Our predictions for the Internet 2013…

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In the first of three posts, we will be looking at what we believe is in store over the next 12 months in the media world, covering newspapers, magazines, TV and Radio, book publishing and PR. But first up is the INTERNET – blogging, websites, Twitter, Facebook and Google … Internet predictions 2013

Google

Google is the current GOD of the internet, the God that every web designer, blogger and business owner must bow to … for now. In 2012 Google’s popularity took a bashing. Reports that it was avoiding paying tax haven’t gone down well plus changes to its search pages that mean ads now take a larger slice than ever, are making it look greedy.

We predict in 2013 Google’s drive to make more money will continue – and will affect many businesses, especially small ones. Currently it is walking that fine line by dishing up some pages dominated by very large blocks of sponsored links – which means it has squeezed out some of its organic listings. So if you don’t want to advertise with Google – or cannot afford to run a pay per click campaign – you are likely to find your site physically much further down the page.

Added to this it is rarely possible for the ordinary person to make a simple website with little knowledge because you are unlikely to rank well. Although ‘content is king’ is the mantra trotted out by many, a glimpse at Google’s own guidelines for webmasters reveals you need more than the ability to write well (although what constitutes ‘good’ content is of course a matter of taste.) Once upon a time Google was the penniless entrepreneur’s dream. Alas it is no more. To keep up you need to be up on all the latest tricks to beat your competitors. Hence we predict 2013 will be the year when many businesses will have to dig deep to pay for professional help.

Seo companies will therefore thrive but as they continue to be hit by the many updates that Google is throwing out on a monthly basis, it could be a stressful way to make a living (especially as for all that money, web owners want fast results…)

Meanwhile, we predict the start of a gradual swing away from the almighty Google. Google ‘car insurance’ or any competitive search term and the internet giants – brands that can pump millions into promotion – dominate. What is happening on a Google search is similar to what happened on the High St in the past – the big brands pushing the smaller ones out. All it needs is a search engine to come along which is able to promote the little guy again for Google not to be the search engine of choice (after all, we don’t need to input ‘supermarket’ to buy our weekly shop, we know the brands we use…) However, as old habits die hard, Google will still be the main search engine in 2013…

Rise of the app

The coming year will see more people than ever before accessing the net via their mobile, iPad or tablet. So the emphasise for 2013 will be for website owners to check how their site appears on these devices. At the same time we predict having an app made for your site is going to be top of many people’s lists of wants. Going back to Google here, all of this is bad news. Accessing a site via an app means you miss out the search engine part altogether. And of course there isn’t as much room for those ads again on search engine pages on a tiny phone. It could even be eventually search engines will cease to really exist – because we will all search the website we want by going to an app store…

Blogging

First up, Google would like it if everyone advertised on its sponsored listings or hosted adsense. This has been the force behind many of its updates – penalising (or saying it is penalising in a bid to frighten) any bloggers or website owners who dare to accept paid links. How Google would know if Auntie Flo has passed you a fiver to link to her website, we don’t know. But one thing’s for sure, in 2013 Google will do everything in its power to stop bloggers making any money at all. So ultimately for the vast majority of bloggers, you will be doing it for the love of it…

Facebook, Twitter and other social media

We’ve already seen people sued and arrested for saying something someone doesn’t like on Facebook or Twitter. Expect more of the same in 2013 with more arrests and court cases involving social media disputes. This is a trend set to continue. We might also witness the first complaint following a comment left on a website. It might be fun to read comments on stories and articles but ways to stamp out trolls (perhaps it might no longer be possible to remain anonymous as commenters do now) could be just round the corner…

Next: Books, publishing and PR; Newspapers, magazines and TV.

About Alison Smith-Squire

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the sell my story website Featureworld.co.uk, which was set up to help ordinary people sell their stories to the press.

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