Here we are, at the beginning of 2018. And, with that, we’re starting to see the usual flood of predictions for the year. Naturally, as a digital marketing strategist, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to make my own list of 2018 internet marketing predictions. A year ago, I predicted a lot of change will center around human language search due to the popularity of devices like Google Home, Amazon Echo and of course, Siri. It isn’t just the availability of devices that’s driving this. Technology is making its way into the backgrounds of our daily lives. By now, an entire generation has grown up with the Internet as the backdrop for everything. Today, everything is always on, and everything is listening. Much of what we do as marketers will be in response to technology that’s only now starting to become mainstream. While 2017 proved there is a market ready to embrace the new technology, in 2018 we’re going to see it take root. By 2019, we’re going to experience a complete transformation of how we reach people, but I’ll save that for next year.
Here Are My 2018 Internet Marketing Predictions
- The Google Featured Snippet will be THE hot property in the SERP: If it isn’t already, the featured snippet will become the most sought after space in Google’s search results. We already know featured snippets receive the majority of clicks, which means SEOs are increasingly competing for that one spot. In other words, the rest of page one has the same status as page 2+ when there is a featured snippet present. I also believe the featured snippet will undergo significant change as the year progresses, but that’s a topic for a different day.
- Web design and content management will be increasingly commoditized: Building a website has become fairly simple, given WordPress and the availability of low-cost (or free) themes that do much of the heavy lifting. Though off-the-shelf solutions run a distant second to custom solutions like ours, they are often “good enough” for meeting short term business goals. This gives marketers an opportunity to focus on other opportunities.
- Top Internet marketers will need to specialize more than ever: As multi-channel marketing gives way to omni-channel marketing, specialization is a natural progression. Like it or not, marketing is an exercise in data science and predictive analytics. Digital marketing is a team sport. While this may not be good news if you are a freelance web designer, the digital landscape creates new opportunities for your businesses.
- Marketing automation will become more mainstream: Marketing automation is making its way into tools we’ve been using for years. Email platforms like MailChimp and MailerLite offer automation. Of course, every decent CRM provides marketing automation tools. The problem is very few business owners and even most marketers have any idea how to create automated marketing campaigns and workflows. Nevertheless, expect automation to find its way into your marketing plans.
- The death of SEO as we know it: I know, marketers have been predicting the demise of SEO for at least a decade. But, 2017 was a transitional year. With rich cards, featured snippets, the restructuring of the SERP (again) and focus on human language search and mobile SEOs will need to adjust to a completely different set of rules. The future of SEO is understanding the full suite of options made available by Google, and having the technical expertise to take advantage of it. Sadly, Bing and Yahoo don’t have enough market share to tip the scale. Like it or not, it’s a Google world.
2018 Final Thoughts
Naturally, I could add dozens more 2018 predictions, but in many ways it wouldn’t make a difference. The bottom line for business owners and marketers is that building relationships is the key to online success. That’s always been true. What’s changing is the tools and methodology. If you haven’t already, now is the time to embrace it.