Yesterday we started our two part New Year's predictions mini-series. We already covered our predictions for Paid Media  as we get closer to 2013 and today, we move into Earned Media and where we explore what we think the almighty Google algorithms have in store, and what marketers need to do about it.
Earned Media Predictions for 2013 (in no particular order!)
- Google will continue to refine Panda and Penguin, but the massive changes we have seen over the past 18 months will begin to subside. It's really not in Google’s best interest to make major overhauls; it takes too long for people to get up to speed and smaller entities are having a hard time keeping up. Since the maor algorithm changes this year, big brands are hesitant to buy exact match domains. In fact, domain purchase dropped this year, making it difficult to have widespread adoption of a brand's products.
- Markup integration and social will continue to play a bigger role in the algorithms as the data improves. Over the first half of 2013 we will see a bigger push on Google's part to get sites to integrate markup onto their sites and participate in Google+.
- The one question in 2013 for Google will be how it deals with Real Time search. Since it dissolved the partnership with Twitter, this has continued to be a weakness and Google+ has not proved to be a legitimate alternative for Real Time search. We predict there will be a better solution.
- 2013 will see the evolution of social site links. Successful social pages are considered legitimate organic results, and they’re taking up a majority of the results, so why not consolidate them as site links?
- Authorship more than people also brands. Currently authorship is centered around people, connected by their Google+ page and mark up on their article. Brands will have the same component of authority building through mark up that specifies the brands' authority. More than the current publisher tag, this will allow association and shared authority around author / brand / content trust. Maybe we'll see rel authorship tag in the future?
- We will hopefully see a new SEO for Mobile. In the past, mobile rankings were based on desktop counterparts, but they aren't always sufficient. If the number one ranked site isn't optimized for mobile, what good is it to anyone? We need a separate optimization for mobile, including mobile meta data.
- Knowledge graph will go beyond people places and things to connected data. The Knowledge Graph will answer user intent with socially integrated elements - starting with products. We will see + connections included first and then Places, where reviews will be augmented by social recommendations. Ultimately, the Knowledge Graph will provide highly visible answers with visual images overpowering the traditional SERP - with sponsored and organic click opportunities integrated into a richer presentation.
- Everyone will be talking about intent, user personas, segmentation and targeting to improve both search understanding, search results, SEO landing pages and user experience. Users will drive the experience rather than websites, via personalization, niche search engines, media choice, social influence and entertainment.
What do you guys think about our Earned Media predictions for 2013? Leave your thoughts and arguments in the comments!