SEO Predictions and Advice for 2012

Another year will soon pass us by, a year full of updates, going from the over-exhausted Panda to Mint update, secure search and of course Google+. A busy year for search engines and SEOs all around, but that is what makes it interesting. So in light of all these updates, what are our predictions for 2012, and what you should look out for?

Moving more to mobile searches

You almost can’t pass a teen on the street without seeing him holding a smart phone or a tablet, more and more people are having these products, and as we noticed the search number from mobile devices has increased immensely and it will continue to increase in 2012.

The most apparent difference is the keywords used to search via tablets and smart phones compared to desktop computers. Since the market will be moving more to tablets it would be wise to pay close attention to the difference and start optimizing your pages accordingly.

Personalisation + More Localized search results

Personalisation is one of the reasons why SEOs have a hard job, especially explaining rankings and traffic to their clients. But if you think you have seen all of it you are wrong, the web will get more personal than you think.

So any general SEO tactic you have in mind is going out the window. Users search with their mobile phones, tablets and Google knows who they are, where they are and what their preferences are. And of course it is going to give them more relevant results based on their search history. A plain keyword ranking won’t mean a thing, and you will realize that once you see the CTR values going down even though you are ranking high in the SERPs.

Don’t forget the social influence and recommendations as well. And with users being more and more on mobile devices you can bet that local search is going to get a whole new meaning in 2012.

Less Spam – hopefully

This is both a prediction and a wish, but the way things are going Google and Bing are both doing their best to fight SPAM. Although Google Panda is supposed to be a weapon of mass destruction for SPAM, so far it hasn’t given the desired results. I’ve seen more legit businesses taking a dive due to Panda than I’ve seen website networks with duplicate content, so there is a great room for improvement on that field. But with the authorship markup, schema and personalisation, SPAM is declining in the SERP results, so hopefully 2012 will be the breaking point.

More social impact on SEO and Authors

Yeah, even more impact than social networks have right now. What our friends do and recommend already influences our results in the SERPs, but that is not all. Google+ is the new giant in social networking world, although most won’t admit it Google may have what we only guessed Facebook and Twitter had, a direct impact on SERPs. A grand chance to make your promotion go viral and directly impact the SERP, will you miss that chance.

With Authors now acting as an authority factor how much influence do you think social will have. Every recognized author will bring authority, so having those people in your circles or becoming one will mean a lot.

Anchor texts slowly getting left behind

This is something we have talked about for quite some time now, but as of late we have seen proof of this happening. Exact anchor match links are already out of the picture as the main source for link builders to rank their targeted pages.

And with all being said above, social having more impact, spam declining and Google tends to look at too many exact match anchors as spam, it is easy to see that link building will have to appear more natural or better yet, make it natural by investing in creative content strategies and viral ideas, the kind that will get you links, mentions and social benefits.

All in all 2012 doesn’t seem that bad, will just have to be on alert for more updates from Google, Bing and other search engines and try to implement their guidelines to our best abilities.

Zac is a link building specialist and a seasoned SEO professional. He manages a team of link builders and actively promotes some of Australia's biggest brands. Zac is an active blogger and also maintains Dejan SEO's news and updates section.

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