This blog article offers SEO tips that I see as especially important for 2012, and take into account anticipated developments in the search landscape.
SEO Tip #1: Increase Social Media Involvement
Social media has seen phenomenal growth over the last few years, and there is no reason to suspect that this growth will diminish in 2012.
Social media mentions are now a ranking algorithm factor for all major search engines. There are obvious mentions such as Twitter tweets/retweets and Facebook likes. The question arises: what social media sites do the engines look at for social media signals? While mentions that have a backlink will count towards your link profile, will these mentions be counted as a social media signal? Hopefully they will, but impossible to say for sure without a crystal ball. However, I foresee that the engines will be examining a wider and wider range of social media sites (especially with new sites being created all the time). As a result it is a good idea to get mentions from a wide range of social media, as well as sites that specialize in topics that are related to your business or company. (For example, Tipd is a social media site that concentrates on financial topics).
Another reason to hop on the social media bandwagon is people’s online search habits are changing, with an increasing number of people initiating a search using social media (as opposed to using an engine like Google). A great example is LinkedIn, whereby people search for jobs and companies look for employees to fill job positions.
SEO Tip #2: Plan for Personalized Search
For several years Google has personalized search results by taking into account sites that you have previously visited. Also, last week Google announced that search is going “social”, whereby your search results will be influenced by your “friends” activity on Google+ (see Miranda Miller’s Google Launches Search Plus Your World blog article for an in-depth explanation of this).
Google’s announcement has created uproar with search professionals. Regardless of this reaction, the fact remains that Google (and possibly the other major engines) will probably be placing an increasing amount of effort into personalizing your search results.
Here are some tips for handling personalized search:
- Create a Google+ account for your company, and have strong calls-to-action on your web site (as well as other marketing material such as newsletters, etc.) to get people to follow you.
- Create outstanding web content that users find valuable and get more people going to your web site, regardless of their intention to buy. If these people search for a product or service that you offer later on then your site will rank well. (Corporate blogs are very powerful!)
- In your major social media profiles (e.g. Facebook pages, etc.) consider prompting people to join your other social media networks.
SEO Tip #3: Optimize for Local Search
Google has been pushing local search for awhile now, and I have been seeing numerous recent changes to how Google displays local listings. I anticipate that Google (with other engines following suit) will continue to develop their local listings algorithm and technology.
Here are some ways to optimize for local search:
- Get and verify a Google Maps listing (basically synonymous with Google Places). It is easy to do, and makes sense for businesses that have a hyper local market.
- Global companies that have multiple regional offices should have web content that specifically discusses these locations. Have one web page per regional office, with each page optimized for that particular location.
- Global companies that have regional offices should consider creating social media profiles for each branch. For example, each branch can have its own Facebook profile, Twitter account, LinkedIn profile, etc. This will increase relevancy and authority for each region.
In conclusion, good luck to all in their 2012 search optimization ventures. I hope you find these SEO tips useful!