Every year, there is a lot of speculation about the possible demise of search engine optimisation. These doomsday predictions are usually spurred by the ongoing changes and updates that are made by major search engines like Google. Before delving into the types of SEO trends that will be popular in 2012, it’s important to note that search engine optimisation isn’t going anywhere. As long as people need to search for information online, SEO will continue to be necessary. The key is to be willing and able to adapt to continually changing circumstances and algorithms. A few search engine optimisation trends to be on the lookout for in 2012 include:
- Anchor Text Loses its Stronghold – Every SEO consultant knows about the importance of developing top-notch anchor text. However, that importance seems to be fading. Google has been looking for ways to defuse the underhanded tactics that are sometimes used to develop anchor text for websites. In other words, the search engine giant is onto the people who use anchor text as a way to engage in black-hat SEO. That’s not to say that anchor text will cease to matter. It simply means that it shouldn’t be the focal point of an SEO campaign.
- Personalised Search has a Stronger Effect on Results – Many people in the SEO industry have bemoaned the concept of personalised search because they’re certain that it will spell the end of search engine optimisation. That hasn’t happened, and it isn’t going to happen either. However, SEO efforts will need to be adjusted to reflect the growing prominence of personalised search. The biggest victim of this trend is the importance of keywords. They’ll continue to matter, but they will no longer be the cornerstones of effective SEO campaigns. Instead, the focus will shift to conversions and traffic. Skilled search engine optimisation professionals will have more work than ever.
- Google+ Gains More Prominence – It’s easy to write off Google+ as a dud. In reality, the social networking site has done fairly well. It has been especially popular with professionals. SEO specialists have embraced the social networking platform, and that trend will intensify in 2012. Vanity URLs should become available this year, and they are sure to be snapped up by companies that want to gain every possible advantage. By getting the right vanity URL on Google+, a company will have even more ammunition at its disposal.
- Schema Begins to Edge Out Rich Snippets – To stay on top of emerging trends in SEO, SEO professionals will need to learn everything they can about Schema. While Rich Snippets reigned supreme in the world of microdata markups for some time, it will increasingly be used alongside or eliminated in favour of Schema. The main benefit of Schema is that it is recognized by Google, Yahoo and Bing. It makes sense that SEOs in the know will increasingly turn to Schema instead of Rich Snippets.
- Bing Takes a More Prominent Position – Thanks to its alliance with Facebook, Bing will become even more influential in 2012. Companies that solely focus on making Google happy will miss out on a lot of traffic. The best SEO campaigns will give plenty of attention to Bing. Bing’s increasing prominence is one trend that is sure to intensify and continue.
- Speech Recognition has an Impact Too – Thanks to Siri, the speech recognition software that is used on the iPhone 4S, speech recognition technology is sure to become more widespread than ever. This hardly means that SEO will become irrelevant. It might mean, however, that websites will need to be optimised with standard speech conventions in mind. People generally say things a lot differently than they type them, and this will need to be taken into consideration when designing and implementing search engine optimisation strategies.
- Fresh, Unique Content Continues to be Critical – Algorithm changes like the Panda update were implemented by Google to punish sites that contained duplicate, poorly written content. Google came under fire for giving high rankings to sites that contained low-quality information, so fresh, unique, informative, well-written content became more important than ever. This continues to be true, and the trend towards fresh, engaging, well-written content will intensify. It is no longer enough to include a certain density of keywords in the content of a site. The content must be relevant, interesting, well-written and informative.
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