Background: SEO is tricky! It changes every time Google updates their search algorithm. Each update effectively pulls the rug out from under all these online marketers. But it's a worthwhile game to get into.
People are using the internet more and more for business. I tend to buy everything but groceries and clothes online these days, and both of those items will convert with the coming years. Most of my fancy friends already buy clothes online.
So why do we care about SEO and people buying things online?? We care because whoever understands SEO is capable of steering crowds of internet traffic. And steering crowds to the right places is a highly lucrative world to be in. It's a rather lazy world as well - imagine being able to make a living whilst wearing your PJs all day. My kind of lifestyle!
Here are the SEO trends of 2012 that I've been reading up on:
- Social sites will become incredibly important.
- Authorship provides legitimacy.
- Interaction is key.
Secondly - authorship. The internet is largely faceless. Many pages contain articles, videos, pictures, etc. that nobody claims authorship of. That used to be what was cool about the internet - now it's more crippling. The tweaks to the algorithms are ranking sites with proper authorship much higher than those done anonymously. So if you want to attract internet attention... let people know who you are. Give a little "About the Author" section. Or "Eli Wilson is a procrastinating graduate student and technology hobbyist who..." type of summary. Create a face. Create a brand. Be sure people know you're a real person. Let others follow you on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Finally - interaction. Quality over quantity is the new secret of SEO. Back in the good old days, you could create 1000 lame sites, have them all point to your page, and be the most popular kid on the internet. Now you can't. The "link juice" approach of pooling multiple sites to root for your page doesn't work. It's not a popularity contest as much as it is a place to visit for good reason. Focus on quality. Make the page a destination, not just an ad. Give tutorials, instruction, etc. Let the user be engaged. You want your page to be designed for people, not for search engines.
Notice a common thread across those three points? Social and Search are moving closer together. If you brand yourself - people can follow you socially. If your site is a destination, they'll want to see the updates on Facebook and Twitter. If you build your page to these standards, you'll be blending your social aspect and your search optimization more than you realize.
So there's my Eli-summary of the SEO world as it trends through 2012. Hope this helps the webmaster in you shine this year.