Wow 2011 has been quite a year in Search. You might say that it has been the year of the Panda. In November 2010 at PubCon Las Vegas, Google’s Matt Cutts warned us that big things were coming from Google in terms of dealing with webspam. Look for more of that to come in 2012.
Still lots of “SEO is dead” commentary out there. However SEO is not dead, it has just evolved, just as all digital marketing has evolved in recent years. So where does that leave use for 2012? We have compiled a Top 12 for ’12 to help get you on track as you end 2011 and approach 2012.
Digital Marketing in 2012: Twelve Things to Think About
From an SEO perspective, here are some items that should be on your radar (if they aren’t already):
Content Enhancement – establish a process for ensuring that your content is of the highest quality possible. Avoid things like those lame articles that you have been polluting the Web with. Any time you create a piece of content for your audience, it should be of high value. Work on enhancing your content in 2012. You won’t be sorry.
Site Engagement – as part of your digital marketing strategy you should be monitoring the engagement on your site. I have yet to come across the perfect site. Usability has a direct impact on how people engage with your site. Make your site experience a pleasant one. Test out new features and content pieces. While you cannot please eveeryone all of the time, focus on the masses and improving the engagement factor of your site.
Content Promotion – creating great content is one thing. Getting it out there to the masses is another thing. Work on getting your content to your potential prospects. Leverage social media and social bookmarking options to allow people to promote your content for you. Content promotion should be big on your to do list for 2012.
Monitoring of Page Performance – by now, you should be running some clean code on your web properties. While Google has communicated that they actually use things like page speed as part of their algorithms, I continue to see numerous sites who fail to address their site’s performance from a coding perspective. Monitoring of page performance should be a regular occurence with your monthly maintenance activities.
Microdata – with the launch of Schema.org in June 2011, we can see how important richer coding and microdata will be. Leveraging rich snippets in the search results can mean occupying more of the results page real estate making it more enticing to attract that click. Who wouldn’t want to leverage this?
Mobile – we have been talking about mobile for a few years now. Still surprsing to see the number of sites who have not yet tapped into the mobile arena. Whether it is setting up a mobile friendly site or creating a mobile App, mobile traffic is only going to increase. Time to pony up and establish your mobile strategy.
Social Engagement – look for social signals to play an increasingly important role in what the major engines decide to show in their search results.
Revisit the fundamentals – it may be time to revisit some of the fundamental optimization of your site. Things like page titles, meta descriptions, and other on-page elements.
Keyword Trending – your keyword research should be ongoing. In 2012, you will want to revisit some of the keyword trends that present opportunities for driving residual traffic to your site.
Take a deeper look at analytics – yes I know we can get the numbers to pretty much tell any story we want, but it mat be time to revisit your KPIs to ensure that you are really monitoring what is the most important to your bottom line. Keep it simple, you really do not have to get too complicated.
Learn how the algorithms work – while we do not know exactly how Google’s algorithms work, it does benefit to understand key factors as to how they crawl, index and rank a webpage. Pay attention to algorithm updates, even if your site has not been impacted, monitor how other sites that have been impacted are reacting to the updates. Why have the sites that have improved in rankings done so? Why have sites that have been hit in a negative manner been impacted the way that they have? Be aware of the timing of algorithm updates and be proactive with the optimization of your site.
Take inventory of your site pages – 2012 is as good as time as any to gain an understanding of just how many pages your site consists of? Which pages are performing well? Which ones are not driving qualified traffic? Take inventory of your site’s pages to identify areas of strength and areas of opportunity.
I expect 2012 to be a big one in the Search industry. Bing is continuing to gain traction and Google is contining to deliver the best results that they can. Look for continued focus on things such as webspam, duplicate content and page performance to be key areas of focus for the search engines specifically Google. Mobile and social will continue to grow and searchers will continue to become more savvy. Approach 2012 with these items in mind and you will be much better off. Fail to address these issues and well you know the drill… linger in sesarch purgatory.