Despite the algorithm switch-ups made by the good folks at Google every so often, the bare basics of SEO remain the same. As a freelance writer, you’ve still got to produce fresh, original content that delivers value to your reader. You’ve got to promote this unique, relevant product heavily and across multiple social media platforms.
These activities represent the unchanging foundation behind good SEO practices. Google’s algorithm changes do have an effect on the dynamic components of SEO, resulting in new SEO trends – trends you can’t afford to blow off in the 2012 New Year.
7 SEO Trends to Know in 2012
- High quality content becomes more important than ever – Google’s well-known PANDA update, as well as a couple of subsequent ones, served to penalize content scraper and farming sites, while rewarding websites that offered readers fresh, well-written, content. Websites offering 100 percent unique content with optimal site design can benefit greatly from this trend.
- How and with what frequency others share your content increases in importance – Every writer hopes to enjoy reading zillions of meaningful comments on their musings. In reality, most freelance writers feel lucky to see their posts elicit five to 10 comments from readers. Google now takes into account how many people commented on content, whether they shared it on Twitter, Facebook, G+, and others as an indicator of your content relevance and likeability.
- Longer online articles will rank better than short ones – What does Google think of as long as opposed to short? Who knows? But pages with more words per page often get rewarded with a higher rank than those with fewer words or little text altogether.
- Quality links lose some importance – The overabundance of spam links has devalued the significance of links overall. If you’ve worked hard to build quality links into your site, don’t have an existential meltdown upon hearing this – just yet. Quality links still rank number one in SEO importance. Google has simply added value to things like social sharing frequency and other likeability signals and reduced a bit of the value associated with links.
- Site-wide keywords matter – quite a bit – Include your target keywords in your main page, sure, but also include them on your other pages. Internal linking between related pages and articles will help too.
- Mobile SEO gaining in importance – Mobile searches have increased exponentially in the past couple of years. The folks at Mashable (whose CEO has a crush on a Dream Team member) and others claiming to have forecasting powers, expect mobile searching to grow even more in 2012. Make certain to have your site ready to target the growing mobile markets. This means going all the way in your quest to optimize for mobile.
- Old school SEO will only get more difficult – Expect Google to make more changes in their ranking algorithm, both subtle and huge. They’ll also add more search personalization and most likely some new wrenches in the ole SEO toolbox that surely will send SEO pros running in circles.
You will probably see many more trends emerge in 2012, outside the scope of this seven-point crystal ball reading. What should you do about the current fast-moving trends in SEO and social media? Observe, learn, research and heed the warnings of key players (i.e. Google announcements and other high rollers in SERP).
As much as you might like to put your head in the sand, some of these trends will help the little guys gain Internet authority and rank; especially those producing fresh content that delivers value, have a sound branding strategy, and promote their content and products to others who will pay the promotion buck forward.
Share your own crystal ball predictions with us. What trends have you noticed emerging around SEO and social media? What effect have these had on your site ranking and conversion rates?
Have a sparkly Happy New Year FWD readers!
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