2012 Internet, SEO and Technology Predictions

// // December 27th 2011 // Analytics + SEO + Technology

It’s time again to gaze into my crystal ball and make some predictions for 2012.

Crystal Ball Technology Predictions

2012 Predictions

For reference, here are my predictions for 2011, 2010 and 2009. I was a bit too safe last year so I’m making some bold predictions this time around.

Chrome Becomes Top Browser

Having already surpassed Firefox this year, Chrome will see accelerated adoption, surpassing Internet Explorer as the top desktop browser in the closing weeks of 2012.

DuckDuckGo Cracks Mainstream

Gabriel Weinberg puts new funding to work and capitalizes on the ‘search is about answers’ meme. DuckDuckGo leapfrogs over AOL and Ask in 2012, securing itself as the fourth largest search engine.

Google Implements AuthorRank

Google spent 2011 building an identity platform, launching and aggressively promoting authorship while building an internal influence metric. In 2012 they’ll put this all together and use AuthorRank (referred to in patents as Agent Rank) as a search signal. It will have a more profound impact on search than all Panda updates combined.

Image Search Gets Serious

Pinterest. Instagram. mlkshk. We Heart It. Flickr. Meme Generator. The Internet runs on images. Look for a new image search engine, as well as image search analytics. Hopefully this will cause Google to improve (which is a kind word) image search tracking within Google Analytics.

SEO Tool Funding

VCs have been sniffing around SEO tool providers for a number of years. In 2012 one of the major SEO tool providers (SEOmoz or Raven) will receive a serious round of funding. I actually think this is a terrible idea but … there it is.

Frictionless Check-Ins

For location based services to really take off and reach the mainstream they’ll need a near frictionless check-in process. Throughout 2012 you’ll see Facebook, Foursquare and Google one-up each other in providing better ways to check-in. These will start with prompts and evolve into check-out (see Google Wallet) integrations.

Google+ Plateaus

As much as I like Google+ I think it will plateau in mid-2012 and remain a solid second fiddle to Facebook. That’s not a knock of Google+ or the value it brings to both users and Google. There are simply too many choices and no compelling case for mass migration.

HTML5 (Finally) Becomes Important

After a few years of hype HTML5 becomes important, delivering rich experiences that users will come to expect. As both site adoption and browser compatibility rise, search engines will begin to use new HTML5 tags to better understand and analyze pages.

Schema.org Stalls

Structured mark-up will continue to be important but Schema.org adoption will stall. Instead, Google will continue to be an omnivore, happy to digest any type of structured mark-up, while other entities like Facebook will continue to promote their own proprietary mark-up.

Mobile Search Skyrockets

Only 40% of U.S. mobile users have smartphones. That’s going to change in a big way in 2012 as both Apple and Google fight to secure these mobile users. Mobile search will be the place for growth as desktop search growth falls to single digits.

Yahoo! Buys Tumblr

Doubling down on content Yahoo! will buy Tumblr, hoping to extend their contributor network and overlay a sophisticated, targeted display advertising network. In doing so, they’ll quickly shutter all porn related Tumblr blogs.

Google Acquires Topsy

Topsy, the last real-time search engine, is acquired by Google who quickly shuts down the Topsy API and applies the talent to their own initiatives on both desktop and mobile platforms.

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Comments About 2012 Internet, SEO and Technology Predictions

// 6 comments so far.

  1. Jon Henshaw // December 27th 2011

    “In 2012 one of the major SEO tool providers (SEOmoz or Raven) will receive a serious round of funding.”

    You can count us (Raven) out. We’re profitable and are well past the startup stage. Nor would we want to ruin our company or product by taking on VC funding.

  2. AJ Kohn // December 28th 2011

    Thanks for the comment Jon. I’m glad to hear Raven is out of the picture. I’m not sure that will please a few VCs.

  3. Ashley // December 27th 2011

    I think you have a lot of great predictions here. The one that I would challenge is the plateau of Google+. I think that Google+ will become a huge asset and outlet for Businesses and social media; we probably won’t see the mass amounts of teens on Google+ but recent college grads, business owners, etc..

    Make a follow up post in 6 months 😉

  4. AJ Kohn // December 28th 2011

    Thanks for the comment Ashley. I’d very much like to see Google+ succeed but I try to keep my own personal bias out of my predictions. Perhaps I went too far the other way?

    The issue for me here is around what we define as an ‘active’ user. I think you’ll see a lot of people trying Google+ but I’m not sure the active user base will keep pace. Extrapolations can be a mixed bag.

  5. broman // December 27th 2011

    True true true. I think that Schema.org will be very important. And also fb open graph protocol will be interesting for social reasons.

  6. AJ Kohn // December 28th 2011

    I think structured mark-up will be very important but I’m not a Schema.org cheerleader. It’s bloated and clunky which means most sites won’t adopt it. I wish I could say different but I’ve been through the ‘microformats are going to revolutionize the web’ hype already.

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