Future of search

Recently I responded to a question on LinkedIn regarding the future of search;

SEO boon or a Ban – Is SEO a boon are ban in this internet marketing world? Will SEO exist in 2015?

In response, I think the better question is, what will the internet, mobile web and connected devices be like or be replaced by in 2015? We have seen staggering evolution of this digital media since 1994 and it continues to accelerate every year.

That said, I think we first must make some assumptions.

  1. Regardless of the type of device (desktop, handheld, phone, TV, game consoles, home appliances (blu-ray/dvd players,refrigerators, automotive, digital billboards and interactive displays) there will be connected devices in all aspects of our life in 2015, assuming the Mayans were wrong in 2012.
  2. The lines between the offline disconnected devices and the online, connected devices will be transparent.  Devices that can deliver rich content on or offline, based upon what the user wants or likes, will win consumers.
  3. The amount of content for these connected devices will be 1,000 – 10,000% that of what we have today assuming continued content expansion and emerging markets. Conservative estimates put internet traffic by 2015 to be 1000 Exabytes or 1 Zetabyte…that’s a lot of zero’s.
  4. Businesses and content aggregators will have an increased challenge on how to connect their content with their target audience based upon the growth of competitive content and delivery screen options.
  5. Consumers will be flooded with content options across all accessible screens.
  6. Consumers may begin to push back against all the options and limit their usage to niche sites and services which attract them based upon their specific interests.

Given these factors, Search will be a critical component for how consumers find content they want and how businesses can focus their content to their target audience. Search continues to grow and the competitive landscape will undoubtedly continue to change. I don’t believe the concept of search or SEO is dead or dying; I do however believe it is evolving. As social networks continue to mature and not just the Facebooks and LinkedIN networks but smaller, more targeted industry and consumer interest networks continue to grow they will act as search engines and content aggregators of those own. How businesses continue to position themselves to be found will evolve through search to be more aware of the vehicles (Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, ESPN, video/TV search sites which are coming soon, and all the smaller niche sites including community, industry and manufacturer portals) consumers are using for search and optimize accordingly to be found within those. It will continue to be critical for marketers to understand their target audience and focus their efforts through the search vehicles where those consumers are located. 

Ultimately, with all the available content options, the search vehicle which remembers the K.I.S.S. method of keeping search simple, easy and fast access to the most relevant information will win consumers and connect those consumers to business.

Then again, the Mayans may have been right after all.

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