It's that time of year again where I dust off my thinking cap and look at how the world of SEO has changed this year and how it's likely to change in the next year. Last November I wrote about my 18 seo predictions for 2012, a post which many blogs have referenced in the past 12 months. But how many of those 18 trends I predicted came true? lets find out...
The Predictions and The Reality of SEO in 2012
1) Humans Make Search Rankings, aka Authority in the Hands of the People!
CORRECT! - Google have created a more human search by adding "intelligence" to search. With facts being presented alongside search results for people and locations. This is still being rolled out and tested with search however it is available today as "research" in Google Documents. Read more here.
2) Quality NOT Quantity, aka Panda 2
CORRECT! - With the Penguin update, Google has shown that quality is always superior to quantity, this is for both content and links. Many sites have been hit by penguin in several ways, you can read about how one site recovered on SEOMoz.
3) SEO's are no longer just SEO's!, aka a move from just doing seo
CORRECT! - This one is hard to judge for the most part, but if we take the SEOMoz Industry Survey results, there are 47% of respondents who said they were already generalists or would become so in the near future - this shows a distinct move from just being an SEO.
4) SEO's will realise CRO's are better - aka don't just drive traffic, drive conversions
CORRECT! - this ties in with predictions 1 and 2, it shows that the end user is now more important and that quality dictates results. I am certainly more focused of CROs than ever before, as are many of the SEO's I speak with.
5) Even More Confusion!
CORRECT! - this is certainly true of the SEO world, many an SEO is screaming about the various updates and how they are struggling to recover, combined with changes to Google Analytics and what not - 2012 has certainly been a confusing year for many an SEO.
6) Speech Search will be Normalised
CORRECT! - 2012 has certainly been a year of rapid growth for the mobile search world, and in particular for users of voice search. By that I don't just mean searching Google but I mean in general voice commands and search usage on any device has picked up, this is in part due to upgrades to Android and iOS this year.
7) Mobile Search will be Huge!
CORRECT! - as explained above and by an inforgaphic about the rise of mobile search, mobile has gone big this year - again due to advances by Android and Apple devices.
8) It's not yet Telepathy but it's close
CORRECT! - with improvements to SIRI on iOS and the introduction of Google Now on Android the world has certainly moved closer to telepathy thanks to digital assistants on your phone. Who know's maybe next year things will get even closer to telepathy than we think is possible.
9) Facebook continues to push but falters
CORRECT! - earlier this year facebook IPO'd in May with a price per share of $38usd today this has subsided to $27.58USD, earlier this year it hit a low of $17.49USD. So facebook is faltering somewhat as it has smacked the plateau of users. Facebook has been pushing mobile but is yet to really break through. Maybe next year will be even worse for them, kind of like when users dumped myspace!
10) Google+ will stay small
CORRECT! - a few users will say "no no no it's growing" and I know it is but in reality its still small fry compared with twitter and facebook. I love Google+ for great and longer interactions but it is clearly not for everyone and again in 2013 i don't see huge growth for the network.
11) Linking Social Networks will begin to die (again)
HALF CORRECT! - for the most part social networks have stayed as was, no rapid decline or real closures - though digg has kind of died and many other networks aren't far off disappearing. It's only a matter of time.
12) Corporate Blogging will die
HALF CORRECT! - ok they haven't all gone away there are still some blogs that exist in a corporate boring manner, a few have changed their ways and others just slipped off the radar. One thing is clear though, the demise has begun of corporate blogs!
13) Mini Blogs Go BOOM
WRONG! - mini blogs such as tumblr just continued at their normal rate of growth, there was no boom in this niche industry.
14) Companies Scrap Blogging
CORRECT! - even the biggest company in the world has turned to social media... I give you the pope on twitter @pontifex
15) More Blogs will Go Video / Audio
HALF CORRECT! - most of the blogs I've read and loved this year have included rich media such as video or audio, even SEOAndy has began including more and more youtube videos. Podcast networks like TWIT and 5by5 have grown and grown, it's an awesome age we live in.
16) Bye Bye Referrer Keywords
CORRECT! - More and more searchers are landing on sites and the owner unable to see the keywords they searched for, for SEOAndy this has gone from being around 15% in January to over 30% today.
17) Rankings Die ... but Slowly
CORRECT! - as the world has moved from the desktop to mobile devices rankins have slowly began to die, as they have on the desktop. proof of this comes in the changes Google has made to searches where it will present a fact box (the knowledge graph) next to results - bing now does this too. In addition to this searches on google are integrated with the latest news and posts from Google+, a clear indication search is on the route down, bing does something similar with facebook. so "true" rankings are beginning to die in favour of social, news and locality.
18) RealTime Analytics Takes Off
WRONG! - although the arrival of jetpack means there are instant stats for wordpress lovers others have not been so lucky. Google Analytics hasn't fully ran with its real time stats and as thats the "big one" it means not many people know of or user real time stats.