Twenty-Eleven is already moving at a full sprint (it’s almost February already, for crying out loud), so it’s important to note some of the SEO trends that are likely to blow up this year. This is by no means a comprehensive or definitive list, but the four I’ve listed here have the potential to be ‘011’s big guns. In no particular order:
Video Marketing—As Scott pointed out in a blog a few days ago, adding videos to your site and creating a YouTube channel for your company can have huge benefits for your business. Almost everybody carries at least a rudimentary video camera with them*, and it’s so easy to edit and upload videos now that there’s no reason not to. The saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words”—a talking picture is worth 14,753.6†. What better way to show potential customers and clients what your company can do than by literally showing them what your company can do! One recent study showed that conversion rates from YouTube are up to 20 percent higher than conversion rates from traditional search engines. If it’s that easy and that effective, it’s definitely a must.
Social Network Optimization—I mentioned in previous blogs that social networks and social media are rapidly taking over the world as we know it. But, this is not necessarily a bad thing. You can use your Facebook and Twitter accounts to update your customers/clients on any and all new developments in your company quickly, easily, and, best of all, for free. Keeping them up to date on your latest and greatest will also keep you front and center in their minds when it’s business time. Tweets, Facebook updates, and the like are also a great opportunities for link building and generating referral traffic. Again: fast + easy – expensive × effective = a must. Facebook and Twitter may not always be the King and Queen of the social networking prom (remember Myspace? Didn’t think so), but social networking itself shows no signs of slowing down, so this one will be a key SEO focus for many years to come.
Local Search Marketing—Thirty years ago, if your business wasn’t listed in the local Yellow Pages, you might as well not have existed. Now, Google and other search engines are the new Yellow Pages, so if you’re not showing up on Google when local customers are searching for your goods or services, the same holds true. Even if you do more business on a national level, once you’ve built up a good search engine ranking on the local level, you’ll start to see better results from national-level searches as well, as Google et al. will recognize your site’s credibility and improve your overall ranking. No matter how big your company is, it never hurts to pay attention to the small stuff.
Mobile Marketing—This one is kind of tricky, because it can be difficult to know where/how to differentiate between your regular online presence and your mobile-friendly online presence. However, as more and more people are using smartphones**, it’s important that you cater to the phones’ full capabilities. Maybe you don’t need your own iPhone app, but a coupon or QR code that can be downloaded right to a potential customer’s phone can certainly make your business more attractive. Many companies have even created mobile-friendly versions of their sites (with the “m.” prefix) that feature more smartphone-ready content. Everyone and their mother has a smartphone now††, so, like social network optimization, mobile marketing promises to be an important factor in SEO for quite some time.
I hope this list has been at least a little bit helpful and informative. Let us know what you think in the comments section, and keep an eye out for new SEO trends on the horizon. They’re changing all the time, so it’s good to be prepared. My prediction for the biggest, best SEO trend of 2012: blimps. Don’t ask me how, don’t ask me why, but trust me—blimps.
* Hint: It’s your cellular telephone.
† Rounded to the nearest tenth.
** They’re not that smart. Mine can’t even tie its shoes.
†† The day my Dad gets one will truly be the dawn of a new age, however.