As we say goodbye to 2011 and hello to 2012 you might be asking yourself what the new year will bring to the world of SEO? Here is my list of predictions about what will greatly influence how we rank websites in 2012.
1.) Less social, more Google social. 2011 saw Google enter the social media world with the launch of their social networking site Google+. Say goodbye to Facebook backlinks factoring into Google search results and say hello to Google looking for backlinks from Google+ users. Look for Facebook shares to be ignored and Google +1’s to have more influence in terms of rankings. There is no mistaking that Google is in direct competition with Facebook, and we in the SEO world are now starting to see that; for me this started the moment Google got rid of Google realtime search. At the beginning of 2011, I could tweet a link and expect it to be indexed in minutes. This is no longer the case because Google is no longer connected to Twitter’s firehose.
**NOTE** Facebook likes and Twitter tweets are still loved by Bing and other search engines!
2.) More focus on branding, less on exact keyword matches. Look for Google to turn the heat down on ranking websites purely for the fact of having an exact domain name match. For example, if you own www.airconguelph.com, you would get a massive boost in rankings if someone Googled the phrase “air con guelph”. This wasn’t really fair on companies that didn’t stuff their domain names with keyword rich words, and have gone the branding route. Yes, Google have claimed that they have fixed this issue, but a simple Google search will show that this isn’t the case. 2012 is the year that I see this issue being resolved.
3.) Fresh content! Google to give more preference to sites that are updated more often. I have read reports and rumours by people claiming that every year your website should be 30% larger. I don’t think that this exact figure is the case, but a few tweaks here, a few new articles there, should do the trick in terms of increasing your website ranking. If you own a news site then you will probably need to update much more than the local plumber. In conculsion, fresh content is in, old recycled content is out. Look for this to be a major factor in 2012.
4.) Black hat techniques will still be effective. You can make of this as you want, but I doubt I’ll hear from anyone that will disagree with me on this one. Black hat techniques will still work in 2012. Google is getting better at detecting paid links, spun articles, etc BUT they still have a long way to go. I know from experience with a few of my personal sites they are still getting outranked for some nice keywords by spam sites. I don’t see 2012 being any different, unfortunate as that is.
5.) More influence on PPC than ever before. People tend to forget that Google is a business. All businesses seek to make money. Google is going to do its best in 2012 to push Pay-Per-Click advertising to more businsses. It makes one wonder if willl we one day end up in a world where there are no natural searches results? I’ll say it here first. One day the entire front page of Google results will all be paid ads. I know that sounds crazy, but I can see this happening in the next ten years. I hope I’m wrong.
6.) The year of the writer. Look for people to start claiming their articles and pointing it towards their Google + profile. Think about it, we write an article, add our name up the top and that’s about as far as it goes to claiming that it is ours. Did you know there is a line of code you can add to an article to claim that it is yours and add it to your Google+ profile? Maybe in 2012 we will start to see writers names appear more in Google search results. For example, if I search “Kobe Bryant Ankle Injury” into Google, chances are I’ll get ten links to news articles on various websites; but who wrote these articles? I can see website URL + Author showing being displayed in Google results in 2012. That way I don’t just look at the website in Google results BUT the writer too! Awesome.
7.) You tell me… Comment below to tell me what you think will the SEO story of 2012. Thanks for reading guys, wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!