12 Tips for Navigating 2012′s Biggest Search Developments

New search engine news seemed to break every week this year, and keeping up with it was time-consuming business.

Staying in the know has been a vital task for search marketers throughout 2012,  however, with each new industry development producing ripples that affect how we get our messages in front of customers.

To help you start 2013 up to date, here’s a collection of search marketing tips for navigating 2012′s biggest changes in search.

Google:

1. High quality prevents Panda and Penguin panic

Google’s updates to its Panda and Penguin algorithms in 2012 punished low-quality sites with lower search rankings. Marketers who produce high-quality original content and earn backlinks naturally have little to fear, though. Keep producing creative content.

2. Preserve SEO by disavowing bad links                                                 

‘Unnatural’ links to your website, whether purchased or not, can hurt SEO. In October, Google announced a type of amnesty for websites that let them disavow unnatural backlinks. Bing announced its own disavow tool in June.

3. Use Google+ to land on front page of Google News

Timely content posted to Google+ can help marketers land on the front page of Google News. Update your Google+ account with a newsjacked story and it may appear next to related stories in Google News.

Need more search visibility? Click for a demo of the Vocus Marketing Suite and see how we can help.

4. Make a good first impression on Google maps

Google now offers searchers a 360-degree view of the inside of businesses, giving business owners a new way of appealing to prospects. Hire a photographer, schedule a shoot, and show your ambiance on Google Maps.

Bing may not be the top dog in search, but it still responsible for millions of searches and can benefit your business.

Bing:

5. Gain more SEO by optimizing for Bing

In September, Bing started Bing It On, a blind test for search results. Bing announced in October that people chose its results over Google’s at a rate of 2:1. Whether it’s better or not, Bing holds about 6 percent of search shares, which means that optimizing for it is wise.

6. Use Klout to show off expertise on Bing

Bing and Klout partnered to give people a better sense of the value of a source. The search engine’s “People Who Know” section now includes Klout scores and links to information about the sources’ expertise. As a business owner, you’re an expert at something. Join Klout, build your score, and gain credibility.

7. Build Yelp reviews and win Bing searchers

Searchers looking for a product or service with Bing will find Yelp offering its perspective. Encourage satisfied customers to recommend your services on Yelp; it could pay off with searchers.

Yahoo!:

8. Get better SEO by optimizing for Yahoo!

Yahoo! has either lost market share or held steady for 15 consecutive months, but it’s still responsible for 12.2 percent of searches. Don’t worry about optimizing for it specifically. Bing powers Yahoo!, so a site optimized for Bing is optimized for Yahoo!

Miscellaneous:

Don’t forget about YouTube for search. It’s often considered the second largest search engine.

9. Grow business by optimizing for local searches

A 2012 YP study showed two-thirds of searchers hunt for local results at least three to four times each week. Optimize your website for local searches by including adding a local telephone number and address.

10. Create compelling video to climb YouTube search results

With 4 billion videos watched each day, YouTube can be considered the second largest search engine. It recently added a new variable for ranking videos: time watched. Climb YouTube search results with high-quality content that people can’t take their eyes off.

11. Increase SEO with Twitter?

Twitter made a change in September that could shape the results of future searches. It now allows search engines to index its search results. Continue to build your brand on Twitter and include keywords in tweets to rise up its search pages.

12. Predict trends by listening to Google Analytics

Nate Silver accurately predicted the 2012 election and showed the power of data. Writing For Digital hypothesized that Silver’s logic could help marketers extract valuable data from customers’ search and social behavior. Use Google Analytics and other tools to monitor what works for you and let that guide your decisions.

Images: jakebouma (Creative Commons)

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