The Near Future of Internet-based Companies and Digital Marketing Part 1

When I think about the future-state of the internet, it’s usually as a duality. One on hand, I think about it strategically in terms of my day-to-day work for corporations and businesses. On the other hand, I think about the way I want it all to evolve as an ethical human with a vested interest in a positive digital world; and that is usually at odds with the way I think about it for work. (And on the third hand, well, I’ve just always wanted to use that joke. Please groan.)

Here are some quick thoughts that I’ve been mulling over the past couple of days.

Search Engine Optimization will die.

Wow that was dramatic. What I really meant to write was: Search Engine Optimization will become completely corporatized. But that just didn’t seem like a good header. Yet all these keywords are now in here, hi SEO!

Name a business in the past 5 years that has gained market share – in any definition of the term – solely via SEO.

SEO is a legacy game now. You can’t just enter now and compete on the same level as companies who started doing this years ago. Search engines are not the open web. They are algorithm-run platforms for the masses that are completely controlled by small number – two, really, Google and Baidu – of companies.

And this corporatization will become even more dominant in the next 5-10 years. So at what point does Search Engine Optimization and the term “Organic Search” become a misnomer? When will it just become Search Engine Purchasing or Search Engine Control or Search Engine Equity (someone please come up with a better term than I can). Which leads me to:

Mid-tier Internet-Based Businesses will die.

Damn, drama again! Yep, death. Look, if ‘organic’ search and tools that are supposedly equalizers for companies become completely commoditized, then the companies that don’t have the resources to compete will die off.

Successful services that are free and open eventually have to turn a profit in order to stay successful, so they’ll start charging the businesses that rely on them. And mid-tier companies won’t have the resources to compete on the same level as monopolies.

Smaller companies may find niches though. But they better stay small or become huge, because mid-tier companies are not going to make it.

Ok, this is now part one of two because I am old and tired. Part 2 will have less death, maybe more, not sure yet.