By Asif Anwar

When people realized the potential of email marketing, they thought that this is the future of internet marketing. Then came in Search Engine Marketing (SEM) with more liberal approach. As the social media evolved with Web 2.0, we are steadily seeing the shift of visitors from popular internet services like search engines and free email services to the newborn Online Social Media. We are seeing that the present of Internet Marketing is changing rapidly. So, why not the future?

The changes in the internet marketing will evolve around the technology. And marketers have to go where all the people are heading. To give a bit of hint, I’ve compiled some of my prophecies that are based on future of internet marketing.

Prophecy #1: Onsite Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will be History

Sorry for starting it this way. As an internet marketer, I am happy to promote the keyword Search Engine Optimization (SEO), as most of the people somehow got used to this term. But it’s a wrong word anyway. We the marketers don’t optimize search engines. Rather engineers in Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft does the exact thing.

As the search engines acquire more revenue, their pool of professionals is also drained with best brains. And it will just take some time to identify ways to evaluate each site irrespective of web development language used. But, they will eventually get rid of the need to optimize your site for the Search Engines.

Search Engines might also go for Visual Algorithm Update that will use snapshot image of the page to manipulate information like visible text, animation, and visible keyword density. With artificial intelligence using OCR technology to extract the texts, can eliminate a lot of tasks that are currently done for optimizing a site for search engines.

Prophecy #2: Searching will become more User-friendly

As the speed of internet rises, search engines will show more visible results. I would be happy to see Mouseover Zoom-up search results, for quick peek of the site I wish to open. It’s much like the Snapshot pop-in that Wordpress is using. That will make people go beyond the first Search Engine Result Page (SERP).

Moreover, the Search-As-You-Type will also be introduced with search suggestions. The search suggestion will also affect multilingual users, as they will be suggested English keywords for the same multilingual phrase. Well, that might be good for businesses for English speaking countries.

It may happen that searching will not be required at all in case of purchase. You just provide the query to Google, Yahoo, Live or any Search Engines; have a cup of coffee and you’ll have custom reports with prices on products you are seeking with background research highlighting positive and negative comments about the product.

Prophecy #3: More Personalized & Localized Results will Influence SEM

We are already experiencing localized search. However, the personal search has not yet been that very personal. Personalized search will provide more reputation for websites which can influence search engine performance based on more quality visits with low bounce rate. Websites will figure out new offline ways to create more personal affiliation with the site to influence personalized search.

Localized search will provide marketers with the ability to influence people on the move to purchase. That way, the localized search may also change if a consumer changes location.

Prophecy #4: Natural Language Reputation Algorithm will be a Great Factor

Misspelled keyword marketing has already started to vanish. Moreover, to fight duplicate content, spammers will use twisted garbage texts of the same content that have no meaning but with correct spelling. Search Engines will embed several artificial intelligence to identify natural language.

Sites with less grammatical errors and misspellings will get more Natural Language Reputation Rank. This in turn can add as another task for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Prophecy #5: Copying Themes will be punished by Near Duplicate Content Filter

Google has recently updated Duplicate Content Filter that punishes the use of duplicate contents in the internet. But, Search Engines will try it’s best to struggle with the remedies taken by webmasters or web marketers through their Near Duplicate Content Filter.

Varied contents with same theme will also be identified and punished by hidden results which you can see only by clicking “See more pages like this” beside the original theme. The explanation from search engine is, if two pages are saying the same thing, then why keep them all over the SERPs.

Prophecy #6: TrustRank will be Stronger than PageRank

Both Google and Yahoo are working on Trustrank. At current stage, it suggests using both automated algorithm and human editors to fight against spam. But, I believe that some other factors like low bounce rate, high visitors, age of the site, etc. will come under the automated portion of the TrustRank. Even email spamming reputation can also influence TrustRank. Sites will struggle to keep TrustRank high.

Prophecy #7: Online Social Media will kill Traffic from Search Engines

This is actually not a prophecy. We are seeing the result today. Facebook is growing rapidly with all the services it can find. In near future, you may never have to leave Facebook to get the services you want or worse (I’d say better) you can get paid services for free inside the walled garden. Then, the search engines will end up only as API among all other web services.

Prophecy #8: Handheld Devices will Rule Future Traffic

I said Handheld Devices, not mobile phones. I am not optimistic that mobile phone technology will last for 5 more years. As Bluetooth, WiFi, and WiMax evolves, each mobile phone operators will switch back to ISP (but wireless). Even Nokia is also trying to remove the mobile identity from their manufactured sets. They are calling N-Series sets as Multimedia Devices and E-Series sets as Communicators.

People are paying for the communicating with each other now through mobile phones. But in future, people will love to be spammed to talk free with their partners. They are always doing that for their favorite shows in television. Mobile-commerce will become more user friendly, making people buying more through mobile phones.

Social Media and Mobile platform will create a new hybrid means of communication that will be more secured and moreover it will be free. So, newsletter circulation will switch from emails to Online Social Medias.

Prophecy #9: Email will be the Least Used for Personal Communication

Email marketers have bad news. But, I guess they have got it already. Why use it as marketing media when people will not be using it? For personal use, people may not switch back to emails again. For instance, many of us regularly check Facebook & LinkedIn inbox which sometimes attracts more attention than the emails in mailbox.

But, I don’t see that email will die fast. Email services will evolve as much complex media of communication. I would like to see some sort of a CRM solution that automatically takes care of who to mail today. Email can turn out to be more of a Business-to-Business (B2B) communication tool.

Email may face another challenge is Email Toll for unsolicited emails aka spams. People may have to pay a small fee to get accepted for sending further mails. But then again, there will always be Toll-Free Email Address used by businesses.

Prophecy #10: Personal Power to Influence Purchase will Increase

With the evolution of Online Social Media, personal power to influence purchase will greatly increase. People with greater reputation will have greater trust rank and can influence purchase. Basically, they will be the next marketers. The punchline for my blog is “Philanthropists are the greatest marketers and vice versa”. I believe that will be true in future. Your effort to help the community can make you Authority of Reference to individuals for purchase. Authority site’s influence will reduce.

Even people with great reputation will be hired by companies for their marketing. Social Marketing will largely influence online purchase. Or each company will work for some sort of Social Cause.

Prophecy #11: Web-based Consumer Analytics will be Major Internet Marketing Process

Web Analytics and Consumer Analytics will be merged into a hybrid technique called Web-based Consumer Analytics. This may be the major online marketing process in future. Data Manipulators for specific industry will be another Marketing Position in future, who will help businesses identify high value customers. So, each marketer will know what you bought, what you might buy now, and what you will want to buy for next Christmas.

Web Analytics will evolve into Online Reputation Monitoring. And Search Engine Reputation Management (SERM) will thrive as the best strategy for online selling. Every business will use their own monitoring tool to identify potential need and businesses will have people finding it out.

Prophecy #12: Web Cluster and Widgets will mean Businesses for Small Companies

Web Cluster and Widgets will become more popular as small businesses may find niche marketing opportunities. The users of widgets or web clusters are not counted as visitors to the site. However, the large amount of use of them in external sites can increase more revenue for small businesses. However, to mask the reputation for push marketing, many marketers may mal-utilize it.

Prophecy #13: Future Internet Marketers will be Personal Helper

Personal help in purchase is currently a payable service. But in near future, marketers will play this role for free. If the marketers know that your son has brought many baby products for 3 months in a row and the birthday of your Granddaughter is in next week, then the marketers can approach you to remind what you can buy for your Granddaughter. This is just one example. But Philanthropy Model in Internet Marketing will rule the future.

This is an entry to Marketing Pilgrim’s 3rd Annual SEM Scholarship contest.

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