Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 SEO Tips & Strategies

As 2012 approaches, the SEO community will be looking for bigger and better ways to drive rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs). 2011 brought algorithm updates that devalued some SEO strategies that had been relied upon for years, while stressing the importance of others that are still new to the industry. It will be important for all SEO professionals to recognize new trends as we move in to the new year. Here are some tips and strategies to get you started!

Don't Mess With Panda

Google's Panda update is the largest algorithmic development we have experienced in years. Starting in February of  this year, Panda was rolled out in continuous stages in an effort to rid the SERPs of spammy results and reward those that put hard earned time and effort in to their content. In 2012, it is important to not only update your site with unique content on a consistent basis, but ensure that the content is sharable. Why is it different? What makes it attractive? Would someone forward it to a friend? For E-Commerce sites, are you putting effort in to your product descriptions? My recommendation is to make sure the answer is "Yes" to all of the above. The new year calls for greater creativity. SEOs cannot merely rely on original content to pass through the Panda filter.

Creative Link Building

Ultimately, your link building strategy should depend on the backlink profile of your site right now. Do you have a realistic shot at getting high quality links? Blog commenting and directory submissions to get links is too easy and automated a process - Google has recognized this and adjusted their algorithm accordingly. And while there is still relative value in both (if your backlink profile is weak!), 2012 will require SEOs to get more creative when link building. My recommendation is to start with strategies like content marketing and guest posting. Connect with webmasters in your space and open up the conversation as to what you can offer. Give those sites a reason to send their traffic to you.

Get Social

It is evident at this stage of the game that Google is working social signals in to their ranking algorithm. While it is difficult to determine to what extent these social signals impact your rankings, I believe it is safe to assume that their magnitude will only grow moving in to 2012. My recommendation is to ensure your company has profiles with all of the major social media sites - Facebook, LinkedIn, Squarespace to name a few - and start communicating with your clientele and people in your industry. Additionally, 2012 will require SEOs to dedicate more time acquiring reviews. Reach out to customers and have them write up reviews for you online, whether they are product or merchant reviews through external sources (think Yelp!) or appear directly on your site.

Get Local

Has anyone else noticed how crazy 2011 was for local search? We can no loner count on the traditional 7-pack of local map results. 2011 brought us all sorts of blended (map results mixed in with organic results) results for an abundance of search queries. Google is displaying more IP specific results (results based on your location), and I am confident that trend will only grow. It makes sense. I recommend going out and claiming and optimizing your local listings (read my post on local search and citation building!) to ensure that you are taking advantage of the fact that Google's local ranking algorithm is growing and hopefully getting better.


I am excited for another year of SEO. 2011 brought us many changes, and as always, if we fail to adapt to those changes we will be left in the proverbial search engine dust. And I believe that is what makes the industry so exciting - SEOs have to act like chameleons - changing their colors to survive based on the improvements (or regressions ;)) that search engines make to their ranking algorithms. I hope you have found these tips and strategies for the new year helpful, or at the very least, have you thinking about ways to better mold your SEO campaigns for the near future!

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