2013 Internet, SEO and Technology Predictions

// // December 31st 2012 // Advertising + Marketing + SEO + Social Media + Technology

I’ve made predictions for the past four years (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) and think I’ve done pretty well as a prognosticator.

I’m sometimes off by a year or two and many of my predictions are wrong where my predictions were more like personal wishes. But it’s interesting to put a stake in the ground so you can look back later.

2013 Predictions

2013 Predictions Crystal Ball

Mobile Payment Adoption Soars

If you follow my Marketing Biz column you know I’m following the mobile payments space closely. Research seems to indicate that adoption of mobile payments will take some time in the US based on current attitudes.

I believe smartphone penetration and the acceptance of other similar payments such as app store purchases and Amazon Video on Demand will smooth the way for accelerated mobile payment adoption. Who wins in this space? I’m still betting on Google Wallet.

Infographics Jump The Shark

Frankly, I think this has already happened but perhaps it’s just me. So I’m going to say I’m the canary in the coal mine and in 2013 everyone else will get sick and tired of the glut of bad Infographics.

Foursquare Goes Big

The quirky gamification location startup that was all about badges and mayorships is growing up into a mature local search portal. I expect to see Foursquare connect more dots in 2013, making Yelp very nervous and pissing off Facebook who will break their partnership when they figure out that Foursquare is eating their local lunch.

Predictive Search Arrives

Google Now is a monster. The ability to access your location and search history, combined with personal preferences allows Google to predict your information needs. Anyone thinking about local optimization should be watching this very closely.

Meme Comments

A new form of comments and micro-blogging will emerge where the entire conversation is meme based. Similar to BuzzFeed’s reactions, users will be able to access a database of meme images, perhaps powered by Know Your Meme, to respond and converse.

Search Personalization Skyrockets

Despite the clamor from filter bubble and privacy hawks, Google will continue to increase search personalization in 2013. They’ll do this through context, search history, connected accounts (Gmail field trial) and Google+.

The end result will be an ever decreasing uniformity in search results and potential false positives in many rank tracking products.

Curation Marketing

Not content with the seemingly endless debate of SEO versus Inbound Marketing versus Content Marketing versus Growth Hacking we’ll soon have another buzzword entering the fray.

Curation marketing will become increasingly popular as a way to establish expertise and authority. Like all things, only a few will do it the right way and the rest will be akin to scraped content.

Twitter Rakes It In 

I’ve been hard on Twitter in the past and for good reason. But in 2013 Twitter will finally become a massive money maker as it becomes the connection in our new multi-screen world. As I wrote recently, Twitter will win the fight for social brand advertising dollars.


After spending years and literally hundreds of blog posts about the proper way to paginate we’ll see a trend toward de-paginating in the SEO community. The change will be brought on by the advent of new interfaces and capabilities. (Blog post forthcoming.)

Analytics 3.0 Emerges

Pulling information out of big data will be a trend in 2013. But I’m even more intrigued by Google’s Universal Analytics and location analytics services like Placed. Marketers are soon going to have a far more complete picture of user behavior, Minority Report be damned!

Ingress Becomes Important

I’m a bit addicted to Ingress. At first you think this is just a clever way for Google to further increase their advantage on local mapping. And it is.

But XM is essentially a map Android usage. You see a some in houses, large clusters at transit stops, movie theaters and doctor’s offices, essentially anywhere there are lines. You also see it congregate at intersections and a smattering of it on highways.

Ingress shows our current usage patterns and gives Google more evidence that self-driving cars could increase Internet usage, which is Google’s primary goal these days.

Digital Content Monetization

For years we’ve been producing more and more digital content. Yet, we still only have a few scant ways to monetize all of it and they’re rather inefficient when you think about it. Someone (perhaps even me) will launch a new way to monetize digital content.

I Will Interview Matt Cutts

No, I don’t have this lined up. No, I’m not sure I’ll be able to swing it. No, I’m not sure the Google PR folks would even allow it. But … I have an idea. So stay tuned.

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Comments About 2013 Internet, SEO and Technology Predictions

// 12 comments so far.

  1. Matthew // December 31st 2012

    Great predictions! I was only the other day talking with a friend about content monetization and how there needs to be some improvement / other ways of doing so.
    Keep up the good work in 2013 AJ :)

  2. AJ Kohn // December 31st 2012

    Thanks for the kind words Matthew. I think we’re likely to see other ways to monetize digital content soon. In the past there just wasn’t enough of it to warrant a large scale effort but with nearly everyone having the ability to produce content I can’t imagine that there aren’t some smart people dreaming up better ways to support content creators.

  3. Rhianna Rita Starr // December 31st 2012

    There might be one problem with Foursquare. Foursquare is going to insist on displaying a full name: this could backfire on Foursquare’s popularity.
    I enjoyed your predictions. Happy New Year!

  4. AJ Kohn // December 31st 2012

    Thanks Rhianna. I actually see Foursquare’s move to full names as a positive. There will likely be some who will shriek about privacy but identity is hugely important to a maturing company. Foursquare needs to trust the checkins and tips so it can provide authoritative reviews and compete against folks like Yelp.

    Just like Google+, I think Foursquare has figured out that identity is necessary as a building block of trust. And while people claim to be nervous about such tracking, they don’t have a good track record of following through on any threats to quit said services. But there’s always a first time I suppose. We’ll see either way.

  5. Harris Schachter // December 31st 2012

    Right on the money (pun intended) with the mobile payment space. That should be an exciting thing watch. Meme commenting would just be awesome! I’ve never heard of Placed or Ingress, but I’ll have to check them out.

    One item which I think will be gaining even more momentum (and this probably can fit into one of your general categories like predictive search or personalization) is structured data. The debut of the structured data highlighter is a huge indicator that people haven’t adopted it as quickly as Google would like.

    I see the web like a giant hot bar, it all looks good but to Google it might seem like a huge buffet with no labels. You can sort of tell what the food is just by looking at it (semantic analysis) or what it is next to (linking relationships and spatio-temporal algorithms), but it seems like Google wants all ingredients to labeled. In this regard, Google is certainly a picker eater, but with a ravenous appetite.

    Happy new year AJ! Best to you and yours.

  6. AJ Kohn // December 31st 2012

    Thanks Harris. I agree that structured data will continue to be important in 2013. And I share your view that Highlighter shows that Google is eager to increase adoption and to level the playing field.

    Google was last to the rich snippets party in large part due to the fact that they didn’t want technology-savvy sites to benefit unfairly over those with less technology skills. For years Google has worked to extract structured data from regular make-up but Highlighter is clearly an indication that Google is hungry for more.

    Health, wealth and happiness to you and your loved ones in 2013.

  7. Stuart McHenry // December 31st 2012

    I thought infographics already jumped the shark! :/

    The problem I have with inforgraphics is the link anchors rarely look natural. And… this can cause problems with ranking issues.

  8. AJ Kohn // December 31st 2012

    Like I said Stuart, I pretty much skip Infographics during my morning RSS routine. I can’t stomach most of them.

    Anchor text is a smaller issue for me, though clearly it can be abused. I’m just fed up with people thinking that a few pieces of data means they should create an Infographic. There is a place for Infographics but only under very limited circumstances in my view.

  9. Victor Pan // January 09th 2013

    Sorry guys, bit late on this conversation.

    I’m starting to see more meme commenting show up on facebook messages, using the techniques described here: http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/25/facebook-custom-emoticons/

    Interested to see if it’ll get bigger, and looking forward to your post on de-pagination AJ.

  10. Emily K. // January 25th 2013

    Interesting predictions, and I’m curious to see what goes big in 2013! As a new FourSquare user, I agree that Yelp! should be nervous. For the mobile payment, I feel these past couple of years everyone keeps predicting it will be “the next big thing”. Still hasn’t happened yet. Maybe 2013 is year of mobile payments? I do love my Starbucks mobile payment option.

  11. Emma // January 29th 2013

    Well, the Meme conversation thing is already happening. On my end anyway – I have a lot of meme based conversations with my clients. Yep. I’m supposed to be a “pro” but this is the Internet and I want a cheeseburger (among other things).

    Well, I look forward to your interview with Mr Cutts :)

  12. corry // February 27th 2013

    well would you please elaborate the project competition between foursquare and facebook. I think that twitter would outgrow facebook…..though not much on foursquare. Your comment?

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