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- Popups. These make me want to howl and then close my entire browser. It’s amazing to me how many annoying popups still exist. If you want people to stay on your page, please get rid of these.
- Intruding, drop downs, advertisements or graphics. I’m OK with ads – as long as they don’t cover the text, float across the page, or do something else extremely annoying. They often make me think my computer is coming down with a nasty virus.
- “Give us your email, social security card and bank account number to read this.” I hate it when companies hold content for ransom. Companies try to promote their stuff then try to make you give them all your contact information to get it, often in the form of registration log on pages. *However, in some instances I think it’s OK, such as Webinars, etc. For the most part, free content available to anyone is the way to go. If you want to capture emails, have a newsletter sign up box, but don’t twist people’s arms.
- Overly promotional social media updates and press releases. These make me gag a little, especially when I was an editor at a newspaper. With social media and PR, you are providing information and connecting with people. It’s for conversation and news. It’s not for exaggerated fluff.
- Ambiguous home pages. You have just a few seconds before a visitor leaves your site or clicks through it. If your site doesn’t have a clear direction, say, “hasta luego” to your potential customer.
- Confusing Navigation. If it’s confusing, I’m going somewhere else.
- Bad copywriting. Typos, cheesiness, too serious, too long, unclear, un-engaging, exaggerations, etc., will kill your website. A site is often all about the headlines, copy and call to actions. If the writing is bad, you’ll have no chance with a customer.
- “Install extra software to continue.” I hate this one. I fear getting a virus, and I don’t have the time to download new software.
- Slow-loading pages. Not only is this a pet peeve, it’s also going to be big for the future of SEO.
- Dead links. They are dead ends that force me to go somewhere else.
- Bad colors, graphics. Some websites make me want to scratch my eyeballs out. Many designs can be distracting, and the wrong background color can make it difficult to read the text.
- Flash and sparkly stuff. Flash can be pretty cool, but not usually in a conversion sense. Sometimes designers and CEOs like flash, because, it’s cool. But, it can often be flashy without any substance, and as a result, waste the viewers’ time. Some sparkly design stuff will make your site look like a used car sales floor. That is never a good idea.
- Ineffective site tools. Why do people launch websites that don’t work? Why, why why?
- MUSIC! Music on the homepage makes me do a mad scramble for the “X” button like it’s my full-time job to close out browsers. Music, and videos for that matter, that play without my approval, is a bad, bad thing.
Disclaimer: these predictions are not entirely the belief of SEO.com as an organization, or the people that work for SEO.com. These predictions are speculated and completely FUN, and more importantly, if you look hard enough between the lines, you’ll find some good “nuggets” for the upcoming year’s social media strategy.
Feel free to view Part 1 of my 2010 Predictions: Search Engines.
The World of Social Media
What We Know-
• Twitter and Facebook dominate the scene, but Twitter has no revenue stream while Facebook becomes the dominating force in Social.
• Twitter and Facebook have become the way people share information, and it is affecting social bookmarking sites such as Digg.
• Twitter has redefined the way people communicate and the way search engines determine what is popular.
What We Suspect-
• Twitter seems to have reached its potential, and is going to be hard pressed to grow any further in its current form.
• In order for Facebook to retain, and increase users, keep an eye out for a completely redefined “Group” option, or a vertical-ization of a new public section.
• It will be a shock if Twitter isn’t acquired by a larger company by the end of 2010
How Will it Happen?
(Facebook Prepares for Dominance)
One of the most important things we’ll see happen between Twitter, Facebook and upcoming Social Media like Foursquare, is definition. Social media sites will define their purpose, their existence, and their unique selling position (USP) this year.
Facebook is currently one of the strongest ways to advertise to targeted demographics and markets, while Twitter is the best way to “listen in” and distribute news, and information to the masses. As Twitter and Facebook start to better define their USP, corporate America should become more comfortable in developing marketing strategies with social media in 2010.
The first thing that will come with social media “definition” is a mutual goal with Twitter and Facebook. Both entities will make sure users understand that Facebook is not Twitter, and Twitter is not Facebook. The general public will learn and understand they are not the same thing, and there are benefits for using both mediums. By making this point clear to users, both companies should see an increase in users and interaction between users. I predict that the two companies will embrace each other, and incorporate each others’ strength. There is no better way to do this than with an official partnership, or even a merger. (As a side note, “TwitFace” could become Google’s worst nightmare.)
If Facebook (being the bigger fish in the pond) doesn’t take Twitter to be its lawfully wedded partner, then I predict that we will see some big changes for Facebook coming in the ways of “Group” and vertical-ization of a new public profile option.
Facebook’s next direction (in my humblest of opinions) needs to focus on having an option for “like- minded” strangers to connect without giving away the farm, personal family info, embarrassing photos of you that your jackass friend put up. The reason the current “fan pages” don’t work is because there is no seamless interface between you and your fan page. If this all comes to fruition then I strongly believe that we will see Twitter slowly suffer. Facebook would have serious leverage in providing and developing real-time search (RTS) abilities with the new public profile option (all enhanced by the Friendfeed acquisition), in addition to having the ability to connect complete strangers with similar interests.
Twitter will be the most vulnerable company that 53M+ users can’t live without, simply because it makes no money. Again, if a partnership can’t come together with Facebook, then the next logical option would be for Internet King Google to buy up the company so they could strictly control the RTS scene. And Google already has rumors circulating that they are interested. We will then see the most famous tweet of all time from @mattcutts: “What? It was either buy Twitter or create Gtweet.”
THE WORST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN TO SOCIAL MEDIA
Social Media War: Facebook bans all Twitter language from status updates because it only comes across as gibberish to non-Twitter users.
THE BEST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN TO SOCIAL MEDIA
Facebook develops a Twitter translator that will automatically translate Twitter language into readable phrases for non-Twitter users to better understand. In addition Facebook will create a “Gaming Facebook Platform” so I don’t have to know what happens to your Farm or Mob family. Just sayin’…
This post was brought to you by the help of many at SEO.com. Here is a big shout out to Dan Bischoff, Dan Patterson, Rick Hardman, Ash Buckles, Scott Cowley and let’s not forget Mike Benson or Robyn Storms.Read the full story
I love looking forward to the upcoming year, and trying to guess what this New Year may bring. For this reason I have decided to write a few “fun” posts on 2010 predictions in two areas: search engines, and social media.
Already there have been strong and well-researched predictions from industry leaders like Rand Fishkin. You’ll notice though, that I may have some differing opinions, which is proof that it is hard to guess what will happen.
Now I can’t say that these will all happen in 2010, but great groundwork will be placed for the end results. I also can’t say that these predictions are entirely the belief of SEO.com as an organization, or the people that work for SEO.com.
I can say that these predictions are well researched, fully speculated and completely FUN. And if you look hard enough between the lines, you might find some gems in preparing for the upcoming year in your online marketing strategy.
THE WORLD OF SEARCH ENGINES
What We Know-
• Bing is looking to take over Yahoo! Search, making this a 2-search engine world (US Market, or larger?).
• Mobile search will grow exponentially and may become bigger than desktop search.
• Google has China in their sites, and Baidu is the target.
• Personal search tied into real-time search will show Google’s dominance in every aspect of our lives.
What We Suspect-
• Bing will go big or go home. Meaning either Yahoo people will love or hate Bing. With articles like this, showing that Bing is gaining new traffic, I suspect Bing will go big with Yahoo! users.
• Players who understand how their market uses the Internet will be providing mobile sites, optimized for (hold your breath) Google Mobile Search.
• The best way to kill Baidu is to buy Baidu, but can it be done?
• Big Brother is coming …
How Will it Happen?
Bing’s goal is to bring serious competition to the search-engine table. The only issue is Bing is trying to run the table with money: buyout Yahoo Search and news outlets, run intensive ads on TV. When all is said and done, Bing may spend more trying to buy their way into search than they actually did on developing their engine (slight exaggeration may be implied but $100 million is their rumored TV budget alone).
As stated before, I suspect that with the success Bing is having with new visitors, we’ll see some safe gains in the Bing corner. But I have a hard time believing Bing will provide Google with serious competition. Google has plans of its own.
Those plans include a growing list of future Google products and a growing list of companies it plans to purchase. (Example: Yelp is in Google’s sights, to improve local search options, but Yelp seems to be playing “hard to get.” This is how Google plays the game.)
In addition, Bing isn’t Google’s only concern. China is the largest developing market for Web use, and Google wants to be on top. In order to get there, Google will need to figure out how to handle Baidu. Even though in 2005, Robin Li, CEO of Baidu, refused to comment about rumors that Google was in negotiations to buy Baidu — leaving the world to speculate — Baidu has grown too large, and owns too much of the market to make that remotely possible.
However, Google stands at a crossroads in China. Should it continue on its current strategy, which has worked globally so far, but not with the Chinese, or does Google mold itself to fit the culture like Baidu has? In either case, I don’t think the search algorithm will change for the people of China. Ultimately, finding SEO success in China through Google should happen the same way you find success in the rest of the Google world.
Personalized Search (PS) and Real Time Search (RTS) are starting to bust their way onto the search engine scene. Neither one has struck a chord with the majority of users. I honestly don’t know of anyone out of the SEO/SEM world that has noticed the additions (even as I write this it seems that Google is reconsidering how to implement RTS). For this reason many people are beginning to write RTS off as a failure, and are predicting them to disappear in 2010. But even if Twitter doesn’t improve RTS, the caffeine update from Google proves that RTS is important. And whether we like it or not, I believe Google will place a lot of importance in developing this technology further.
In addition to PS and RTS, I believe you’ll also see more emphasis in mobile search as speculations say it could out-do computer-based search in the years to come. Overall, I believe mobile search will develop to be a major new search engine within itself. Because of the innovations from mobile devices like iPhone, and Google Android, I think you will begin to see a search engine designed specifically for mobile websites (sites that have been redone for easy viewing on those devices). The main factor that will propel mobile search as a big market is an increase in local/localized search as well (acquiring Yelp is starting to make more sense here) so that people can quickly find the store, the product, or the services they need while out and about in their daily lives.
TIME TO PANDER TO YOUR FEARS
Consider all the information we are willingly giving to Google: our email, all of our contacts, our calendar, health information, financial information and anything else found on Google Docs. Not only is this information handed to Google, but Google collects huge amount of data on our habits (that is why it is called Personalized Search). And not just what we do on Google, but what we do on websites we visit before and after using Google. Ultimately, Google is given a lot of power. Some say too much power. With all of this information being collected and analyzed, Google will begin laying the ground work for the most secretive, powerful, and threatening product ever conceived by Eric Schmidt himself. Some call it “Big Brother,” but its official title will be “Google Government …”
This post was fun. Look for my predictions tomorrow on social media, where we’ll discuss the future of the biggest social media platform Facebook, and its plans with Twitter.Read the full story