SEO is one of those things that is constantly evolving as search engines become cleverer and cleverer. This is something that a lot of SEO’s find hard to keep up with as ultimately, it makes their jobs a lot harder as algorithm changes come into play as well as different factors that affect rankings. However, changes are what keeps the content on search engines fresh and allows people to actually find what they are looking for, including SEO’s.
2012 is a year that will see a lot of SEO change, just like every other year but there are some pretty big changes expected to come into effect. Ultimately, this will mean that SEO’s have a lot to learn and a lot to keep up with this year, but as always, it should make ranking a website easier if you know what you are doing and a lot of the changes will increase the amount of opportunity out there for great websites with great content.
Change 1: Social Networking will become more important than ever
Google, Bing and a couple of other search engines do actually already take social networking and social media signal into account for their search results, It is thought that in 2012, the weight that is given to the social networking presence of companies will affect the search ranking factor more and more.
Google has recently made the move into the world of social networking which shows just how committed they are to this area of the internet. Google Plus might not be anywhere near as successful as Facebook at present, but it is still part of the overall social signals that are used to influence search engine ranking.
It is thought that in 2012, Google Plus will become a major factor in search engine ranking as Google has already added their Plus 1 buttons to search results. They have also added the meta tag rel=author to their Google Plus business pages. this will help them see who owns a particular website.
What does this mean for SEO’s? It simply means that SEO’s will need to use social signals more than they ever have before. Building up a social networking presence for businesses will be even more vital to search engines rankings and something that cannot be missed out at any cost.
Change 2: The rise of Bing
For SEO’s, it is important to take into account all of the major search engines when they are creating a ranking strategy but a lot of the time, Google is the search engine hat will really define how a strategy takes place. Google has the largest market share of any search engine and has done for around 10 years now. There are a lot of reasons for this, including the initial PageRank factor that is well known throughout the world of SEO all the way to their desire to make search engine results as accurate as possible. Now however, Google is actually being challenged by the competitor website; Bing.
It is expected that in 2012, Bing will actually take some of the market share away from Google. According to recent statistics, Bing has already took quite a decent market share with Bing and Yahoo’s combined market share should to be around 30 percent in the US. With Bing now powering the results for yahoo, Bing has a lot more market share and as they continue to improve their services, they are expected to take even more market share.
What does this mean for SEO’s? In essence, it means that you need to pay much closer attention to Bing and Yahoo than you have done before. As their market share gets larger, you will find that a lot of the traffic will start coming from this search engine and it will mean that you might have to tailor your SEO campaign to Bing a little rather than just Google as usual. However, it shouldn’t make too much difference considering that all search engines are trying to find great content that is relevant to the user. If you have great content, you are already part of the way to success with both Bing and Google.
Change 3: Google will combat poor quality links
There have been many occasions when I have looked at the number one Google result for a particular search term and found that their backlink profile is less than impressive. Often, it is made up of hundreds or thousands of links that are clearly poor quality links such as links from ‘Links’ page and similar things.
I believe that this year, Google will actually try and change their algorithm to ensure that poor quality links do not help a website gain their foothold in the search engines. I have seen many sites that have much better content than the number one results further down the search engines, simply because they don’t have any of these spammy links.
In my opinion, this is definitely something that Google needs to do something about as in reality, social signals and high quality links are a much better indication of a websites authority. Links from link farms, link pages, directories and irrelevant places are something that need to be seen as negative rather than positive factors in ranking as they often are.
What does this mean for SEO’s? In theory, it means that it might make your job a little harder as you will need to actually build quality links in order to rank rather than simply contacting a webmaster and asking for a link exchange on their links page. Anyone can do this so in my opinion, it shouldn’t have much weight when it comes to the search engine results but this is something that we have yet to see from Google. It could mean that SEO’s will no longer have to waste time building low quality links if changed by Google.
SEO will definitely continue to change in 2012 and some of the changes above are perhaps things that a lot of SEO’s would love to see this year, whilst others won’t want to at all. The fact of the matter is that there will be changes and that there will be a lot more to learn in order to keep up with the every changing world of SEO.