On the last day of 2008, many of us are giving predictions for 2009, but since genetic engineering in 2008 has not yet advanced to the point where any of us are clairvoyant, I’m going to forgo the predictions again this year.

At the beginning of 2008 I had two basic hopes: that people calling themselves SEOs would focus more on whitehat strategy and less on cheating their way to the top of the SERPs, and that mobile marketing and SEO would continue to converge. You can judge for yourself as to whether either of these have come to fruition, but it seems to me that we’re closer to where we need to be than we were at the end of 2007.

My avoidance of clairvoyance also means that I’m going to avoid predicting that 2009 will be “the year” for mobile, as I agree with a lot of analysts that mobile, like many forms of advertising in 2009, will suffer due to the recessionary economy. In spite of that, I know that mobile has advanced in 2008 to the point where Nielsen declared critical mass for the mobile Web, and PEW predicted mobile web usage to overtake desktop traffic by 2020, and I expect it to continue that growth into 2009 and beyond. In 2009 I know that my clients will be prepared for the present and the future of mobile. Can’t speak for my competitors, I’m afraid.

Mobile seems to be on everyone’s mind, however, as we head into the New Year. I’ve been following the space for about four years now, and mobile has been the next big thing for at least four and a half of those, but this is the first year that I remember both SEOs and mobile marketers predicting the rise of mobile en masse. Here are a few that I’ve noticed coming across my feed reader in the past month:

David Berkowitz, 360i
Aaron Goldman, Resolution Media
Greg Sterling, Kelsey Group/Search Engine Land/Local Mobile Search
Paran Johar, JumpTap
Matt Cutts, Google
Michael Weaver, Crisp Wireless
Noah Mallin, Reprise Media
Feed: Life After iPhone, Razorfish
Will Critchlow, SEOMoz, Distilled
Laura Marriott, Mobile Marketing Association
Mike Grehan, Acronym Media
Ann Mack, JWT
Jamie Wells, OMD Worldwide
John Battelle, Federated Media
William Flaiz, Razorfish

There are probably more, but those are a few that I’ve noticed just in the past few weeks. What should we make of this? Is mobile finally here? Probably to some extent. But regardless, it’s not hard to see that mobile has momentum, and that momentum will likely carry into 2009 and beyond.

Enough business for today. The New Year is cause for celebration. Here’s hoping for good sense and prosperity to my readers in 2009. Happy birthday to my sister in law Peg, who turns 40 today, and my brother Patrick, who is 28 tomorrow! Raise a glass to them if you think of it when you’re drinking responsibly tonight, and I’ll look forward to discussing more natural search and mobile SEO with you in the new year.