Well, it’s finally out, the nerds guide to what’s going to be worth taking note of in 2016. Each year SEO and now Content Marketing expert Rand Fishkin rubs his crystal ball and makes bold predictions on what’s going to make an impact to content marketers in 2016.
Are you a Content Marketer?
Well, if you have a blog you might as well get used to the term because that’s the game you’re in, like it or not.
Blog + Content Marketing = Money
And rather than attempt to keep abreast of all the nerdiness in SEO, every minute of the day, I turn to one man to show me the guiding light each year, Rand Fishkin.
So let’s see what he has to say and how we can leverage these bold web predictions as a blogger.
Web Marketing Predictions for Bloggers in 2016
(Based on Rand Fishkin Web Marketing Prediction for 2016)
#1: Data will reveal Google organic results to have <70% CTR
All that work you’ve been doing to gain the attention of the Google Search users is slowly becoming irrelevant…Wrong!
Despite a predicted decline from 80-85% CTR to a much smaller 70%, it’s still a win for bloggers as over the last few years Google’s share of the search pie has grown to 91% of the market. Therefore, 70% of the billion plus searches each day is still a lot of Google Organic Juice worth fighting for.
On the flip side we can see there is an increase of CTR on Google Ads so it’s becoming a more a domain of ‘pay to play’.
Facebook have already flipped their organic reach on its head and literally made the concept of a Fan Page worthless. With only 15-16% of your status updates ever reaching your fans you’ll have to wonder if it’s really worth your time. Contrast that to Facebook ads where you can guarantee getting infront of your target audience every time you’re are prepared to pay.
So what this really means for a Blogger, is you’d better start getting better at converting words into dollars so you can afford to continue paying to play in the future.
Let’s do some simple math
Current Conversions = 3%
If you can just increase that rate by a mere 3% you have effectively doubled your money, without having to publish twice the content or find twice the amount of readers. Working on conversions makes total sense and even more so in the coming year.
#2: Mobile will barely cut into desktop’s usage and it’s growth rate in developed countries will slow.
Well, this is almost a no-brainer when you consider that mobile phones in developed countries are almost at saturation point. And apart from mobsters and drug dealers who prefer a cheap disposable flip phone, who in the developed world doesn’t have the ability to view websites on their phone.
Google made a massive change to their search algorithm in 2015 that ensures that only mobile compliant websites will appear in mobile search results going forward.
I covered this in one of my posts, and if you haven’t made your website, mobile compliant then I suggest you make it one of your top priorities in 2016. Here’s how.
But what Rand goes on to say, is he believes the growth for mobile has stagnated and “we may have reached the peak of desktop/laptop decline”
But he doesn’t talk much about the non-developed countries and how mobile will be their first entry on the Information Super Highway, long before laptops and desktops.
There is a prediction there will be another 3 billion users on the Internet within the next 5 years, so your opportunities will increase exponentially as a blogger, but you must be ready for the type of traffic this will bring and on what platform.
You may need to teach people how to crawl again.
#3: Twitter will figure out how to grow again
Twitter is my primary Social Media Platform so I’m happy to hear this prediction for sure and I have to agree that Twitter isn’t going anywhere soon. More recently I’ve seen an upswing with major media broadcasters using Twitter as their primary way to connect with their audience and garner a conversation, albeit seriously edited.
One idea circling the media traps is Twitter is changing their tweet limit from 140 characters to 10,000 characters and I’m interested to see how this one plays out.
A 10,000 character tweet will be unmanageable in IMHO.
Attention spans are getting shorter and this is why Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat have all grown so rapidly in recent years because you only need a few minutes to read and reply. On the other hand reading and replying to a 10,000 character tweet will take more time than you have.
10,000 characters = 2,000 words = 15 minutes reading time
Rand predicts Twitter will find a way to grow, and maybe it finds more market share in the crowded social media market, but will it lose some of its effectiveness?
Be ready a new breed of Internet Marketers, who will be rubbing their hands at the opportunity to impart their long form copy onto anyone who will follow.
#4: Social content engines will become a force
Admittedly, this is actually the first time I’ve heard of social content engines, but after a brief look at the links Rand provided, I can see their value for sure.
However, it was only a few years ago that we had the widely popular RSS feeds which essentially did the same thing, although you actually got to choose which blogs or content you wanted to follow and these new breeds of social content engines appear to do the thinking for you.
I discovered a lot of content curation in 2015, and quite frankly just shake my head and wonder what’s this world becoming. The wildly popular Buzzfeed comes to mind and I can’t help think about all that wasted brain space being filled with utter garbage.
Where have all the thinkers gone?
Given these are my first thoughts, I expect Rand’s prediction to come true and social content engines will become a force in 2016.
As generally, what I’m thinking at any point in time isn’t what mainstream does, but I consider this to be a good personal trait. My daily life is a constant struggle against the marketing machine, but hey I can always use that knowledge to suit my own needs.
The fact is we live our lives in a really small bubble and tend to visit the same websites over and over again. And even though you think you are breaking free by using a social content engine to expand your horizons, the one site you come back to day in and day out is the very website you thought was breaking you free.
Take your time thinking about the paradox.
So this isn’t so much a prediction but a given, because just as the social content engines before, think Digg, BoingBoing, Buzzfeed, have laid the path the new players will continue to grow this space.
#5: Yext will IPO, prompting even more interest in the world of local listings
Well, obviously I don’t get out much, because I’ve never heard of Yext, but then again I don’t enjoy shopping in large Shopping Centre or Malls either so I’m probably not the target market.
Will Yext IPO in 2016? Who knows but for us bloggers it will mean one thing.
There are still companies out there that will pay for traffic to their businesses and even a blogger can promote foot traffic to a bricks and mortar store. It’s an opportunity that you’ve probably neglected and yet there are hundreds of local stores in your area.
Leverage a platform like Yext, to see who is paying for the privilege of increasing their foot traffic and prepare a pitch specifically for them. Use the power of your niche to direct foot traffic to their store and maybe pick-up a few new readers and extra cash in return.
Of course, you’ll need to prove this concept to the local store owner first so choose someone you’d like to work with and experiment, before rolling out your offering to the wider community.
And before following this opportunity through, you might consider raising your local profile, by getting a write up the in the local paper.
#6: The death of normal distributions will hit both publishing and search results hard
Rand’s theory here is we are “moving away from a world of normal distributions in demand curves and towards a winner-take-all model” This would certainly sound a death knell for small and up and coming bloggers but I don’t buy it for a second.
You see the world has always been like this, where the rich get richer, but they also fall faster too.
Your job as a blogger isn’t to compete with the best of the best, but rather find those people that are being ignored by them. These people, given enough attention, can become your true raving fans and that’s what you’re looking for.
Fad’s come and go and so do popular websites who just get eaten up by the next big player. So why they’re busy eating themselves, consider carving out your own small unique part of the world.
Largely these behemoths rely on display advertising and as adblocking grows, so shrinks their revenues.
As a blogger display advertising is only the first step in your blog monetization strategy.
#7: The rise of adblocking is going to trigger attempts at legislation and incite more sites to restrict adblocking users
Yep, Adblocking continued to grow over 2015, and the movement is sending a strong message. People are tired of being overwhelmed by ads.
But the reality is The Internet isn’t free, so in order to produce good content, people deserve to get paid.
Personally, I’d like to see the concept of micropayments take off where you donate a small amount (cents in the dollar) to a website for reading their pages. And considering the few cents you might receive from Google Adsense for an equivalent click thru, this micro-donation might simply replace those advertising banners. Win-win.
However, micropayments haven’t been mastered yet, so until it does, we’ll need the big players to fight the adblocking front for us. But while they’re busy…
We’ll use other means to earn a living like, targeted affiliate advertising, sponsored posts and creating digital products to solve a specific problem. All these methods are within the reach of a blogger.
#8: DuckDuckGo will be the fastest-growing search engine of 2016
I still remember the last fastest growing search engine that I started to follow and where they ended up.
Google became widely adopted during the period of the search engine big guns like Yahoo and Altavista because they offered something new.
Google’s motto was “Don’t be Evil” and their search pages were clean and almost empty, without the cluster of ads you see today. People really liked that idea but Google doesn’t live by that motto anymore and their reputation has taken more than a few hits for sure.
Duckduckgo.com offers that clean interface once again and only a spattering of ads and just look at their motto “The search engine that doesn’t track you “. Wow, could this be true?
I’ll have to agree with Rand on this one and I have a warm and fuzzy feeling about the future of DuckDuckGo, so how do you register a blog on DuckDuckGo?
We’ll you don’t need to do anything because like with all search engines, they will find you. Go and search for your blog today.
Let’s hope they remain neutral for as long as possible and avoid being swallowed up by a big player.
Hopefully, you’ll enjoy the extra traffic you’ll receive with DuckDuckGo for years to come.
And if you already pay for ads then consider purchasing a few from DuckDuckGo as you’re likely being paying a fraction of the costs you might expect with Google Adwords.
#9: Content marketing software for the non-enterprise will finally emerge
We’ll this is great news if you’re the sort of blogger that actively seeks new engagement and likes to follow others down the same path.
Remember marketers ruin everything, so unless you are on the bleeding edge, you’ll likely buy into an idea and not a solution.
Personally, I avoid a lot of these over hyped content marketing platforms because, they are an energy sucks and drain your resources with their low-low pay by the month plans.
Of course, my path might be different to yours so you should decide for yourself, but remember to look through the hype and make an informed decision if it’s really going to help your blog. If possible, give these products your undivided attention for a few months and then work through the numbers to decide if they are right for you.
Avoid the year long contracts until your are SURE.
If you are a writer then write, and avoid the temptation to get into Content Marketing too soon. If you are just starting a blog in 2016 then concentrate on developing your style before being influenced by others.
#10: The “big” trends for 2016: Wearables, VR, Smart Home, and the Internet of Things will have almost no impact on the world of web marketing (yet)
A year is a long time in technology so I’m not holding my breath on this bold prediction. As a blogger, you can certainly leverage these trends throughout 2016 and they might just get you some extra exposure if you can think of creative ways to use the technology.
For example, a real estate blogger could use VR, to create walk-throughs of houses pointing out the different aspects that make a good sale and the ones that don’t.
A fitness blogger might find a way to include wearables into their group of fitness fanatics, creating both comradery and competition.
And what if you gave away a fridge magnet, that notified your raving fans when you published some content.
Maybe not today, but this technology is going to play a big part in the future, so be alert, not alarmed.
So that’s my take on Rand’s Web Marketing Predictions and I’ve added my own views specifically for bloggers in 2016.
Now back to blogging…
If you’ve got any bold predictions for 2016, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.