After the shake-ups that rocked the online business world in 2012 (Panda and Penguin anyone?), savvy business owners are looking ahead to 2013 with an eye towards taking advantage of the next major developments. What’s the sticking point? No one’s sure just what they’re going to be!

Don’t worry; we’re here to help you out with that. We’ve done the research, polished up our crystal ball, and brewed the tea leaves. So without further ado, here are our predictions for top 3 things internet business owners need to know for 2013.

#1 – Google will change their algorithm

No, really. They will. Google and their guru Matt Cutts have focused almost completely on shutting down what they deem to be “black hat” SEO practices. This was the reason, of course, for the Panda and Penguin updates. And they’re not done yet.

Savvy business owners will take a long hard look at their website’s SEO portfolio. After all, even solid and established online businesses were hit hard by these updates. Are there questionable backlinks that you paid for years ago and have forgotten about? Get rid of them! If you’re really serious about it, hire a solid SEO firm to evaluate your entire website and bring it up to code. While it may be a significant expense up front, it will cost you less in the long run than losing customers because you were suddenly dropped to page 5 of the search results.

#2 – Mobile users will command more of the market share

The uptrend of internet users who do their online shopping through their mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) has been continuing for several years, and is expected to achieve parity with desktops and laptops in just a few years.

Savvy business owners should make sure that their website is mobile-friendly, whether that includes adaptive website templates, or redirections to mobile-specific sites. In addition, many businesses are turning to mobile apps as a way to make their services more convenient for their customers, and to subtly deter them from browsing the competition.

#3 – “Social” websites will outperform non-”social” ones

A successful “social” website is one that integrates social media for the convenience or engagement of their visitors. This can range from allowing users to login using their Facebook account, to adding Twitter widgets on the page itself, to the ubiquitous social sharing buttons.

Savvy business owners cannot deny the impact of social media on the internet landscape, and move to embrace it within their website. Social media use is growing, and social media integration is not coming to be expected by website visitors. So any business that doesn’t embrace this concept is likely to lose customers in the coming year to those who do. 

Now that you’re forewarned, get out there and gird your website for another year of the battle for internet dominance. Embrace these ideas, and watch your profits rise!

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