SEO Changes in 2012

It is a new year, which means that Google is preparing something new to shake up the Search Engine Optimization world. At the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas, Google representatives announced that new algorithm changes would be taking effect this year. For SEO people, this is never a pleasant thing to hear.

Here’s the basic story: Google and SEO agencies are in a constant struggle. Google has an interest in keeping its search results relevant. This means that results should be filled with relevant content that is useful to the reader. Unfortunately, this is in contrast to the intentions of many SEO agencies, which care primarily about making sales rather than providing really great content.

In the old days (ie the year 2000), it was very easy to manipulate the Google search results. All you had to do was load up your website with keywords, and the Google search results would pick them up and rank you high as a result. As the first page of Google search results filled up with spammy websites with great keywords but lousy content, Google had to make a change. That is why in recent years, backlinks have become more and more important.

Of course, SEO wizards were quick to pick up on that to. If you go on Fiverr, you will find people offering thousands of backlinks on the cheap. Google has shifted around their algorithms to counter this, but to this day effectively creating backlinks to your website is an effective way of increasing its search engine ranking.

Most SEO experts now believe that Google is beginning to integrate a third component: activity. The ubiquity of Google’s toolbar and its deep penetration into social media sites like Facebook and Twitter allows Google to track what people do when they actually visit a website. Do they stay for 5 seconds and click away? Well then, the website probably has lousy content. Do they hang around for 10 minutes, clicking around to different pages on the website? Well then, the website probably has phenomenal content!

When we try and decipher the changes that Google is making to their search algorithm this year, we need to look at it through these three perspectives: Google wants sites with great content that is relevant to specific keywords, they look to links from other authority sites to give it credibility, and they are increasingly paying more and more attention to what people are doing once they land on the site.

Therefore, the trend for successful SEOing in the future will be to fill up your website with great content, actively recruit other websites to promote it and find ways to get people to take action on your site. This inevitably will involve better incorporating Social Media tools for purposes of commenting and sharing.

There are of course ways to manipulate this, at least in the short term. You can hire people to post comments on your sites, to put up backlinks on indexed sites and even use rewriting software to snatch content from elsewhere. If you do this right, you can still get some very quick results. That said, Google is actively trying to snuff this activity out, and once all of their changes are rolled out this year, we will see a lot of those kinds of sides get a beat down.

In response to the changes Google is making to their algorithm this year, and what we anticipate will happen in future years, it’s probably best to pursue both a short term and a long term strategy. Use to tricks to give your site an initial boost, but over the long term be sure to fill it up with great content and make it a high value site to visit and promote. That way your interests are aligned perfectly with those of Google’s.


Jessica Collins writes for Natural Welsh Water – a water coolers company based in the UK.

Image Credit:  lili35 origamisuccessionmedia

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