10 Web Predictions for 2016

By Craig Buckler
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Happy New Year! Despite my woeful 2015 predictions I’m going to try again. My runes show the web aligning with Uranus…

1. A Major Corporate Hack Will Occur

Let’s get the doom-mongering out of the way. A large multi-national corporation will be hacked during 2016. It’s a certainty. Targets in 2015 included the IRS, the FBI, VTech, Ashley Madison, T-Mobile, Scottrade, CVS, OPM, UCLA Health, Carphone Warehouse, TalkTalk, Trump Hotels and even LastPass — the password manager. Personal data was stolen and, in the worst cases, passwords and credit card details were revealed.

Despite media reports of sophisticated attacks, many of these systems were accessed using nothing more complex than SQL injections or brute-force attempts. Many systems leaked unencrypted data or had woeful security.

Hacks will continue until companies take security seriously. No system will ever be 100% secure but I suspect many of these systems were implemented years ago by novice developers. My advice: hire some hackers or pay a bug bounty before it’s too late.

2. Static Sites Will Go Mainstream

Static site generators such as Jekyll, Middleman and Metalsmith have been available for several years. A typical content management system builds a page from template files and content stored in a database when a visitor accesses. A static site generator completes the build step only once and generates the full site as HTML files. The benefits of a static site:

  • It’s fast. Normal CMSs can implement caching but static sites are fully-generated and cached from the start.
  • It’s robust. “Failed to establish a database connection” errors can never occur again because a static site only requires a basic web server. Server-side code and databases can still be used for functionality such as search and form-filling, but processing is kept to a minimum.
  • It’s secure. Unlike a CMS, it’s difficult to hack plain HTML files and there’s less incentive to try. If someone managed to get in, the site could be wiped and regenerated again.
  • It’s easy. Content managers can retain their existing CMS but add build and deploy steps.

Static site generators make sense for content sites with fairly infrequent updates. They are popular among technical writers, but more agencies and corporations will adopt them in 2016.

3. Chrome’s Market Share Will Plateau

Chrome is currently the world’s most popular web browser, with a 54% market share based on usage. I don’t expect that figure to drop, but I doubt Chrome will reach 60% before the end of the year. The reasons include:

  1. Increased bloat, memory usage and instability. Chrome can be a resource hog and users are starting to notice.
  2. Increased suspicion. Google tracks your online activities closer than other vendors.
  3. Increased competition. Alternative applications are just as capable.

Browser competition is healthier than ever. This is a good thing: we never want to return to an IE6-like mono-culture.

4. Vivaldi Will Attract Attention

Vivaldi is a new web browser which rose from Opera’s ashes. When Opera switched to Blink, many users were disappointed to discover few of version 12’s features were ported across. Several former employees joined forces to create Vivaldi and return the browser to its former glory. It includes features such as site-specific tab colors, quick commands, notes, email, panels and full customization.

Vivaldi is unlikely to exceed a single-digit market share, but interest will increase during 2016 — especially among former Opera and power users.

5. Apple Must Address Safari’s Shortcomings

While I don’t necessarily agree Safari is the new IE, it’s fallen noticeably behind other browsers — including those from Microsoft:

  • Safari supports fewer web technologies. Those it does support are often left languishing behind -webkit prefixes.
  • Safari usage is dropping despite strong iPhone and iPad sales.
  • Apple doesn’t permit alternative browsers on iOS (Chrome and Firefox are Safari skins).
  • It’s impossible to test Safari without access to Apple hardware.
  • Apple seems reluctant to engage with the web community or reveal their intentions.

Safari is vulnerable as HTML5 becomes a viable alternative to native apps. The most dedicated Apple fanboy will consider abandoning their iPhone when the browser offers a sub-standard experience.

Apple has some easy options. It could permit competing browsers on iOS or switch to the Blink engine. Doing nothing threatens the long-term success of their devices.

6. CSS Grid Layout Will Be Usable

The CSS Grid Layout Module has been a W3C working draft for almost four years. Only one browser offers some support: IE/Edge. Chrome, Opera and Firefox have experimental implementations but CSS Grids will finally be viable during 2016.

Grids offer several advantages over Flexbox:

  • grids can be defined before content loads to improve rendering performance
  • items can be positioned in both rows and columns
  • items can be arranged and ordered in any way
  • matching column heights and vertical centering are supported without resorting to hacks!

Grids and Flexbox can co-exist. Grids can be mostly used for page layout — headers, footers, sidebars, etc. Flexbox will be used for layout within containers such as forms and widgets. Whatever happens, the age of convoluted floats is coming to an end.

7. Design Mobilification

I don’t normally predict design trends, but this seems inevitable. Mobile-first will become a layout philosophy — not just a technical approach. Despite the possibilities of responsive web design, similar layouts will be used on all devices. Menus will be accessible via hamburger icons. Sidebars, which have been a staple part of web design since the table-layout days, will become redundant.

Vast swathes of the web will become simpler, sleeker and performance aware. That is a good thing. Google AMP and Facebook Instant will be consigned to the technological trash compactor.

8. Average Page Weight Will Fall

I predict this every year but, if simpler design trends continue, perhaps it could happen? Average page weight has doubled during the page three years and now exceeds 2.2MB. It wastes time, bandwidth and user sanity, but we’re obsessed with meaningless high-resolution photographs, underused social media integration and intrusive advertising.

At the very least, I hope the rate of obesity growth will slow from 1.3% per month.

9. WebAssembly Will Be a Niche Technology

WebAssembly was one of the most hyped announcements of 2015. It makes JavaScript delivery more efficient by compiling source to a simpler, faster-processing, JavaScript-engine-compatible bytecode and packaging it in a compact binary file. In essence, it reduces the payload size so the application launches faster (although it does not necessarily run faster).

C/C++ to WebAssembly compilers should arrive during 2016, which will benefit those creating complex games or vast browser-based applications. I suspect it will be several more years before the majority of us consider compiling JavaScript assets. Technologies such as the imminent HTTP/2 could improve JavaScript delivery without any effort.

10. The Death of SEO

RIP Search Engine Optimization, 1996 to 2016.

In the early days, SEO meant tricking search engines with inane repetition of appropriate and inappropriate keywords. Google killed that with a PageRank algorithm which used hyperlinks to rate relevancy. That led to an explosion of automated web page farms with a sole purpose of linking to specific sites. Google improved their algorithm further and this process died.

This technical to-and-fro continued since people wanted quick and easy ways to reach #1 in Google. SEO was sold like snake oil — a mysterious technique which had no guarantees yet your site would fail without it. SEO companies: you had a good run. You had twenty years of dubious technical practices and undeserved revenues but it’s time to move on. Google has beaten you. Clients are wise to your ludicrous claims and scare tactics.

There is a guaranteed solution which worked since the beginning: write good content which interests others. That’s it. You can have some impact with code optimization and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) techniques such as advertising and social media campaigns. However, the days of offering SEO as a expensive separate service have ended.

Apologies if you’re working for a great SEO company which doesn’t make unsubstantiated or misleading promises. I’m sure there are some out there — I’ve just never encountered one.

Do you agree or disagree with any of my predictions? Do you have better foresights?

All the best for 2016.

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  • Vivaldi is very impressive. As soon as they get 1Password working properly with it, I’ll try to make it my primary browser.

    As a developer, I especially like that it shows me how fat a page is as it loads (like browsers used to do). Not having that anymore, may be that’s one of the reasons pages are getting heavier. There’s no reminder. And maybe if site owners saw that, they might stop requesting all the tinsel.

    SEO. Great to see someone call it out for what it really is. Hope you’re right too, Craig.

  • SEO can never be dead! It is only changing its form!

    • Craig Buckler

      There are only so many ways you can sell advice about creating good content. A little keyword research and good HTML semantics can help but a popular article will still rise above the cruft. Of course, you can always improve text – but is that SEO?

      The web is written for people – not search engines. Focus on your users and the search engines will follow.

      • Leo H

        Our company just hired an SEO/SEM Specialist (to work in-house, not as a contractor). He basically does all the keyword research and has either our in-house team or outsourced people to write content (with links) based around those keywords. He also actively monitors the traffic, and changes in traffic, based on those. He works on building organic traffic rather than paid, and he always says organic is better than paid for long-term results. He also gets other “high authority” bloggers in, or related to, our industry to allow us to write content on their sites and link back to us.

        So in this sense, you’re correct, he’s more of a Content Manager/Editor than anything “traditionally” considered to be SEO (other than the keyword research/targeting). But he 100% considers himself and what he does to be SEO. Maybe the Title/Position of the field will just change over time.

        • Craig Buckler

          Thanks Leo. The title “SEO Specialist” appears to undervalue his role. SEO is a tiny part of his overall marketing effort. Perhaps a better title would be “Digital Strategist” or “Marketing Specialist”?

          • Leo H

            You’re correct. I guess my point was that he still considers himself to be SEO, so he and others like him will continue to market themselves as SEO (in resumes, proposals, etc), and companies will continue seeking these people out as SEO. So maybe it’s they who are undervaluing themselves (in title), and until that changes I don’t see the term or the role dying out, at least in name. So maybe it is more of an evolution; whether it be in name or role or both. Where the scammy/gimmicky SEO-types will die out and the proper content-managers/analysts/strategists will come to be.

            All that aside though…who could have predicted that you would have cooked up such a storm with this post? Or maybe you could : )
            Good post!

          • Craig Buckler

            The term “SEO” appears to blend technical with magical skills so perhaps that’s why he likes it? But the term has become tainted. The technical side was never difficult and the magical side was mostly marketing BS.

            Yeah, I never thought the prediction would cause such protest … I guess many people still make money from myths…

      • Wesley Picotte

        You use a cliche — “focus on your users” — to make the case that SEO is dead? That’s so cute.

        No offense meant, but you’re out of your depths when you talk about SEO, and it’s obvious.

        • Craig Buckler

          No offense meant, but you’re out of a job.

          • Wesley Picotte

            Hmmm. About as much depth demonstrated here as with the point of view you shared about SEO, which overlooks so much of what “doing SEO” encompasses that it’s just silly.

          • Craig Buckler

            Enlighten me. I’ve been “doing SEO” since the late ’90s and it’s become increasingly irrelevent. When was the last time you read an insightful SEO article? When did you last discover a new way to rise to page #1?

            Good content and development practices are key. That’s it. If there were more to it, why would SEO “experts” feel the need to shroud their techniques in secrecy?

            The only other factor is dumb luck. Sometimes, you jump of a topic which resonates with your audience. Saying “SEO is dead” works well.

          • Wesley Picotte

            Snake oil is slung in every promotion-orientated aspect of online marketing, SEO included. No argument there, but articles — “good content”, in your parlance — that espouse SEO techniques based on data are easy to find.

            In contrast, your claim: If you build it, they will come. You’re saying there’s nothing more to it than good content and development practices? Do that…oh, and hope for dumb luck, too…and your good? What?

          • Craig Buckler

            I never said “build it and they will come”. Writing quality content is tough. Predicting what will be popular is hard. Research helps but I don’t consider that SEO – you should be writing for readers not search engines.

            SEO is a diminishing part of your overall digital strategy (or SEM). Google sorts the wheat from the chaff and good content rises to the top regardless of “optimisation”. (Within reason, of course. Publishing your article as a large GIF image is unlikely rank highly – yet).

            So what are these many, varied SEO techniques you talk of? You’re yet to reveal one which isn’t related to writing quality content or using best-practice development.

      • The web is written for people but Search engines provides you guideline in order to get it readable by search engine bots! For example google has provided its Search Engine Optimization guidelines

        • Craig Buckler

          Google’s SEO guidelines can be summed up in one statement: write good content and use best-practice development techniques. You should be doing that anyway.

          In the early days of the web it was possible for poor content to rise up the rankings using tricks. That’s no longer the case – content wins. A good article will rise above a bad one regardless of optimisation efforts.

      • Benny

        Its a bitter truth, and I accept the ‘so called’ SEO is dying. Google clearly told marketers that they are for the people who search, not for the people who do SEO.
        But is Google mature enough to identify the best content? T

        • Craig Buckler

          Google’s algorithms (and Bing for that matter) have plugged many of the holes old-style SEO exploited. The technologies have evolved over 20 years so they’re mature and generally work well.

          Today, SEO is mostly concerned with stating the bleeding obvious. Make content machine-readable. Don’t use splash screens. Don’t redirect unnecessarily. Keep payloads small. Make it work on mobile etc. Even if you ignore much of that, a strong article will rank well because people link to it and discuss it on social media.

  • Fahad (Eddie)

    Beside SEO Dead all are fine

  • SEO: “If you strike me down I shall become more powerful than you can possibly… wait, is that a Panda? Crap.”

    I like your predictions and largely hope they come true, but I don’t see page size declining next year if companies like Apple are still building such megalithic pages. As you said in response to my comment on your update on page size, stakeholders tend to think “one more thing” will help. There are some stakeholders I work with who understand how removing things helps, but even with the prevalence of minimalist design I expect file size will increase. Which kind of defeats the purpose of minimalism in its purest sense.

    On the other predictions, I kind of hope Chrome’s market share falls. They’re starting to feel more and more like IE a few years back (slow, bloated, everywhere) and I’d like to see more pluralism in the browser market with all browsers following standards.

  • Glow

    Pages should get lighter, but I think there will be more and more HiRes pictures for “retina” and 4k screens, and there will be more and more heavy videos too. That will not help the page get lighter

    • Craig Buckler

      Perhaps, although the picture tag and srcset attribute allow you to select the correct image for the target device. Not everyone would get a 4K image. In addition, SVG and CSS3 effects should reduce the need for high-resolution bitmaps.

      • The problem is developers don’t take the time to learn JavaScript, CSS and the browser APIs and just blindly throw in framework on top of framework. Marketers do not take time to optimize images and neither make the effort to do responsive design/images. I hope you are right though, the web has an obesity epidemic.

        • Craig Buckler

          The other problem is that responsive images do not account for bandwidth. A modern high-density mobile screen will download a multi-megabyte image even when you’re on a slow connection.

  • Jin Ah Chon

    Thanks for sharing. I realized that my knowledge might still live in 2015. The story about Vivaldi browser, Static sites, and so on are interesting and I’d like to dig into them.

  • “Apple doesn’t permit alternative browsers on iOS (Chrome and Firefox are Safari skins).”

    Is this true?

    • Craig Buckler

      Yes. They use Safari for rendering but just add other icons and tools as permitted by Apple. The only exception is Opera, but this renders pages in the cloud and returns bytecode – JavaScript does not run locally so it’s permitted on the iOS platform.

      • LamiaLove

        You mean Opera Mini.
        Their “big” Opera browser for iOS is called Coast, which also uses Safari’s engine.

        • Craig Buckler

          I do. Sorry for any confusion.

          The key is that Apple to do not permit third-party runtimes on iOS. Flash was the first casualty but it also includes other browsers which can run JavaScript.

  • Paul Walsh

    Like it. I’d add that in-app browsing will see a massive increase in 2016. During presentations I’ve asked people to imagine a world where your email client opened web links inside an app WebView instead of a native browser – thinking that it wasn’t likely to happen anytime soon, but it would scare people when I say “imagine not being able to see the URL before the page loads”.

    Well, this just happened with the new email app from AOL called Alto. Thankfully they are one of the few companies with a network-based anti-phishing & malware filter – unlike 99.9% of apps on the market with the ability to display web content.

    • Andrew

      “imagine a world where your email client opened web links inside an app WebView instead of a native browser”
      There were two Thunderbird AddOns that allowed using it’s internal HTML renderer to open links.

      • Paul Walsh

        Luckily nobody uses Thunderbird :)

        AOL released a mobile email client that supports all email accounts, recently. It uses a WebView but luckily they use a new one that allows you to see the URL. And it has some limited URL security against phishing and malware on the network.

  • Really interesting article, and like some of the users on here I hadn’t realised that Chrome and Firefox are simply Safari skins. Safari has become far too outdated, especially for a company like Apple – I spend far too much time ‘fixing’ for Safari!

    Also interesting on Static Sites – will be interesting to see how they get used!

  • A great set of predictions. I want to add back some from last year that did not quite make it:

    -Framework Fatigue
    -IE Will Die, for the most part. IE 11 will be the only version in use in a concernable percentage
    -The Year of Performance, this will be my primary public focus this year

    • Craig Buckler

      Hey Chris – thanks for the comment!

      Yeah, Framework Fatigue is still a thing. Those who invested in Angular who then jumped to React only to find something better this year could get off the merry-go-round.

      I’m not sure IE will die just yet, especially since Edge is only available on Windows 10. It’s days are numbered but 2017-18 seems more likely.

      Performance has received increased attention but it hasn’t become appearent on the majority of sites. I have a feeling the trend for simpler designs will bring better performance as a by-product. But my predictions usually fall short!

      • IE will live on Windows 7 as long as it is still being used. But I believe by the end of the year enterprises will get the memo sent out 18 months ago that IE 10- dies on Tuesday and do the right thing.

        Framework fatigue and performance go together. Companies that are serious about their web presence will do something and enjoy the competitive advantages of speed and easy code maintenance. But like you said, the framework du jour looks good on your resume, damn your client or employer. We are starting to see strata in many web sites showing what major library and frameworks were popular each year. The payloads are ridiculous. Many going well over 1 and 2MB of JS. #sigh

        • Khalid

          I dropped ReactJS from a major app I have been working on since last summer. It took me about 3 weeks to drop ReactJS (now using plain old jQuery and a custom architecture). The result is lighter JS payload, separate HTML and JS. The pages are faster, rendering is better and I can use even junior developers for simpler tasks without requiring them to learn a framework and bunch of OOP idea.

          • good job! You also lost many memory leaks built into React.

  • SEO is dead, really ? SEO not just only mean tricking search engine. Don’t you see Search Engine Optimization, you still have to optimize even in 2016

    • Craig Buckler

      Should good content and best-practice development be named SEO? I don’t think so – they’re standard parts of the web production process. Unless you know of other SEO techniques which don’t fall under those categories?

      • I know you have valid point . the way you want to define SEO need a detail article. So i suggest, let us read another article of yours redefining SEO.
        I personally feel that SEO need to redefine.

        • Craig Buckler

          That’s a good idea. I’ll have a think about it…

    • muhammad ikhsan

      I agree, it should be Optimize. I guest only Meta Keyword will be ignored by Google and they find other way to optimize relevant keyword, for example common worlds in article etc,

  • islandgirl23

    Seriously you think static HTML sites are safer? My very first static HTML site back in the 90’s was hacked by a well known Turkish hacker.

    • Craig Buckler

      Did they brute-force your FTP password? Even then, what did they achieve other than defacing content? An online CMS can be more dangerous because it requires a stack of software and allows someone in via a web page form.

      Today, you don’t need FTP for a static site. Git or other deployment options can provide better security. You also won’t require a server-side language/framework, a database, etc.

      • islandgirl23

        Honestly since it was over 20 years ago that this happened I don’t know if the hacker brute forced it. But it is delusional to think that a static website is safer.

        • Craig Buckler

          By definition it is safer. Consider a standard WordPress installation. You need PHP, MySQL, a server and WordPress available. All are potential targets. A static site just needs the server to run.

        • Dean Brady

          You HTML wasn’t hacked unless you were using server side scripting. Your hosting got hacked. Much different conversation.

          • islandgirl23

            It was strictly an HTML website. There was no scripting.

  • Craig Buckler

    Thanks Time Warner for making prediction 1 come true within a day of publication!…

  • Ruth

    The SEO part – granted, the old ways are gone — and great content makes sense but how do you compete with other ecommerce companies selling the same products other than using SEO in titles, copy etc? That isn’t ‘great content’ – that’s application of SEO. We don’t all have blogs and emags we’re trying to get people to click on – we are selling product. Am I wrong?

    • Craig Buckler

      You’re making the article better for users.

      For example, a link with “Buy WidgetX now” is more useful than “Click here to buy” because it works in isolation – it’s obvious what it does. It’s better for SEO because search engines look for useful content in tags such as titles and anchors – just like users would.

      Most of this is common sense but many sites have poor content. They don’t need SEO assistance – they need someone who can write decent articles.

  • Giancarlo Gomez

    I love the last line for SEO companies!!! I feel the same, never encountered one!

  • David Ford

    What? Grids? Is it OK to use tables again then?

  • EF

    My prediction of your score next year: 4 out of 10

    1 = I agree. A certainty.
    2 = How does one measure “mainstream”? Increase? Yes. Mainstream as I define it? No.
    3 = That one’s tough. Chrome alone or Chromium + derivatives? Ties in with the next one.
    4 = I agree.
    5 = No they don’t. They need to bleed more marketshare before they’ll do something. If your stance on #3 holds true, Apple will do nothing. Safari is Apple’s IE 6.
    6 = Disagree. People rarely can get our there own way. Node and IO were exceptions.
    7 = I agree because this supports laziness. And people go out of their way to do less work – I mean be more efficient.
    8 = LOL! I disagree. It’ll go up.
    9 = Agree. No need for it. HTTP/2 adoption rate more likely to pick up that WebAssembly.
    10 = Is this a prediction or a rant? SEO will always be relevant while there’s people striving to be found for certain search terms. Even if there was only one search engine, people would need to compete for top rankings.

    • Craig Buckler

      Thanks EF.

      Yes, SEO turned into a rant but I still believe SEO as a separate “technology” is dying. SEO is mostly common sense. Create good content and don’t use blocking technologies which could affect bots, screen readers, etc. It’s about making a page which is good for users – that was always Google’s recommendation.

      That’s not to say SEM or marketing is dead – but SEO’s part of that has diminished considerably.

  • darkflame

    I have a prediction; Everyone will still be using animated Gifs.
    We can have amazing WebGL engines, we can stream HD video, we have all sorts of cool layout and effect options. But when it comes to a basic improvement in raster animation support, browser makers (specifically Google, looking at you here) seem unwilling to move on.

    If you want to invent something better then APNG? Sure! Great. Do it. But dont leave us stuck with GIFS for another decade while you do it. arg.

    • Craig Buckler

      I suspect you’re right. GIFs have strong support so, despite their limitations, I don’t see them dying out soon. Whether their resurrenge continues is another matter.

  • quazecoatl

    I’m happy to find someone is also recognizing the importance of Grid layout.
    I can’t wait for Grid to get good support and mainstream

    Along with flexboxes, it helps UI web development get out the stone age.
    Safari is going to be a major issue, lagging behind with adopting newer web technologies.

  • Craig Buckler

    We have a different idea about what “SEO” means.

    To me, SEO is a set of conceptually simple content and development recommendations. Content managers and developers should be aware of these because they’re best-practise techniques. SEO is not a separate project; it’s everyone’s responsibility and must be considered during website creation – not after it.

    You appear to consider SEO a job – someone who advises content managers and developers of SEO methods. Is that really a full-time role for any but the largest corporations? Admittedly, a content manager may not be aware of research tools or a developer may never have used Google’s Merchant Center – but what further use is an SEO expert once they impart that knowledge?

    I don’t consider marketing or SEM to be dead. Like everyone else, a digital specialist should understand SEO methods but it’s a diminishing task because users and search engines want the same things. Even your trends graph link indicates SEO interest has plateaued and fallen by a quarter since 2011.

    What disappoints me most is your overly-complex SEO justification. This sort of jargon-happy nonsense is used to scare clients into thinking SEO is a mystical power they’ll never understand. It seems SEO has changed less than you claim.

    • Wesley Picotte

      Ah, ok. What you call overly complex are just a bunch of ideas rattled off over a pint while trying to smile about all this, but yes, clearly we have a different understanding of SEO. My experience is with companies large enough (far from the largest) to have marketing teams of discrete disciplines to clients operating at a comparatively small scale.

      The principles of online marketing (and as a part of that SEO) are virtually the same across this spectrum, the resources are not and therefore process and timing differs, and in any scenario the considerations with respect to SEO are broader than what you’ve described. Not all businesses are alike, which would go without saying except some that I’ve worked count on organic search, invest in it requisite to their revenue and goals, and are small companies.

      Where this discussion jumps the shark for me, if you’ll pardon the pun, is that you claim involvement with SEO, profess a demonstrably narrow view of it, and argue that it’s dead. It’s kind of surreal, and your characterizations are just…

      Anyway…I’m confident that you’re a nice guy in real life, and I’m going to respectfully agree to disagree with you. I’ve read some of your other stuff and it’s fine, but in my opinion you have a narrow idea of SEO. Cheers.

      • Craig Buckler

        Perhaps you’d refer to something as SEO when I wouldn’t – and that’s fine. To me, SEO is a subset of online marketing and its technical scope has diminished while other considerations have expanded.

        Your SEO points still boil down to good content and development practises. But I recommend everyone on a team understands the basic concepts instead of deferring to an all-knowing SEO-wizard.

  • Some cool predictions in there … I concur with the SEO = DEAD. Moreover micro conversions are already passé as far as I’m concerned. I own a dutch hosting company which in itself would seem to offers services especially suitable to sell online. My experience however, is that people would like a friendly face at their table for a change, instead of a mailed newsletter and survey for every mouse click they do online :)

  • Although I think SEO will stay around, great predictions!

  • Max Beggelman

    This isn’t really much of a set of predictions. Some of these are so obvious that I’d hardly call them predictions (like #1), some set the bar so low that they already might as well be true (like #4 and #9), and some are clear wishful thinking (like #5, #8, and #10).

    • Craig Buckler

      I most humbly apologise. I’d hoped for a light-hearted article to start the year, but it seems you’ve taken this very seriously.

      For my next set of “predictions” I will replace opinions with hard facts and detailed trend analysis before conservatively estimating future movements. It won’t be particularly interesting but you’ll want to read it.

      Oh, but you read this one too? Now I’m confused. Perhaps you’d like to share better predictions with everyone?…

  • Hi @craigbuckler:disqus – check out MarketMuse. I wouldn’t say that “SEO” is dead. Organic search continues to be a strong part of a business, and your content should have a search strategy as well. Old-hat SEO that focuses on the structure and format of content is much less effective than before. Now, your search strategy should focus on semantic meaning and content quality.

    • Craig Buckler

      Thanks Aki. I agree, but is “good content” SEO? Companies should be striving for good content regardless. The balance has shifted toward users – which is what it always should have been and is what Google recommends. Tricks don’t work and even SEO recommendations have changed little in the past decade.

  • jimlongo

    #10. I think automated approaches to SEO are the way of the future. Services like siteWit cost a lot less than some SEO expert will charge, and the results claim to be more effective. I don’t know that they’re their yet, but applying AI to AdWords buys makes sense to me.

  • Thank you for this article, I think you are right! Also, I would like to know, what are the best search resources on using for protection!?