3 Major Search Engine Trends in 2012:
1 – Google’s Continued Fight Against Spam:
Penguin in 2013, and Panda continuing from 2011, both led the fight against spammy links (Penguin), and spammy and weak content (Panda).
Results are mixed – worst offenders have been suitably punished, however many have moved to slightly less crappy link building and content practices, resulting in the bar only getting raised slightly in many markets. Other markets might as well not be affected by Penguin, based upon the tactics we see working daily.
2 – Continued Loss of Keyword Data to (not provided).
For clients of Content Harmony (skewed towards small/medium businesses), we’ve seen 30-40% of keywords become (not provided).
I’ve seen reports upwards of 50% for tech-friendly audiences.
RKG Q4 report said 28% average.
Optify B2B report said 41% average.
This has been a large driver in changing organic search metrics in my opinion, along with personalization of search results. We’re not forced to focus on landing pages and aggregate keyword data as opposed to microlevel focus on keyword performance.
3 – Emergence of Google Authorship
Authorship has 2 big implications:
What is happening now. The only thing we’re fairly certain about with authorship is that it typically offers higher click through rates than the same ranking without authorship. This allows for better results for content producers that adopt it sooner, and is already rewarding companies that are producing content that is attributable to high-profile individuals.
What might be happening now, and what could happen later. This is the real area of opportunity. The implications of authorship allow for brands and authors to increase rank through building followers. Moreso, it allows brands to draft on the following of authors, and authors to draft on the following of brands. I also think the implications for spam detection are positive, because faking an entire social following on Google+ will be much more difficult to scale than current link and social share metrics. The ROI of building a brand becomes better than the ROI of building fake identities and spamming the networks.
Paid Search Trends: