The Crystal Ball of 2012: SEO Industry’s Biggest Predictions, Distilled

Crystal Ball It has become a tradition for the SEO industry folks to make predictions at the turn of the year, and 2012 is not an exception. We have gone through many famous bloggers’ forecasts for 2012, picking out the most important/unusual/controversial points and delivering them straight to your door. Enjoy!

Michael Gray of Wolf Howl tweeted on December 31, 2011:

Michael Gray Tweet

Ok, jokes apart, let’s get down to some serious stuff.

Social Media

According to Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz, there will be no such thing as SEO without social media this year, as the two will walk hand in hand in 2012. Well, social media started playing a big role in SEO when search engines began considering site’s social media popularity (to some extent) in their ranking algorithms, and the influence has become even greater with the introduction of Google’s +1 button and the birth of Google+.

Besides, SEO has been moving beyond site rankings and towards social media (among other things) for quite a while now.


As far as Goolge+ is concerned, SEO bloggers are not unanimous as to its fate in 2012. Some think that, despite all the hype around this Google’s own social network, it will remain 2-nd to Facebook, while, according to Paul Allen, the unofficial Google+ statistician, Google+ is expected to hit 400+ million users by the end of 2012, which would definitely change the balance of force in the social media world.

At the same time, some SEO folks look at Google+ from a different perspective and believe that its impact on site rankings will only increase (especially with the recently introduced author tag), and, therefore, the social network should be taken seriously in any case.


Craig Kilgore of Mainstreethost is certain that, despite becoming increasingly popular, Twitter will NOT reach the 7 billion users they have set as their goal for 2012. Just think about it, 7 billion people is actually the world’s population! Couldn’t agree more, Craig.

Content Marketing

This year, great content will be as important as ever. In the post-Panda SEO world, great content means more visitors, more time on site and lower bounce rates, which ultimately equals higher site rankings.

E-mail Marketing

In 2012, email marketing will remain vital. Better targeting and a more delicate approach to subscribers will be the trend, leaving the “batch-and-blast” method behind. So, leveraging such intelligence as products left in online shopping carts or abandoned subscription forms may become a norm.

Mobile Search

Due to intense iPhone and tablet sales, the number of mobile Web users has mushroomed over the past 2 years and is expected to surpass the number of PC Internet users by 2015. So, in 2012, optimizing websites for mobile users is likely to be on many SEO’s agenda.

Local Search

Chris “Silver” Smith of KeyRelevance is certain there are many more online resources that local businesses can leverage nowadays, which will most definitely lead to further growth of Local Search. Just think about Foursquare, a website that “helps one find the best in any area”, or the improvements Google is constantly making to Google Places and Google Maps.

Search Engine Ratings

AJ Kohn of Blind Five Year Old believes that DuckDuckGo will become the world’s 4th largest search engine, besting both Ask and AOL. We’ve already mentioned this young yet powerful search engine in our blog post called Vertical search engines: taking over search.

DuckDuckGo provides different thematic categories of search results, is significantly less commercialized than Google, and the relevance of the listings it returns is also quite impressive. So, if you have never tried using or optimizing for DuckDuckGo, it’s probably just the right time to check it out.

Anchor Texts

Multiple bloggers predict that anchor texts will play a significantly LESS important role in 2012. For example, consider the post by Zac Grace, in which he states that, in 2012, link building will have to look even more natural than before, since Google now seems to attach little to no value to links with many identical anchor texts.

SEO tools

SEO software provider Link-Assistant.Com predicts that SEO SpyGlass will become the most popular backlink checker, used by approximately 40% of SEO’s around the world. Backlink checkers have been in high demand lately, ever since the termination of the uber-popular and FREE online service, Yahoo! Site Explorer, which ceased to exist on November 21, 2011.

SEO certificates

There is likely to be a major breakthrough in SEO certification and standardization this year according to Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz. Quite a few companies provide SEO certificates for their trainees ALREADY, but there is no centralized program or common standards that have been agreed upon on either a national or an international level. Will that change in the nearest future? We shall see!
And what are your SEO predictions for 2012? Do share!

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    January 10, 2012

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  • Eugene
    April 4, 2012

    What’s your blog?

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