SEM’s Future: What WILL and WILL NOT Matter

    March 29, 2007

The SEM Industry is rapidly changing, this includes the search engines (their SERP algorithms and spiders), SEO Tactics, and SEM Strategies. Off the top of my head I have come up with 5 things that WILL NOT matter in SEM in the future and 5 things that marketers should stay on top of.

Things that WILL NOT matter:

  • Meta Tags: Meta Tags, especially the keywords version, are already losing their importance. Meta Description is still often used to distinguish site pages but I believe both types of Meta Tags will continually lose their SEO value.
  • Page Size: The majority of Internet users are already using high speed connections and this number will continually increase, therefore to some extent page size won’t matter.
  • JavaScript Code: Very often SEOs will recommend externalizing JavaScript or removing it from a site’s main navigation, however with search spiders continually getting smarter I feel spiders will eventually be able to comprehend various types of complex JavaScript code.
  • Location of Content: The higher up the content (within the page code) the better search engines and their spiders will like your site, correct? Maybe, but as I mentioned before spiders will get smarter and as long as you have good content, location won’t matter anymore.
  • Search Engine Ranking: With the introduction of personalized search are the days of ranking software numbered?….It’s very possible. I have always felt that this metric is useless without traffic and conversion numbers attached to it.

Things that WILL matter:

  • Website Messaging: As personalized search becomes more prominent it’s the messaging of websites that will compel users to click through and remain on a given website. Website owners will really have work hard to build the perfect personas for their target market so they can lure visitors with the right messaging.
  • Competitive landscape: Knowing your competition is always important but in the future it will be even more imperative. As visitors are presented with the results they prefer to see, website owners need to make sure their messaging and offerings are comparable to their competitors.
  • Rich Media: Audio, Video, Podcasts, Flash and AJAX are continually getting more popular, I believe this trend will continue to rise and this type of content will eventually all be spiderable by search engines.
  • Usability: Things like focus groups, A/B testing, Eye Tracking will be normal practices for all marketing professionals. If your site doesn’t cut it, visitors will simply move to the next one.
  • Widgets: Almost every website offers some type of widget because everyone loves widgets (they’re great for link bait too). We’ll see more interactivity with widgets and more widgets from Google, Yahoo and MSN.