2012 SEO will as always be dominated by Google and it may be a tougher year than ever for those SEO professionals using out of date techniques.
The effects of the Panda update were of course felt hard by some in 2010 and in 2011 but if you still aren’t ready in 2012 then you may find yourself hit even if you aren’t what has in the past been seen as a black hat SEO site.
Unless you were in major contravention of what Google were looking for previously you may have seen little effect while Google gave the Panda update time to evolve but in 2012 they are going to start using new measures as much stronger indicators so what does this mean?
Well firstly you need to keep people on your website, it isn’t good enough to get a good ranking in Google due to plenty of links: you need a sticky site. Ideally people should be presented with content that they will spend time reading or watching: for this reason pages with a video and then a transcription for keyword purposes are going to become more and more common as videos are better at keeping people on a page for a longer period. Navigation and lots of other good quality content on other pages is going to be important also as Google now look at how many pages on a site people go to as well. They do this with data collected from Google toolbar and other places and it is thought that Google have collected enough data to mean that Panda is working well enough to be relied on more strongly.
Using Social Media for SEO may be a big thing in 2012 as well, many people haven’t caught on to this yet but it doesn’t matter that a link is no follow if it is on a major social network such as Twitter and Facebook and ideally repeated by many users. Google have confirmed they do look at Social Media links even if they are no follow and also consider who is mentioning links so high profile accounts and accounts that don’t constantly post links are more valuable. Expect this to become big in SEO for 2012 then with SEO professionals building these links and relationships with users on social media sites.
Poor quality links from Article banks and from duplicated content now have almost no value but that doesn’t mean off page content isn’t still valuable. Getting one copy of a great quality article that is optimized to perfection on to a high pagerank blog with no other external links but yours on the page is worth several hours work. Many SEO professionals are still relying on article banks and directories for links but the most successful in 2012 will be getting a few high pagerank links for their clients.
Keywords will need to be updated in 2012, with mobile search and speak to search becoming more common people will search differently, using shorter phrases and more complete sentences respectively for the two search methods, other keywords may see volumes fall.