SEO Predictions for 2012 – What Happened?

As we enter December and near the year’s end, I’ve been thinking a lot about what SEO trends were predicted in the beginning of 2012 and whether they have played out this past year, find out below.

Many people write about trends for the coming year but we forget to look back on the trends we predicted just a year before.  The only way we can truly measure the industry’s growth and what will happen for the future is to see what has played out.  Changes in SEO are mostly driven by changes and advancement in technology and we can certainly see in rankings how the technology has effected SEO this year.

1. Google+

Many SEO blogs predicted Google+ would have a big impact on SEO this year and they were right.  Google has made their social networking site an essential for growing businesses through SEO by linking everything that goes through Google+ to their search engine.  The more +1’s a business gets, the higher it will show up in search results.

The Google+ comments also show up as reviews on Google and help the business receive higher rankings.  Because Facebook and Twitter links don’t rank as high, Google+ has become one of the most important social networking sites for SEO in 2012.

2. Voice Searches

Siri for iPhone 4s and 5 is still the major player in voice searches as the iPhone is currently the most popular smart phone.  Siri draws search information from the user’s location and Yelp rankings because it is not linked through Google but Google Voice, launched this year, has been growing more and more popular and there is no sign of this slowing down in 2013.

The Google Voice app acts as the regular Google search engine, drawing its rankings from the same sources such as Google+.  This will be good news for companies that have put more effort in to expanding their presence with Google since they are doing everything in their power to stay at the top of the search engine game.

3. Mobile Optimization for Web

Along with voice searches, mobile optimized web sites were predicted to play greater importance in 2012 and this has not slowed down.  With the growing number of smart phone users comes a greater wealth of people who want information to be available to them no matter where they are.

In 2012, we have seen mobile optimized websites becoming a great importance for mobile voice searches that are picking up data pertinent to a smart phone search.  Nearing the end of 2012, we are seeing most sites with an optimize for mobile option and those that aren’t are being left behind in 2013 because of the growing importance of voice search.

4.  Human Rankings

Another correct prediction from SEO experts, that human ratings would continue to grow in importance in 2012.  While Facebook likes still don’t count for much in search engines, the growing use of Google+ has effected this prediction coming to fruition as +1’s count for the business ranking that comes up in the Google search engine.  Yelp ratings and comments are also factors in a business’ search engine rankings.

Companies have seen in 2012 that it’s becoming more and more important for rankings to get customers to stay active in the social media world if they appreciate the companies service because Yelp and Google+ reviews count.

5.  Quality vs Quantity

Since Google Panda’s introduction to the search engine in 2011 we’ve seen a great shift in the way we build links and what sites we want links from.  In 2012, we’ve seen Google Panda becoming more powerful and affecting the questions we must ask when exploring what sites we want links from.  For example, a site that does not show up in a search engine when the company or website name is typed in is most likely a low quality site and a link from the site could show your own site as low quality.  Seeing Google Panda becoming more powerful since its inception only means that more advances will be made in the next year to make an SEO’s job more challenging and seeking out quality links will be at the forefront of the challenge.

Most of the major predictions of 2012 have come to fruition and are only continuing to be of greater importance as we move in to 2013.  The 2012 trends already point to the biggest prediction from SEO experts which is the declining importance of Facebook and Twitter as social media mediums.

As most of the 2012 trends have pointed to, Google is continuing to become bigger and better and taking over the Internet world to the greatest extent possible which is why we, as SEO experts must be keeping track of new patterns with Google and how it will effect the SEO market in to 2013.