Montreal: As 2012 draws to a close, it’s a good time to look back at the past 12 months and assess the most prominent SEO news and trends. Here, we’ll take a look at the most important happenings, and consider what they mean for SEO practitioners for the year ahead.
Google’s Author Rank
Though Google’s social network has so far only had limited success when it comes to appealing to the masses, the Author Rank changes were a significant event in 2012, and are likely to have a big impact when it comes to SEO next year. Now that Google has a reliable way to attribute content to an author, it’s already obvious how this will determine search engine results.
For SEO practitioners, it’s vital to start building an effective Google+ presence and ensuring that all previously written content on the internet is given the appropriate attribution.
Panda and Penguin updates
Though the first impacts of Panda and Penguin updates were felt in 2011, it was 2012 when they really became top of the agenda for SEO practitioners. The most recent algorithm update was on 21st of December, and this was the 23rd update to date.
If there’s one thing that can be learned from these updates, it’s that Google is taking quality seriously. 2013 is likely to see many more changes from the search engine, and it’s absolutely vital that experts are focusing on white-hat tactics and the creation of high quality content.
As searchers become more trusting of Google and the quality of search results, more and more people are using simple one-word searches to source the information that they’re looking for. Statistics from Experian show that during 2012, one-word searches increased by 16%.
As more users turn to their mobiles to use the internet, it’s fair to expect that this will continue in 2013. Using smaller keypads only hinders the ability to type in longer queries. SEO practitioners should pay careful attention to their use of keywords, to ensure that they’re focusing their efforts in the best places.
History tells us that most social networks have a limited life span (just take a look at MySpace, for example), but Facebook showed no signs of decreasing in popularity in 2012. Research from Experian shows that 4.13% of all searches during the year were for ‘Facebook’. This tells us that social media is where internet users are, and as such, it should be part of any SEO strategy. Developing a strong social presence will not only boost search engine rankings, but when done correctly, will drive high quality organic traffic to a website.
In the past few months, Facebook has demonstrated that it means serious business when it comes to creating an income stream from their business users. Sponsored and promoted posts are now pretty much essential if you want to ensure you reach your audience. As user numbers have now exceeded one billion, it’s time for all organisations to start taking it very seriously, and carefully considering its role in any online marketing campaign.
All of these points make it clear that 2013 is set to be another year in which the face of SEO will change. It has always been, and always will be, a discipline that is ever-changing, and anyone hoping to boost the rankings of a website should pay careful attention to trends and news.
One thing that stands out in particular is the increasing importance of quality SEO tactics. Using spamming to build links, for example, is something that will only continue to die out. If you’re serious about your SEO efforts, it’s important that you dedicate appropriate resources to either hiring a reputable professional, or learning as much as you can yourself about what counts as ‘good SEO’.