In the third installment of our four-part 2012 prediction series, we’ll take a look at what’s next for search engines and paid media on the web.
1. Quality of Content
Google’s introduction of Panda 2 caused two things: discomfort among the SEO community and added emphasis on quality of content. For search engine recognition in 2012, companies will have to produce fresh, unique and consistently valuable content. As Google and Bing fight to produce more relevant search results, filler content will no longer cut it.
2. Social Integration
Social media’s effect on search cannot be ignored in 2012. Between G+’s influence on Google and Facebook’s partnership with Bing, the power of social within search is bound to grow. And signing up for social networks is not enough; strong and consistent engagement is required to leave a meaningful impact on search.
3. Mobile Will Rule
Mobile search grew exponentially in 2011, and will continue to do so in 2012. Keeping up with this trend is a matter of quick navigability (can users find the links they want in 15 seconds?) and considering the user’s real-time situation. And it’s a great time to jump in with both feet. Competition is low, and clicks may end up costing less in the mobile space during the first quarter.
4. Voice Search
Between Apple’s Siri and Google’s soon-to-debut Majel, voice search will become a normal way to navigate the web in 2012, and the companies that work to integrate this feature will come out on top. It’s not a “killer feature” just yet, but our guess is there’s an overlap between voice users and early adopters. Valuable? Perhaps. Something to consider? Absolutely.
5. Landing Page Credentials
In 2011 Google tweaked its secret algorithm to increase the importance of landing page quality. Brands will have to invest in quality content, transparency and navigability in order to keep Google Quality Scores up and maximize visibility. Better ads and better landing pages means better ad position.