SEO and any online marketing activity aim to create long lasting value. To be able to create long lasting value one must understand the trends, which will shape the digital world and the world of SEO in the years to come. With the release of the new Facebook graph search recently, the buzz around future online trends in SEO is now greater than ever. One such emerging trend is simply called the digital renaissance and this trend may have already started!
What Exactly is The Digital Renaissance?
Most notable luminaries of the Renaissance include geniuses such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Francis Bacon and not to forget Dante and Shakespeare. The renaissance was a beacon of light after the starless night of the dark ages. The renaissance was a period of enlightenment, great discoveries and advancements and produced many world renowned thinkers and artists.
The digital, tech-savvy equivalents of such great minds have already been born in fact you maybe one of them!
In order to get a somewhat accurate picture of the trends, which shape the future of the digital era and will bring about the future genius, rockstar and part-time ninja of the internet, a “Michelangelo 2.0“, you need to understand the digital renaissance, which will produce it. The successor to the digital era in which we currently live. The main attributes of it are accelerating development and change, adaptive, smart and omnipresent technology. It will bring about changes in the production of information and creation of user generated content online. Most notable will be the gradual shift from the tools used to create user generated content, to the content, art itself and the creative thoughts, which led to their creation.
The Digital World
The global internet penetration is constantly rising, currently it somewhat over 32.5% worldwide. (Latest publicly available figures are from 2011 Source: http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/statistics/at_glance/keytelecom.html)
Internet access is still not commonplace globally, only in the developed world. What it means commonplace anyway? From a mathematical point of view according to the Journal of Technological Forecasting and Social Change it’s 68,3% penetration. (Source: http://www.growth-dynamics.com/articles/Normal.pdf) We are still not there. The digital renaissance will be in full swing, when the global internet penetration will be above that. If the growth of internet penetration will continue to accelerate globally, then we will be there by 2025.
The developed world will lead the way into the full bloom of digital renaissance and it is already in it, in places like Tokyo, New York, London, Berlin and other mega-cities of the developed world. What’s even more important is, that new technological breakthroughs in telecommunication make internet subscription much more affordable to the masses.
The rapid global spread of internet usage globally, among all income levels of society may be the biggest challenge of online marketing and SEO to date! (Read all about it! http://simonsblogpark.com/personal/the-prostitution-of-content-a-k-a-the-fallacies-of-consumer-demand-driven-media/)
Usability, High-level Programming Languages
One of the most important changes during the digital renaissance will be the further development of high-level programming languages and a general increase in usability.
“A high-level programming language is a programming language with strong abstraction from the details of the computer. In comparison to low-level programming languages, it may use natural language elements, be easier to use, or may automate (or even hide entirely) significant areas of computing systems (e.g. memory management), making the process of developing a program simpler and more understandable relative to a lower-level language” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-level_programming_language)
The rate of user generated content increases rapidly (Source: http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1298306.1298309) and content consumption as well. The coming, easy-to-use, powerful tools and constant rise in global internet penetration will surely increase this even further. Basically we will be flooded with quality user generated content from millions of talented individuals and an even bigger, constant flow of garbage. Reminds me a lot of TV…
As content increases and diversifies we will have to come up with newer, faster and better ways to filter out the garbage. There will be an increased focus on search engines, search and filtering techniques and of course SEO. People and companies will need better ways to optimize their content ,so that others can find it easily.
The Creative Genius
Tools (programming languages) are becoming easier to use and usability will generally increase. Okay. What about gadgets? Will they get any smaller or something new is around the cornet?
They will indeed get even smaller to the point of virtually disappearing. I call this process the “dematerialization” of technology. This brings in mind one of the three famous three laws by Arthur C. Clarke:
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
We will see the rapid spread of such “magical technology” but let’s focus only on the digital world. Applications will become user friendlier and gadgets will become nearly invisible and omnipresent and interconnected. This will bring about a focus on the created content and most importantly the thoughts, consciousness, genius, inspiration behind it. That’s why we see creativity over-discussed on every possible webpage, forum and image board and that’s why psychology is such a hot topic and such a popular study choice. (Source: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2008/06/undergrad-major.aspx) The digital renaissance has already begun in the power centers of the developed world. We don’t even notice the various facets of the digital technology all around us as we commute to work, while checking our smart phones for new Facebook messages and browsing e-mails.
The Future of SEO
What does this means for an SEO? How should an SEO company thrive in a future so complex, so global and high-tech? Well the only way for an SEO company to succeed in the coming times is to aim for long-term value creation, only engage in white hat SEO activities and constantly innovate and expand into new areas. For an SEO it means, that you have to concentrate on the value you are creating for the client, not on the techniques you use, but on the results. Techniques will rapidly come and go in the coming years and each subsequent one’s lifecycle will be shorter. The SEO of tomorrow must constantly educate himself and expand his repertoire to include such things as web design, web development and knowledge of different programming languages and you have to master a myriad of different tools and plugins. There will be less distinction between the individuals, who make a living online and a new breed of polymaths (meaning: master of many trades http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polymath), a new breed of digital renaissance men will arrive. They will be designers, developers and SEO professionals planning, creating, publishing and possibly selling their own creations online. The need for proper SEO will be more than ever but a different kind of SEO, a powerful holistic approach.
Automation and Smart Websites
What is currently only pioneered by the biggest names in the online world, the search engine giants. Personalized results and Google’s knowledge graph (human pattern recognition and problem solving simulation) will revolutionize the internet landscape. Personalization based on the understanding and simulation of human cognitive processes will advance swiftly and will be an available and affordable technology, which will reshape all websites. We will see dynamic websites, which radically change and adapt to the user’s interests and needs. Static content is the past! However, this will be a topic to be discussed in-depth later. This topic is interesting and complex enough to warrant an article on its own.
Psychology, Social Media, Trend Prediction… and Steampunk?
What does social media monitoring, trend prediction, IBM and steampunk has in common? It turns out, a lot! Steampunk just might be the first trend predicted by a machine at IBM (Source: onforb.es/W49lTQ) and don’t forget to check out the fully animated official infographic. This may be the first but definitely not the last trend predicted by computers. The trend was predicted based on social media monitoring and monitoring of user generated content, and search trends, a process very familiar to SEO. This illustrates nicely the direction, where SEO is headed and a need for a holistic approach to SEO.
Don’t miss the next article! It will be about trend prediction , market research, about the proper holistic approach to SEO, video games and my love for steampunk (Will include cats too !) so stay tuned and follow us on Twitter for cats and SEO! (UPDATE: The next article is about the recently leaked Google news algorithm. You can find it here: http://www.higherclick.com/blog/nseo-seo-for-news-websites/)