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Five SEO trends to look out for in 2012

Tuesday, 10 January 2012 | By Wai Hong Fong

Paid search, competitive SEO and social media affecting Google's algorithm are just some of the issues that tech boffins will need to address in 2012.


1. Social media will be an even bigger factor in Google's algorithm


Social media influence on ranking positions today reminds us of Google's efforts in dealing with link and content data 10 years ago. Today, Google is 100 times better at interpreting the link graph. By the end of this year, Google will be 20 times better at interpreting the social graph as well.


2. The search results page will continue to feature less organic rankings and more paid


Pressure on Google to keep growing its revenue and profits would mean even more cannibalisation of space on the search engine results page. More and more sections will be paid. We first saw this in Google ads, then Google shopping. We'll see product reviews, sign up forms and anything else Google can start charging for.


3. Paid search will become more important in supporting SEO efforts


Hiding keyword data in the name of privacy is only the first step. Google is encouraging SEOs who only focus on organic rankings to also get their PPC game on. Google's goal is to create a search environment that encourages continual spending on PPC to attain valuable data in order to do good SEO.


4. Spammy SEO practices will get targeted even harder


The number of major rollouts in the search algorithm (ie. Panda) targeting spammy practices in 2011 is astounding. Rest assured, this will continue to increase in frequency and severity in 2012 as Google gets smarter and accumulates more data than they've ever had before. Article spinning, artificial links and spammy tactics like creating “content” pages on the fly using onsite search data will see even more decline in value.


5. SEO will become even more competitive than ever


As more and more companies get online, spending on SEO marketing will increase. The barriers to entry will become even higher. Smart SEOs will find a way to scale their efforts efficiently and weak SEOs may not be able to deliver satisfying results with poor practices anymore.