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SEO Predictions for 2012

Here are my thoughts about how the search market, SEO and generally internet marketing side of things will change in 2012. It’s a bit of fun, but it should give us some ideas about what we should and shouldn’t be doing in the coming year.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how the market will change in the coming year.

How will Google+ change Search Marketing?

  • Google will begin to show Adwords in Google+ (possibly within display advertising or a new AdWords option).
  • Google will develop a Google+ API (and probably Google+ comments for sites to rival Facebook)
  • Google+ stats will be integrated with Google Analytics.
  • Google+ will feature more distinctly in search results when making brand or individual searches. 
  • (I imagine Google wrapping multiple search results together to make some super SERP result – such as Google+, Google Places and website).
  • Google will use Google+ results far more as ranking signals. If your business isn’t there, it’s unlikely your site will be anywhere in the future.

How will Facebook change?

  • The demographic of Facebook is getting older – this means Facebook will have to do some serious work over this next year to get the younger generation on board or at least back on board. 
  • No matter what Facebook wants us to believe, it’s not cool to hang out with your parents and share every embarrassing moment with them; maybe it’s time for a Facebook junior?
  • Facebook will change and develop as the other social media sites out there gain ground which inevitably, this year, they will. Google+ is the obvious one; however other areas such as Pinterest will also impact Facebook’s offering and dominance.

Google algorithm updates

How will Search Marketing change?

  • Rich text snippets will be used more and more and will resemble the type of spam content that meta keywords used to represent – Google will have to do something to stop this.
  •  Links will become less critical, or instead, link spam will become less necessary.
  • It will evolve that Google starts to use authority from social media sites and other sources and interactions to determine how to weigh the links themselves rather than weighting them on their PageRank values.
  • Marissa Mayer has moved to local – so I’d guess this will be the year that they finally sort out what they’re doing with this side of things.
  • Google will continue to develop Panda, and sites will continue to be removed from the rankings based on poor search marketing carried out in the distant past.
  • There will be a significant rise in personalisation in search results, and we’ll move more towards the personalisation era.
  • Geolocation will become more critical, and this will be made up of more factors – watch your server location and your office location and make sure you’re using the right TDL – as mobile search grows (it’s likely that it will overtake desktop search this year) geolocated content will become much more critical.
  • Sites will become far more integrated with social media sites with a lot more emphasis on gamification, allowing sites to create a more sticky and personalised experience for their users. It should be noted that 2011 saw no difference between the results for different devices.

How will the SEO industry change in 2012?

  • Professionals in the industry will become far more specialised in 2012 – we’ll see the growth of technical users, with people specialising in forensic SEO, local SEO etc.) other SEO marketing professionals will move towards calling themselves Inbound Marketing Specialists.
  • Creative marketers will start to look like authority figures that make recommendations about products through social media blogs and less and less about creating loads of links back to people’s sites – it’s their individual authority that will really start to count.
  • Google will continue making it more difficult for web owners to work out what keywords drive traffic and conversions.
  • All search marketing professionals will become certified (which leads me onto the point below)
  • I believe we’ll start to see a decline in the industry – which I think has become a bit parasitic and out of control. Many people have been burnt over the past 10 years. They will hear the horror stories and are less inclined to get burnt (or burnt again) – this should see only the best SEO left in the business.

SEO Predictions For 2012

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