Experts Blog

7 SEO Predictions for 2012

By Casey Markee on Dec 28, 2011 - 06:02 PM

Call them what you want: forecasts, prophecies, prognoses, intimations, or even strongly worded suggestions. The good thing about "predictions" is that anyone can have them. As we mark the end of 2011 and look ahead to 2012 it's always a good idea to write down and expound upon some possible trends and ideas that may drive your marketing efforts in the coming year.

Whether it is the state of search, the progression of social media or the continued evolution of SEO techniques, pontificating about what may and may not come to pass in the New Year can be both liberating and enlightening. And, with the world possibly ending on December 21, 2012 anyway, I personally plan to make 2012 the very BEST year possible both for myself and my clients.

To that end, if you are looking for some specific areas or trends to closely watch in 2012, here's where I plan to invest MOST of my time and resources:

  • 1. SEO is Not Dead! Regardless of Leo Laporte's declaration that "SEO is Dead" back at PubCon 2011, I see a bright and shiny future for sound SEO practitioners in 2012. I predict what you will see in 2012 is a DECREASE in the value of exact match domains and footer links (seriously Google, it's a long time coming), a rise in the importance of quality thematic backlinks, and an understanding that a quality SEO campaign takes into account PPC, social media, and on-page optimization techniques. SEO professionals who recognize the value of a fast-loading site, the importance of a blog for new & regular content creation, and understand Google's Freshness Update (and its effect on date-specific content) will be well-positioned for success in 2012!
  • 2. Foursquare is going to blow-up! With Gowalla's acquisition late this year by Facebook, Foursquare has effectively WON the geo-locational marketing space! I've been bullish on Foursquare for awhile as a way to save money on everything from my recent dentist appointment to getting free wings or an appetizer every time I visit my local Hooters. But with Foursquare recently partnering with NBC to track Campaign 2012 and its clear status as a prime acquisition target by both Bing and Google to counter Facebook, it's apparent to me as an SEO that if you are NOT leveraging Foursquare with your existing client base, you are just leaving money on the table.
  • 3. Amazon will DOMINATE the Offers Space! GroupOn may have been the big kid on the offers block in 2011 but it has been hemorrhaging money, and taking a lot of flak for its questionable accounting practices; its stock is down 50% post-IPO. This has left a big opening for others in the space, namely LivingSocial. Not only is LivingSocial better run but it already has a close relationship with Amazon due to a $175 million investment made last December by the world's biggest online retailer. I predict LivingSocial will be bought by Amazon and folded right into a NEW Amazon Offers beast which will completely eat-the-lunch of GroupOn before the end of 2012. Google Offers "may" limp along for awhile but its customer targeting is still abysmal and I don't see it making any serious gains in marketing share in 2012.
  • 4. Author Markups go Mainstream! We've been pushing the value of author markups and Rich Snippets in Search Engine News for awhile. This is because they are going to be HUGE in 2012! Google is now implementing author markups fully into Google+. We expect these will be fully rolled out into both Google News and Google Web Search in 2012. This means claiming your content is going to be SUPER important. Why? Because the addition of a picture adds relevancy and validity to search results. We are "wired" to click-on results with attractive photos. Claiming your content is the BEST way to spruce up anonymous content and increase click-thru rates in 2012. Read our article above and get this done in the New Year!
  • 5. Siri will CHANGE Local Forever! If you did not read our Future of Search is Siri article, go do that now. I'll wait...are you back, good! Siri is definitely a game changer in local search (and in marriage as well according to this video) and you need to be ready for it! Because Siri will provide what it feels is the best answer in real-time you need to make sure you work HARD to drive as many reviews, citations, and local signals to your business as possible. Doing so will help you encourage Siri to pull your result over a competitor. We are still playing around with it here in-house. As we get more information on optimization techniques with Siri we'll be sharing those accordingly!
  • 6. Quantity vs Quality in Content: We covered the Google Freshness update above briefly. However, what may be one of the more underreported takeaways from the update is the belief that "quantity of results may result in lower quality of content." In other words, Google may be very quick to rank NEWER content FASTER even if that content is of lower-quality. In fact, I've already seen this in some results for my own clients. As we move into 2012, YOU NEED TO MAKE DAILY CONTENT CREATION A PRIORITY. The more content you publish the better chance that content is going to be served competitively by Google. Do yourself a favor in 2012...GET A BLOG!
  • 7. Social Networks are still a Big Deal! Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are ONLY going to get bigger in 2012. Facebook will pass 1 billion registered users by later 2012. Google+ will continue to expand its base and Twitter Promoted Tweets are going to go mainstream! Social signals ARE already being used for algorithmic ranking purposes; that is ONLY going to increase in 2012. You need to be on these networks AND you need to start thinking of these networks like search engines and integrating social activities into your daily timeline. Finally, go check-out new social networks and Pinterest. I'm predicting these two sites to go BIG in 2012. works by matching founders and professionals together for mutual business gain. Pinterest works as a virtual social sharing "pin board" that allows users to share photos of items, places or hot products that in turn LINK DIRECTLY back to the photo's associated webpage. Both are pretty cool sites, have gained a TON of initial interest, and can lead to new links, increased sales & traffic, and connections for your business. Check them out now!

My personal Magic 8-Ball says that signs point to yes concerning the above seven specific 2011 predictions. Some may happen, some may not, but that's where I'll be concentrating most of my time and resources before the world is consumed in fire and brimstone at the end of the year.

Have a great New Year's and good luck in 2012!Planet Ocean article end