We’re already heading towards the home stretch of 2010, so I thought I would put down some Internet marketing predictions for 2011.
The year 2010 has already seen some major industry changes including the Bing/Yahoo merger and Google Caffeine. We’ve also struggled to keep up with a number of changes to Google’s algorithm, including the May Day update. And we still have a few months that should prove to be interesting as the Search Engine Wars continue to heat up between Google and Microsoft.
Here are my six predictions for 2011:
#1) Bing Will Become a Bigger Player
For those of you who don’t know, Bing basically swallowed Yahoo in 2010. Yahoo is already serving up Bing results in most markets.
Some experts predict a 50% Bing/Yahoo search market in 2011. Whatever the number ends up being, it will likely be more than a third of the market at the very least.
For website owners, it’s time to start focusing on Bing both organic and pay per click. We are going to see healthy market share increases for the Bing/Yahoo alliance in 2011.
#2) Faster Search Engines and Fresh Search Results
In 2010, Google unleashed Caffeine. Essentially, caffeine changed how Google indexes the Internet and allows them to increase the freshness of their results going forward.
In 2011, I believe we’ll see Google unleash the full potential of Caffeine, and I believe that Microsoft will ramp up the speed and freshness of their results as well in response.
This is going to really hurt websites whose owners practice a make it and forget it approach. Many webmasters are reporting seeing new blog posts ranking on the first page of Google within 5 minutes.
Prior to 2010 it took weeks or months to get a new page of content listed in the search engines. Now, this same content is actually ranking on page 1 within a few minutes.
In 2011, new content will receive a higher volume of traffic than ever before. That means you’ll want to publish useful content at a much higher volume, and you’ll see traffic and revenue from your new content much faster than before.
#3) Niche Marketing
Niche marketing is the practice of targeting low-competition keywords that aren’t being dominated by an unbeatable competitor. While not many people saw niche marketing coming, it was simply a response to the fact that a new website really can’t compete for large keywords.
As the Internet becomes more and more competitive throughout 2010 and early 2011, niche marketing is really the only choice a new website has to capture any traffic for the first year of its existence. For this reason, niche marketing won’t be going away in 2011. And, as more people learn how to do it, niche marketing will receive a lot of attention.
In 2011, I predict that niche marketing not only continues, but that it will explode in popularity as more people discover Market Samurai, an Internet Marketing tool that teaches people how to identify and dominate micro-niches.
#4) Mobile Internet Access
In 2011 we are going to see the stragglers adopt Internet capable mobile devices. We will also see the next generation of mobile devices come out, and these devices will help users interact with the web more than they have on the current generation of devices.
The mobile application market is also exploding, and any company that can create a good mobile application should enjoy success in 2011.
If you haven’t already focused on it, it is time to make your website mobile-friendly, get into mobile pay per click advertising on Google and Bing, and finding new ways to provide value to mobile device users.
The other development is that people are increasingly getting e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter updates on their mobile devices. For businesses with storefronts, building their subscriber base on these platforms is something that shouldn’t wait any longer.
In 2011, and for the foreseeable future, businesses with strong lists will be able to drive traffic into their business easier than ever before by simply e-mailing, posting on Facebook, or tweeting on Twitter.
#5) Creation of Value vs Quick Money
In 2010 Google has attacked thin affiliate websites and Made for AdSense websites from every direction. In 2011, we are going to see more restrictions from Google aimed at eliminating websites that don’t provide any real value.
With Bing becoming an even bigger competitor, Google is likely to double their efforts at cleaning up their search results, and we are going to see a lot of websites hit with penalties that keep them off the first few pages of the results.
The websites that will enjoy the most success from this trend are those that create useful content on a regular basis. Google employee Matt Cutts has consistently said that good content is the way to get high levels of traffic through Google, and in 2011 we are going to see website owners that practice the strategy consistently for the entire year make a lot of money.
#6) Interactive and Community Based Websites
Cost-per-click advertising rates have skyrocketed in 2010. This has already resulted in a flood of webmasters venturing into AdSense funded informational sites, which only a few years ago were seen as unprofitable.
For content publishers, advertising rates will continue to climb as more businesses begin advertising online, and more people become comfortable purchasing products online.
At the same time, we are seeing consumers embracing the idea of communities. Up until now, Facebook, Twitter, and a handful of other social media websites have enjoyed most community based traffic.
That traffic has started to join smaller communities outside Facebook. For the last couple of years users have been favoring websites that are interactive and community based.
In 2011, we are going to see consumers joining more niche communities -- communities that serve specialized segments of the market. The year 2011 will see thousands of micro-communities rise as niche communities develop in such industries as marketing, music, clothing, spots, small business, gardening, and almost anything else you can think of.
You don’t have to create a Facebook to take part in this. If you can find a way to allow users to share their ideas, knowledge, or opinions on your website, you’ll capture a piece of this market. Demand is rising for interactive websites, and 2011 will be a big year of growth for these websites.