My Guaranteed, 100% Accurate SEO Predictions For 2013

A lot of people are publishing posts predicting the things that will happen in the SEO industry in 2013. Well, industry sheep, ATTUNE THINE EARS! For I have proclamations to share with you that I am so sure of, I will put my neck on the line and say that these aren’t just likely to happen, they are all but guaranteed.  Sit back and let me dazzle you:

PREDICTION 1: An idiot at a major publication will kick the SEO hornet’s nest by publishing something scathing and wrong about SEO.

I know this one is really hard to believe, but I’m absolutely certain it’s going to happen. I know that in the past publications like Forbes have been really spot-on with their assessments of SEO, but sooner or later, somebody is going to get it wrong – way wrong – and then I predict a bunch of SEOs will get their panties all twisted up as though they’d been wrung out by a linebacker.

BONUS PREDICTION: In an act of valor, a notable SEO will write a powerful counter-post that will forever set the record straight, leaving nobody confused or jaded about the whole experience.

PREDICTION 2: More people will create content calendars than ever; most of them will be truly awful

With all this hubbub about content marketing, I really think this is the year of the content calendar. But more than that, I think it’s high time SEOs got their fair shake at being the entire marketing department, from creatives to copywriters to outreach specialists and everything in between!

In the mad scramble to usurp authority from every other capable marketing professional on the planet, SEOs will create these content calendars all by themselves in isolation, probably in their basements alone drinking warm milk and waiting for the next conference to come along and remind them that they’re part of a seismic shift in the marketing world.

Sadly (and yet unsurprisingly), most of these content calendars will contain terrible seasonal content and half-baked ideas hashed out in a panic as the deliverable deadline loomed. It’s okay though, most of these calendars will be completely ignored by the client anyway.

BONUS PREDICTION: Somebody will publish a content calendar template and share it, possibly as link bait. Having written this piece down on their own content calendar, they will create a loop of content planning – CALENDARCEPTION.

PREDICTION 3: A notable SEO will totally “kill it” with a “nice post”

Alright, this one’s a doozy, but I’m going to go way out on a limb here. After publishing something for the community, a notable SEO will be lauded for doing so, rewarded the accolades of having “killed it” with his/her “nice post”.

BONUS PREDICTION: Even though the comment was published in great haste in a dated attempt to diversify anchor text, the notable SEO will still reply to the comment with a well-thought-out thank you message that will almost  certainly help build their personal brand somehow.

PREDICTION 4: “X” will teach all of us something about “Y”

I know it sounds far-fetched, but I really feel like there’s just so much opportunity to learn something about SEO/online marketing/social media/content/inbound marketing from the world around us. Maybe I’m just a dreamer like John Lennon – or maybe I’m some kind of savant like that prodigy in August Rush who can see SEO everywhere – in the squirrels outside, in my bath soap, in refrigerator magnets, the heart wrenching drama of daytime soap operas or the gleaming eyes of my fictional children.

And you can bet your ass that when I have a revelation about how much that completely unrelated experience has loose parallels to my profession, I’ll mash that “publish” button harder than a George St. Pierre superman punch to the testicles.

But I won’t be the only one. This year, I predict a lot of people will learn something about “X” from “Y” and do the whole world a favour by writing about it.

BONUS PREDICTION: At least one of these posts will come from Hubspot; possibly combined with a fun seasonal twist.

PREDICTION 5: SEOs will argue that rankings, traffic and the internet all don’t matter and you’re doing it wrong

Rankings don’t matter and tracking them makes you an idiot. Traffic? HA! Are you stuck in 2004, bro?You know what matters, sucker? Sales. And as an SEO, your job is to make those sales materialize in whatever way possible. Online, offline – doesn’t matter. It’s YOUR job to make sure your clients prosper by any means necessary.

If that means organizing a charity marathon for arthritic tradespeople, then damn it, you get on top of that. If it means picking up the phone and prank calling the CEO of a competitor so you can write about the experience in a controversy-sparking blog post, then start dialling. If it means breaking into the homes of your client’s customers and leaving thank-you notes taped to their foreheads so that they REALLY get the message that your client is unique and cares, then I suggest you brush up on your B&E skills.

SEOs across the industry will publish posts hailing the end of an era: we do not watch rankings, we do not monitor traffic. We watch sales. Up and to the right, people. Up and to the right.

BONUS PREDICTION: Somebody will argue that even sales don’t matter – only how you made people feel.

PREDICTION 6: A post from a notable expert with absolutely no case study or data attached will be widely accepted and applauded

Hooo boy. I’m gettin’ risky now, but I was never one to shy away from bold predictions.

This year, an expert will definitely publish something completely opinion-based with no data to support it. In a shocking turn of events, dozens – no – HUNDREDS of SEOs will read it, accept it and make it part of their daily lives. A few will print it out and tack it to the walls of their cubicles as a reminder that they would rather just believe what somebody says instead if testing it out for themselves – because who has time to collect data when there’s work to be done?!

BONUS PREDICTION: An SEO will share an inspirational thought or opinion. It will immediately be voted to the top of, where the author will be applauded for being “human” and “just like the rest of us”.

PREDICTION 7: There will be an algorithm update.

Panic! Fear! Run wild!

I don’t mean to scare everybody, but there’s most definitely an algorithm update coming. Probably a big one. And when it comes, you’re going to know. It’s going to be a serious update, with major repercussions (that impact somewhere in the vicinity of 1% of English-speaking queries).

It’s going to get written about – so there’s no need for me to go into detail here. But mark my words, there’s definitely going to be an algorithm update.

BONUS PREDICTION: Similarly useless predictions by experts in our industry will be touted as prophetic by the end of the year. Said expert will take credit and pat themselves on the back for their astute observations.

37 Responses to “My Guaranteed, 100% Accurate SEO Predictions For 2013”

  1. You killed it with these predictions Joel… Nice post.

  2. Matt Powers says:

    I love your predictions, would it be possible if you could do a recap of 2012 as well ;)

  3. Ryan OConnor says:

    This whole article is spot on but you really knocked it out of the park with #5 and #6.

  4. David Cohen says:

    You couldn’t get this to a nice even 10?

    Actually, based on a quick scan of my Twitter stream, I think all 7 predictions have already come true and we still have 363 days to go.

    • Joel says:

      I technically included bonus predictions, bringing us to a solid 14. If the demand is there, I guess I could reveal three more predictions to pacify those anti-odd-number folk, though I’m not sure if that would take us to 17 or 10 at this point.


  5. John says:

    You killed it. Nice post. Your 6 Things Predictions Teach Us About SEO can’t help but come true.

    • Joel says:


      You know, it’s moments like these when I reflect on how much I’ve learned over the past three years in SEO and how much I’ve really grown as a person. As I ramble on in this comment reply, I want you (and those who also read these comments) to see how caring and thoughtful I am. I’m replying to EVERY comment! Even one from someone like John Doherty, who is relatively unknown and hasn’t published much in this industry. This demonstrates to my readers that on top of my ability to conjure up incredible predictions, I’m also an everyman who is just like them and really gives back to the community. Well, I think this about wraps up my self-parody and has reached a sufficient length such that it demonstrates the care and attention I’ve put in. Cheers for commenting! (And other such platitudes)

      (But for real, I hope this made you laugh John!)

      • John says:

        You’re such a great blogger, Joel. You do everything right.

        Subscribed, +1d, Twittered, Facebooked your mom, etc.

        • Joel says:

          (I do very few things right, but I do try to make people laugh and poke a bit of fun at myself in the process. I really do hope people don’t see this as me dumping on everybody else – I work in this industry too.

          P.s. My mom appreciates the friending!)

          • John says:

            Indeed man. You provide a lot of value. I definitely don’t see you as dumping on others. This one really made me laugh.

            Tell your mom I said hi.

  6. Dorje Sherpa says:

    That x is undoubtedly Google And the y could be the new Google guideline for webmaster or could be a pain in the ass by the next killer updates.
    Lets hope and watch…

  7. Merlin George says:

    Brilliant Stuff Joel!!

  8. Osman says:

    Thanks Joel. Some cracking predictions! Like it :-)

    Regarding prediction 1 in particular.

    Well, someone (I think it was the Editor) at a well known online publishing magazine rustled a few feathers last year about SEO in general.

    Which in turn a couple of well known SEO’s within the industry collaboratively wrote an SEO rebuttal article in response. The rebuttal article was published on the same website which the initial article was first published on!! (drive all that qualified traffic no doubt!)

    Am sure it will happen again this year and the same old response from SEO’s – regurgitation which is the order of the day when it comes to SEO (saying that the rebuttal article was defining in my opinion).

    First time on this blog, so I will be making regular visits in the near future.

    • Joel says:

      Osman – sadly I don’t publish all that often, this is kind of a dumping ground for random things I need to write.

      But – I’m aware of the SEO conundrum you just mentioned and at least 3 that preceded it. It happens way more often than it should – and will continue to do so as long as SEO remains poorly perceived and inaccurately defined.

  9. Alistair Dryan says:

    Here’s something that will never happen:

    SEOs will stop using apostrophes every time they use a plural word and will learn that the apostrophe is only used as a substitute for a missing letter or to denote possession.

    • Joel says:

      Many thank’s for your keen observation’s, Alistair. The english Language is definitely 1 that get’s abused far two often.

  10. Jude Law says:

    I think that many SEOs will most definitely maybe have eyes and or shoes in 2013.

  11. Cheerleader says:

    Thx Joel!!

  12. Carl says:

    Prediction 6 will forever annoy me about SEO blog posts.

  13. Zomg I truly ? this, especially coming from The World’s Best Looking Man. ?

  14. Joel, isn’t point 1 happening since the time people have started talking/noticing/observing about SEO ? between as Ryan McLaughlin has killed it :)

    • Joel says:

      You’re right – it’s been happening for years, which is exactly why I know it’s going to happen again. And again. And again.

  15. Alessio says:

    I’m leaving a comment just because a lot of people did it. So I can be among the SEO gods/warriors.

    Here is my SEO prediction for 2013: Google is going to cause thousands, better billions, of angry tweets and posts, that at the end of the day are not gonna change anything but still will let the SEOs feel good because they ranted against the big G (clap, clap, clap).

    Awesome post btw Joel, as usual. The only #SEOpredictions2013 post who resonate in me. (“resonate in me”: poetic)

    • Joel says:

      I’m so glad to have resonated in you! I hope to resonate in you all year long. But only when I’m not so busy penning angry letters to Google. And Barry Schwartz, who I consider guilty by association.

      Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a boulder to push up a hill. Dang thing keeps on rolling right back down. (Thanks, Alessio!)

  16. Kritika Nair says:

    If there is a way to mix humour with seriousness, then Joel I think this post does its part. I myself have been reading so much of SEO over the past few days. Its like a hole, the more u dig the deeper its gets.

    Predictions aside, the way Google is moving towards is just like the way it started. In its early days, the web was about genuine linking before people started gaming the system.

    Panda and penguin updates will now ensure that spammers wont always win the battle but yes great content creation can turn out to be a huge challenge.

  17. Ricky Shah says:

    You just made me blush. On a serious note, most of the above sarcasms are true. There is so much of hype about conversation, lead capturing and other. But they don’t tell it that these are micro level subject and SEOs are using their telescopic glass to see it.

  18. kevin says:

    This post sucks!

    This information is not backed up with any data. Even if you had included a case study that would of made it more believable. So for those reasons I will not be applauding this post. :)

  19. D.Manco says:

    My prediction. SEO will become useless as Google, Bing, Y!, and Ask will merge into one super search bot. You will have to buy bot time for each website owner or developed, and failing to buy the correct bad backlinks will invalidate your ability to have high ranking PR or SERP. This failure will also lead to your website’s inability to buy necessary continued bot time; hence, your site will now be reindexed without any webmaster warnings, and your social reputation will become the new laughing stock on the Web.

  20. Benj Arriola says:

    I sent this to some people by IM, it’s awesome, it’s funny, and has a very very very high probability of all coming true. But funny how some people do not even read it after reading the title and start replying in a somewhat negative manner. *LOL*

  21. [...] my industry. When that happens, though, it’s pretty miraculous. A fellow SEO on Twitter released this humorous SEO Predictions post – I recommend it if you are in need of a [...]

  22. Even i can bet my ass that #7 is gonna happen because google has announced today that they are going to roll out 500 algorithm changes in 2013. :O

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