If you don’t like change, then trying to keep up with search engine optimization is probably not the profession for you. The art of SEO is forever changing as techniques, formulas and even human reaction to online platforms continuoully evolve.

It was a busy year for SEO in 2011 with more social media integration and major changes to how Google searches for content.

What do we at The Belford Group think will happen in 2012 for SEO? We see further development and changes in three key areas:

  1. Social media integration
  2. Content
  3. Human interaction

Social Media Integration

Social media will become a bigger player in 2012 in two ways: by providing another way for people to find information, and by being used to influence the search “spiders.”


‘Not the only game in town’ 

According to Social Media Scientist and SEO expert Dan Zarrella, using search engines is still the top method consumers use to look for information that influences their purchasing decisions—but social media is rapidly catching up.


Information courtesy of Dan Zarrella’s presentation “Science of SEO”

Each social media platform has a search function that allows users to discover information about their favorite brands. This means the consumers don’t have to necessarily rely on traditional search engines to find websites with similar information.

“Search is not dead, but it’s not the only game in town,” Zarrella said.


While in the above scenario search engines and social media seem to be competing entities, they also work hand-in-hand. This is actually where we see the biggest area of growth—search engines and social media working together more to provide a more relevant experience for the user.


More Spider Food 

Social media platforms like Facebook are becoming more adept at finding ways for their users’ content to show up in search engine searches. This means that the links users share on their company’s social media accounts will be more likely to be factored in by the web “spiders” when determining which sites are the most relevant and important. By sharing links that send people back to a company’s own blog or website, users are telling the spiders that this website is important and that it should show up higher in the search engine results.


With that in mind, it makes sense to just spit out links to various parts of a blog or website, right? Wrong. Read on . . .


Good content is increasingly important for search engines. Google discounts the relevance of sites that overuse or repeat keywords or that seem like they’re just trying to attract the spiders’ attention without giving the humans anything to devour once they reach the site.


Content must be:

  1. Fresh-regularly posted blogs or frequent, small updates to the website
  2. Relevant-It must be something customers want or need to know at the time they need to know it
  3. Plentiful-the more fresh, relevant content out there, the more the spiders will see it as important


Human Element

SEO will continue to increase its focus on the human element in search through 2012. Photo courtesy of Flickr user whiteafrican

In the “golden oldie” days of SEO, it was all about meta tags and other behind-the-scenes techniques. Those elements are still important and should be a component of an overall SEO strategy, but human interactions and reactions are quickly becoming more important:

  • What information (read: links) do they share on social media?
  • What keywords do they use in their reviews or comments?

As they further develop their algorithms for search results, the search engines are taking what information humans share and factor it into search rankings.

Need Help?

The Belford Group is an experienced image-building marketing and website development agency, with more than a decade spent providing creative marketing and advertising solutions to fit any budget and any medium.

We’d love to learn more about what you do, and find ways to help you do more of it. Call us at 479-443-9945 to schedule a free consultation.