In just a short month, we’ll be ringing in the New Year, and 2012 is sure to be exciting in all sorts of ways. SEO, like most other facets of technology and the Internet, is constantly evolving. It’s always a good idea to know what lies ahead. Here are some growing SEO trends leading into 2012 that all search engine marketing companies should know about.
Freshness and Quality
If you are a search engine optimization company, you are no doubt aware of the Google Panda update from early this year. You are also probably well-aware of the recent “Freshness” update. As silly as these updates might sound, they have actually dramatically changed the way content is sorted.
For those not in the know, the Panda algorithm update focused on “high quality” sites, using criteria that measured usability, readability, overall usefulness, and other metrics of quality. This created very real penalties for websites that used questionable methods, like content farming or keyword stuffing to gain positive page ranking results.
On the other hand, the Freshness update focused on improvements for searchers by providing users with results more recent—“fresher”—in nature. Of course, there’s more to it than just fresh content. More accurately, Google wants to stress content that is updated more often. It’s about helping users find relevant, current information.
Content remains king, and in the new year, stressing quality content that is regularly updated is sure to garner the rankings and clicks you want.
Social media has been a growing over the years. While Facebook and Twitter continued to see growing popularity, Google rolled out its own social media platform. However, this year, most people noticed what has already been evident for some time now: there are way too many social media sites out there. Networking through so many social platforms while creating unique user-generated content would take a long time. It’s a matter of oversaturation and spreading yourself too thin.
At the same time, social media has become even more influential on search results. Google’s search results now take into account mentions, shares, Likes, and +1s. Having a social presence is still immensely important, but you may want to keep your focus on just a few social media sites at a time.
This past year, people blogged much less often, but when they did blog, their posts were long. After the freshness update, you can expect the opposite of that: shorter blog posts much more often. This becomes an advantage with sites like Tumblr that utilize a simple miniblogging structure coupled with a huge audience.
Many brands have actually abandoned blogging altogether to invest in marketing through Facebook. While many businesses have been following this trend, it’s still a pretty risky move.