SEO in 2012 – A Year in Review

SEO is an ever-changing discipline and 2012 was a year that SEO experts will remember as an eventful year. Some changes were for the better, helping to further eliminate spam and clean-up Google’s search results. Other changes made the job of SEO’s more challenging, taking some tools out of our toolbox seemingly overnight.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the changes in SEO in 2012 and what we can expect going forward.

What’s Hot?

Local Search – It’s everywhere and it’s here to stay. Let’s face it. The average web surfer, when looking for a product or service online, is most likely looking for something within their local geographical area and Google has gotten better and better at serving up geographically relevant results. Local citations (ie. Google Local, Yellowpages, Manta, Hotfrog etc) and a whole host of other local directory/citation websites have become more and more important for local search to be effective.

Social Media – Social media indicators have become a ranking factor for Google, although it’s not entirely clear just how much social media plays into rankings directly. If you aren’t involved in social media (ie. Twitter, Facebook, Google+) you need to be. You can’t ignore social media and claim its just for a younger generation. It’s for every business and industry, both profit and non-profit.

Mobile – Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are growing in popularity, so mobile websites and mobile SEO have become a hot topic in 2012 and is expected to be even hotter in 2013. If you aren’t building mobile responsive websites and doing mobile SEO, it’s time you start!

What’s Not?

Directory Links – With the exception of local and high quality niche directories, most online directories hold little value. Their role has been reducing in recent years, but I think we have seen the biggest push in 2012 to nearly completely discredit those links.

Article Marketing – 2011 and 2012 were both tough years for Article Marketing and those that relied on it for the bulk of their SEO efforts. I think it’s safe to say that sites like GoArticles and EzineArticles hold little, to no value at this point in time. That’s not to say that content marketing doesn’t work, it’s just that your standard low quality, spammy article directories are no longer good sources for backlinks.

What Now?

I am looking forward to 2013 and watching all that unfolds in the world of SEO. I think it’s safe to say that Google is continuing it’s push toward cleaning up spammy SEO tactics and ridding the search results of low quality websites. For consumers, this has been mostly a good thing, but it has made the job of SEO’s slightly more complicated. It’s time to get creative!

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