comment by Leslie — February 3, 2009 @ 9:57 pm

  14. Hi Richard, great post, with some interesting thoughts on SEO. It will be interesting to see the developments throughout the year & how they come into effect.

    Comment by selectaskip — February 4, 2009 @ 2:51 pm

  15. Hey James – hopefully something positive there also? The Interent isn’t going away ;)

    Hiya Leslie – hopefully I’ll have some announcements in the coming month or two.

    @selectaskip – it was either followed link with that, or nofollowed with ‘skip hire’ LOL

    Rgds to all

    Comment by Richard Hearne — February 4, 2009 @ 4:01 pm

  16. Nice set of predictions, will be interesting to see how true these may become as the year develops

    Comment by SJL Web Design — May 4, 2009 @ 12:45 pm

  17. Is it the time to recapitulation post?
    To admit a bit too optimistic tone in this post :)

    Comment by Sanovnik — December 15, 2009 @ 8:52 pm

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