2012 was the year of content revival. Consumers and search engines called for a change in the way we write online content and their wish was granted.
As a writer, I welcome these changes and look forward to the trends and themes I think will continue to grow in importance through 2013.
More Pride in Posting
As Google Authorship begins to attach faces to online content through bylines and author bios, more and more writers will become more consciences about the level of content that they are publishing.
Once a field veiled with anonymity, online writing used to allow writers to hide behind other’s bylines when writing assignments for ghostwriting. But as Google adds search engine weight to author bylines, more and more online writing will be attributed to the original creator leading to an influx in quality content that original writers will want to be proud of.
More Branded Content that Doesn’t Feel Branded
As experts continue to preach the mantra of “Content is King,” more and more brands are going to realize the importance of not just content, but cool content. Boring, branded content that feels like an obvious pull to promote a product or distribute an idea isn’t going to cut it. Brands that want to make an impact by using content will need to find more interesting ways to connect readers with their media.
This is already happening on Buzzfeed, where brands like Verizon are head of the curve by using posts like “The 10 Types of Facebook Breakup Statues” and “10 Song Lyrics that Will Give You the Strength To Leave a Bad Relationship” (as well as memes) to promote their Break Up with Cable campaign.
More Guest Posting
While guest posting has been popular for blogging in the past, I expect to see even more writers jumping on the guest post band wagon this year. They need to. Guest posting, even if the writer receives no payment, is a positive for any blogger.
Not only is it a great way to get in front of a new audience, it is also a great way to coax web crawlers back to another site that needs promotion. Because the easiest way to get a link on a high-quality site is providing free content with a link inside and it is positive to both the publisher and blogger, guest posting it a mutually beneficial must for 2013.
More Original Voices
Goggle Authorship is going to get the credit for this trend too. As more writers are linked to their portfolio and recognized for their work, we will definitely see more personality in content. No longer forced to mold to the nature of the client, writers will be able to develop their unique voice and personality in a more natural way.
This is great news for online audiences who are tired of a bland industry tone. No longer stuck with routine and mass produced voices, audiences will be able to seek out online personalities – instead of nameless online authors.
More Copy, Less Writing
When ecommerce sites took hits in their search rankings after changing algorithms put additional weight on content, most went running for their keyboards. Since adding content was the best way to grow back their authority in search rankings, ecommerce sites started adding words to their pages. The problem with adding words for the sake of words (and littering those words with keywords) is that it isn’t performing the overall function that search engines are trying to enforce.
In 2013, more companies will stop trying to outsmart search engines and simply start giving them what they want. And what do search engines want on pages of products? Brand specific copy that describes items in a way that users will find useful, informative, and relevant. Not muddled bunches of words repeating the name of the product over and over.
Less Worry About Search Engines, More Worry About Readers
All of this leads me to my last point. Many things about search engines will continue to change. Trying to mold your strategy with every black and white colored animal update isn’t going to keep you on top of the ranking platform.
Planning ahead is the only way to keep up with the competitive race of rankings. And looking ahead the continuing trend is easy to see: give the readers want they really want. Pride and quality, interesting content topics and ideas, originality and personality, and helpful copy are want readers want – so that is what search engines are pushing for.
Keep the reader in mind for 2013 and you will also be planning for 2014 and years to come.