If you’d like a decent online presence, then you need to control what people see when they use a search engine to find out more about you. While you definitely want future employers or business associates to find your LinkedIn profile, not everyone wants their Facebook profile to be as prominent. If you’re like me, your Facebook profile is probably a bit more personal, a place where you post some things you wouldn’t dare post anywhere else.
Just for fun, here are my 14 social media predictions for the year ahead:
- LinkedIn will introduce hashtags.
The three major social networks in the West—Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn—tend to copy each other’s features. This year, for example, LinkedIn started letting people tag other users or companies on the site. Facebook, on the other hand, introduced hashtags.
I wouldn’t be surprised if LinkedIn introduces hashtags as well. It makes sense: Hashtags will enable content discovery, letting people connect with other professionals and find even more articles to share.
- LinkedIn will kill LinkedIn Groups.
Let’s face it: LinkedIn Groups haven’t been useful for a couple of years now. It’s a widely abused feature. Many people use LinkedIn Groups to spam people with links, without actually thinking about engagement. Earlier this year, LinkedIn killed LinkedIn Answers; I expect LinkedIn Groups to be next.
- Teens will flock to yet another new social network.
Teens have a very fickle taste when it comes to social networks. A few years ago, it was Facebook. Today, it’s Snapchat, Tumblr, and, to some extent, Twitter. Pheed was cool for a brief moment of time.
Teens still use the other apps/websites, but an obscure social network will once again capture the attention of the young ones in 2014. Marketers will have to pay attention since where the teens go is usually an indication of what’s going to be hot in a few years.
- Buffer’s user base will grow significantly.
Buffer has been a rising star for a while now. And it’s really no wonder why: With a great, easy-to-use product, a useful blog, and a competent team that can handle social media disasters, Buffer is on a roll.
I expect Buffer to grow significantly in 2014, perhaps to the point of challenging Hootsuite in the marketplace. Late this year, Buffer introduced services for businesses. And then a few weeks after that, it integrated with Mention. Buffer surely has a few more innovations along the way.
If you read marketing publications on a regular basis, you may have seen the extensive coverage on Google Hummingbird. Unless you’re an SEO pro though, you probably glanced at these articles, wondering what they really mean for you.
Here’s a quick guide on what you need to know.
A new Google search algorithm
Hummingbird is a new search algorithm. So unlike Penguin or Panda (which were updates to an existing algorithm), this one’s more significant. What does it exactly do? Danny Sullivan provides the following helpful explanation:
Hummingbird should better focus on the meaning behind the words. It may better understand the actual location of your home, if you’ve shared that with Google. It might understand that “place” means you want a brick-and-mortar store. It might get that “iPhone 5s” is a particular type of electronic device carried by certain stores. Knowing all these meanings may help Google go beyond just finding pages with matching words.
In particular, Google said that Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query — the whole sentence or conversation or meaning — is taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words.
Hummingbird is an expansion of Google’s efforts to move towards semantic search, focusing more on user intent rather than individual search keywords.
5 marketing tips in light of Google Hummingbird
With this new search algorithm now in place, what can marketers do to ensure their pages appear on Google? Here are some basics you should keep in mind:
Google regularly updates its search algorithm to improve user experience and penalize those who are gaming the system.
If you read marketing websites even occasionally, you might have heard about the terms ‘Panda’ and ‘Penguin’ before. Usually these terms are mentioned in the context of search engine optimization (SEO).
Recently I was asked about these two, about how the two are exactly different. I realize that I wasn’t 100% sure, so I decided to learn more. I also included some infographics below if you prefer something visual.
Google+ is still one of the most misunderstood social networks. Some people think it’s just a Facebook copycat — but I find that it has a different beat and a unique vibe.
Although its user base is growing, Google+ is not mainstream yet — at least not for marketers. But its friendly interface and the fact that it is owned by Internet giant Google means that marketers should at least take notice of this social network.