April 20, 2014

2012 New Year SEO Predictions and Trends

Gaze into our crystal ball to learn 2012 SEO trends and forecasts.

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!

 

Image courtesy of angryweb dot net

About Samantha Gluck

Not only am I the chief editor of this multi-author online magazine, I'm a content creator and social media marketing strategist with a background in journalism, finance, & healthcare. I began my content marketing agency, All Media Freelance, LLC, in 2010 and lead a well-rounded, talented team of multi-channel content strategists and niche writers. I've developed and managed print and digital content projects for health care, fitness, financial services, mental health, non-profit, and automotive publishers, as well as for biotechnology brands.

Comments

  1. I love that content plays a major role – nothing worse than doing a search for something and finding a useless directory or website. (Not that all directories are useless) We must read daily from a variety of sources to keep up on SEO as it is changing oh so fast! I have found the more you post content and the content that is over 300 words does generate more visits and higher rankings. I’ve also done more inter-site linking. Let’s see how that works – Happy New Year Samantha and thanks for the great info as always!
    Lisa recently posted..The Top 7 Social Tools to Cook Up Your Social NetworkMy Profile

    • Hi Lisa! I agree with you. Quality, unique content that provides value and relevancy to your readers should play a major role. I like inter-site linking anyway. I think it really helps readers find more value on your site if you link to other posts that have related information, regardless of the Google ranking system.

      Regarding length, I’m hearing different things — some say articles and stories must have a minimum of 450 words, others say 300, still others say it should never go over 700 words. Who knows the real answer? Google! That’s who!

      I try not to write articles and posts that look so long and tedious that the passing reader will not stop. But I think posts that don’t have enough meat to them (i.e. too short) can turn readers off too. They often seem like fillers even when they do convey some, but not enough, good information.

  2. Google certainly keeps us on our toes and I’m certain that will only increase in 2012. I had no idea Google paid attention to the number of blog comments. It’s makes sence since that’s interaction just as social sharing is. Great post Samantha, I enjoyed it.
    Brian D. Hawkins recently posted..4 Simple Yet Effective Ways To Improve Alexa RankingMy Profile

    • Thanks for your input, Brian. You’re right when you say Google keeps us on our toes. While I certainly consider SEO every time I write an article for one of my sites, or a story for a newspaper or magazine, I don’t obsess over it. It just isn’t worth it. Many of the ‘rules’ and practices add up to educated speculation anyway. No one really knows exactly what weight Google assigns to different components of SEO for ranking. Quality, high value content rules the roost.

  3. The ideal length of a post has always been a question. Seth Godin’s posts are often only a couple of lines long, but they’re incredibly pithy (and his site is read by a million people each month).

    I like to read short, succinct posts because they give me good info in a short space of time. That said, my longer posts do fare better in the search results than the shorter ones.

    I never fuss over the length of my posts, though – as long as it says what I want it to say I hit ‘publish’ :)

    Cheers,

    Martin.
    Martin Malden recently posted..How to Set Up a Business Online, Even if You’ve Never Done it BeforeMy Profile

    • Yeah, I don’t think Seth Godin has to do much hand-wringing over the SEO nuances and trends to gain readership. His fans, almost literally, hang on his every word. But — he had to start somewhere, just like the rest of us. I agree, Martin, about not fussing over post length. Once you’ve said all you have to say, that’s it. Any more, and people would feel the awkwardness and forced verbiage of it.

      Thanks for stopping by, Martin. I really appreciate your thoughts.

      Samantha

  4. Very good points, all of them! I wrote a similar blog for the new year. The mobile search marketing is a good point to highlight. And, how frequently others share your content – also an important one. This is very easy to do using Google +. It will be interesting to see what Google comes up with in 2012. I’ve read about a Panda 3 on the horizons.

    • Julia,

      Thanks for sharing and for your kind words. I agree, mobile search is really going to grow this year and beyond. Sharing of content has always been important, but I think it will carry lots more weight in the coming years. I believe Google will release a PANDA 3, and while I’ll research and study what the changes mean to me and others regarding SEO, I’m not going to obsess over it. I think great content, tenacious promotional efforts, and linking will definitely go a long way toward increasing rank — those are the basics.

      Samantha

  5. Thanks for the thoughts Samantha. I’m starting to think that some blog posts written specifically to be putting new/more content out there should come with a “Mark as Spam” button next to them. More quality content, please.

    Rob

    • I agree, Rob! I run across sites all the time where the site owner just posts 2 lines, or so, of text and a couple of links as a post. Unless, as one commenter pointed out, it’s written by someone like Seth Godin,that type of post isn’t going to do anybody any good.

      Samantha

  6. Interesting read. I always thought SEO was a bunch of fluff.. Not really useful to what Ido, but I’m slowly coming to the realization that perhaps I was wrong in that thinking. There are just so many things to keep track of though! Thanks for the article though. It narrows it down to what interests me :)

    • I don’t think your thinking is entirely wrong, Martin. While considering SEO is vitally important if you want to drive customers to your site to actually spend money on the spot (and for some other types of sites too), it’s not the be all end all for all websites. There are two schools of thought here. If you’re simply using your site to impart quality information to others, enjoy community with your readers, and maybe get a click or two on select affiliates, maybe it doesn’t matter all that much. That said, if you really hope to disseminate some pearls of wisdom to a large number of people and have lively conversation about those ideas, you’ll need to drive people to your site — even if you’re not trying to make money off of it.

      If you just go with the basics — see several stories/posts in the SEO Savvy section here on the site, it should all work out fine. Also, SEO writing can sound stilted and unnatural, turning off readers, subscribers, and people passing by. You never want to do that. I guess what I’m trying to say is — you’ve got a great thing going on your site, Martin. I love it! Don’t stress over SEO. If you’re interested in learning what it can do for you and your site, start slowly and don’t get caught up in all the hype. xo

  7. Kind of weird that there are still businesses out there without websites! Great article Samantha! Not Your Ordinary Agent
    Not Your Ordinary Recipes

    • Hi Becky! Yes, in most cases I do find it a bit strange when businesses don’t have websites — even very basic sites! Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by. XO (I got your other message, by the way)

  8. I agree with you. Those using private blog networks producing unreadable spun content to get backlinks must think twice. I think Google will surely catch up with these type of backlinks and will devalue or worse penalize these type of links.

  9. Dear Samantha,

    Excellent article about SEO new trends. Always content is the king is in SERP ranking. Thanks for sharing such valuable information with us

  10. Hi Samantha,
    Amazing post about SEO in 2012. New Seo techniques in new year(2012). Thanks for sharing.
    Ramesh recently posted..Who is King in SEOMy Profile

    • Thanks, Ramesh! I appreciate your positive feedback and the fact that you took the time to stop by and share your thoughts with us. Can’t wait to read your, “Who is King in SEO” post! xo

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