10 (Paid) Search Marketing Predictions for 2011

  1. Google will get rid of live employees entirely. AdWords customer service will be provided by heavily interlinked, redundant help files which give only vague, cursory explanations and ultimately link back to old Webmasterworld.com forum posts (thus resolving any and all issues).
  2. Microsoft Adcenter will collapse under the continued strain of absorbing all of Yahoo’s keyword advertisers. After several weeks of complete confusion and chaos, ad serving will resume via the old Overture platform and everyone will be a lot happier.
  3. Quality Score algorithms will become so convoluted and complex, they will cease to make any sense whatsoever. Frustrated advertisers will continue to bid on whatever the hell they want to bid on regardless of the cost, making Google even MORE successful.
  4. Someone, somewhere will realize that Facebook advertising is not, actually, search marketing. Those same people will struggle to accept this fact, but ultimately come to terms with it.
  5. Google will revise its “do no evil” philosophy to incorporate a little bit of evil, starting with the outlook that monopolies aren’t really all THAT bad.
  6. The search engines will make several arbitrary changes to their ad copy guidelines which will require hours of work to comply with, all of which will amount to absolutely no discernible changes in ad performance or advertiser benefits. These changes will begin as early as Jaunary 2011…
  7. There will be a dozen search marketing conferences which all contain “mobile” and “social media” tracks, but don’t actually discuss how either mobile OR social media can benefit and/or be integrated with search. Guy Kawasaki will speak at 85% of these sessions, however, no one will learn anything because we’ll all be too busy tweeting his sound bytes.
  8. A catastrophic weather event will prevent SMX Advanced from taking place in Seattle. As a result, we’ll all log into GoToMeeting to watch Danny Sullivan discuss the latest cool search apps for iPad and Android, while sparring with Matt Cutts about why paying for links is BAD.
  9. September will bring with it at least 20 different “Are you prepared for the holidays?” free Webinars, which are meant to motivate advertisers into ramping up their campaigns before the Christmas rush, but don’t really provide any (new) information. I will register for six of these webinars and attend not one of them.
  10. Someone will declare that “search is dead” in favor of social and/or mobile marketing. I will roll my eyes at this person and possibly hit them over the head with my browser-enabled smartphone.