Published: March 30, 2012
Powerful changes in the online environment have brought new waves during the past 2-3 years and businesses have been strongly affected by them. Old marketing techniques have become obsolete, potentially even harmful to businesses, while the spread of social media, e-book readers, the intesnification of mobile marketing and the appearance of so many mobile-based applications - are forcing businesses to adapt to new requirements.
Search engine marketing has been powerfully hit by Google's Panda Updates in 2011, especially the "big update", which culminated on October 13th last year. Some estimates show 20-25 % of Google-indexed sites have lost a tremendous number of their visitors. Some suffering losses of over 75-80 % in visitor numbers.
Google is using new algorhythms and has promised to become more rigorous on filtering out sites considered to abuse their indexing mechanism.
What can we expect in 2012 in online marketing? Let's see the main trends!
Google's Panda updates have cracked down on sites considered "spammy" and over-SEO-ed. Google has made SEO much harder than ever before. Some experts have speculated the "extinction of SEO" - not the case, certainly not in 2012. But the job of online marketing firms will be far more difficult, challenging.
Google claims that they're penalizing the so-called "content-farms" - sites with little or no original content, but mere filler pages. Google likes unique, original organic content created by humans and penalizes whatever bears the patterns of software-generated content.
The types of sites affected by Google's algorthythm changes are the ones with excessive advertising on their pages, duplicate content, large numbers of links (tag clouds are a reason for being penalized).
Link building techniques will be riskier, SEO-ing pages will be an even more delicate issue, as Google is putting more accent on measuring content quality.
Not only keyword repetition, but even focusing on certain keywords will affect websites' rankings. Google is promising to put more accent on semantic search, meaning that even non-SEO-ed pages will be indexed and ranked with ease.
Creating quality content for visitors, not robots should be the key objective of web page builders.
Video and social media interaction, as well as fresh content creation, periodically updating sites will become more important in 2012.
Stringent measures are taken by the search engines to penalize websites buying excessive amounts of links (for instance, it is belived that buying large numbers of directory links will be rather harmful, so will be swapping links with other sites), filler-blogs and other pages consisting mainly of artificially inflated unoriginal content will also be penalized.
Google measures interaction, therefore social media activity and indicators, such as bounce rate and the number of pages viewed by visitor (collected for instance via Google Analytics) will have a higher importance in search engine rankings and positionings.
Creating more dynamism, more interaction will be essential for any web business in order to succeed. Attracting mebers and stimulating interaction, such as conversations and posting opinions on pages will influence search engine positions.
This is how search engines will be able to filter out filler or artificial content from useful original one. Visitors will know easier where to interact and their lack of itnerest will reflect in indicators, such as the bounce rate. The less interesting content will be to them, the more will simply "bounce off" the website.
The demand is shifting towards mobile, which includes smart phones and hand-held e-book readers, such as ipads.
Online marketing will overlap with mobile marketing, both areas will have to be carefully watched by business owners in 2012.
You might want to consider making your website compatible with mobile platforms.
Also: smartphone applications will spread even more. Some businesses are already using them successfully in the selling process - not just interaction!