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12 Things to Think About for SEO in 2012
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Wow 2011 has been quite a year in Search.  You might say that it has been the year of the Panda.  In November 2010 at PubCon Las Vegas, Google's Matt Cutts warned us that big things were coming from Google in terms of dealing with webspam.  Look for more of that to come in 2012. 

Still lots of "SEO is dead" commentary out there.  However SEO is not dead, it has just evolved, just as all digital marketing has evolved in recent years.  So where does that leave use for 2012?  We have compiled a Top 12 for '12 to help get you on track as you end 2011 and approach 2012.

Digital Marketing in 2012:  Twelve Things to Think About

From an SEO perspective, here are some items that should be on your radar (if they aren't already):

  1. Content Enhancement - establish a process for ensuring that your content is of the highest quality possible.  Avoid things like those lame articles that you have been polluting the Web with.  Any time you create a piece of content for your audience, it should be of high value.  Work on enhancing your content in 2012.  You won't be sorry.
  2. Site Engagement - as part of your digital marketing strategy you should be monitoring the engagement on your site.  I have yet to come across the perfect site.  Usability has a direct impact on how people engage with your site.  Make your site experience a pleasant one.  Test out new features and content pieces.  While you cannot please eveeryone all of the time, focus on the masses and improving the engagement factor of your site.
  3. Content Promotion - creating great content is one thing.  Getting it out there to the masses is another thing.  Work on getting your content to your potential prospects.  Leverage social media and social bookmarking options to allow people to promote your content for you.  Content promotion should be big on your to do list for 2012.
  4. Monitoring of Page Performance - by now, you should be running some clean code on your web properties.  While Google has communicated that they actually use things like page speed as part of their algorithms, I continue to see numerous sites who fail to address their site's performance from a coding perspective.  Monitoring of page performance should be a regular occurence with your monthly maintenance activities.
  5. Microdata - with the launch of Schema.org in June 2011, we can see how important richer coding and microdata will be.  Leveraging rich snippets in the search results can mean occupying more of the results page real estate making it more enticing to attract that click.  Who wouldn't want to leverage this?
  6. Mobile - we have been talking about mobile for a few years now.  Still surprsing to see the number of sites who have not yet tapped into the mobile arena.  Whether it is setting up a mobile friendly site or creating a mobile App, mobile traffic is only going to increase.  Time to pony up and establish your mobile strategy.
  7. Social Engagement - look for social signals to play an increasingly important role in what the major engines decide to show in their search results. 
  8. Revisit the fundamentals - it may be time to revisit some of the fundamental optimization of your site.  Things like page titles, meta descriptions, and other on-page elements.
  9. Keyword Trending - your keyword research should be ongoing.  In 2012, you will want to revisit some of the keyword trends that present opportunities for driving residual traffic to your site.
  10. Take a deeper look at analytics - yes I know we can get the numbers to pretty much tell any story we want, but it mat be time to revisit your KPIs to ensure that you are really monitoring what is the most important to your bottom line.  Keep it simple, you really do not have to get too complicated.
  11. Learn how the algorithms work - while we do not know exactly how Google's algorithms work, it does benefit to understand key factors as to how they crawl, index and rank a webpage.  Pay attention to algorithm updates, even if your site has not been impacted, monitor how other sites that have been impacted are reacting to the updates.  Why have the sites that have improved in rankings done so?  Why have sites that have been hit in a negative manner been impacted the way that they have?  Be aware of the timing of algorithm updates and be proactive with the optimization of your site.
  12. Take inventory of your site pages - 2012 is as good as time as any to gain an understanding of just how many pages your site consists of?  Which pages are performing well?  Which ones are not driving qualified traffic?  Take inventory of your site's pages to identify areas of strength and areas of opportunity.
I expect 2012 to be a big one in the Search industry.  Bing is continuing to gain traction and Google is contining to deliver the best results that they can.  Look for continued focus on things such as webspam, duplicate content and page performance to be key areas of focus for the search engines specifically Google.  Mobile and social will continue to grow and searchers will continue to become more savvy.  Approach 2012 with these items in mind and you will be much better off.  Fail to address these issues and well you know the drill... linger in sesarch purgatory.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, November 29, 2011   1 comments
Why Can't Google Solve My Traffic Woes?
Monday, November 21, 2011
So I am stuck in traffic due to a new overpass that has started to collapse. I live in West Kelowna, BC which means that I am required to cross the William Bennet Bridge to get to the office each day. The commute to work is fine, it's the return home that is the frustrating part. And for the record, this is my first ever blog post via my iPhone.

So typically I might use Google Maps or something to find an alternate route. Kelowna is not large enough to warrant such cause for action as there is really only one way into and out of town... But wouldn't it be cool if Google had some cool realtime traffic report functionality for your Geo? That way if need be you could plan an alternate path to your destination? I know, I know there are GPS units and such but a realtime traffic report search would be pretty cool, and not just for commuters but for emergency dispatchers and the like.

Wouldn't help me with my current traffic issues but realtime traffic search would still be cool. For now I will just have to be content with listening to a little Chickenfoot on my extended ride home.

You will have to excuse the typos as I am blogging from my iPhone, a new experience for me.

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posted by Jody @ Monday, November 21, 2011   0 comments
Google Freshness Algorithm Update
Friday, November 04, 2011
October tends to be a busy month for Google and their algorithm updates. So as we enter November, it was interesting to see Google announce their latest algorithm update that focuses on freshness.  The premise behind this latest algorithm can be summed up from Amit Singhal from Google when he states:
Given the incredibly fast pace at which information moves in today’s world, the most recent information can be from the last week, day or even minute, and depending on the search terms, the algorithm needs to be able to figure out if a result from a week ago about a TV show is recent, or if a result from a week ago about breaking news is too old.
So is this Google taking another shot at real-time search?  No I don't think so, especially in light that Google is no longer incorporating Tweets into the results.  Tweets are pretty timely pieces of information... as real-time as you can get on the Web.  At the end of the day, I think that Google simply wants to deliver what they feel are the best results based on the query.  Timeliness does play a roll here.

An obvious question becomes how does one ensure that their content is picked by by the freshness piece of the algorithm?  Well you can bet that site owners, SEOs and webmasters will be trying a number of different things to "manipulate" the freshness factor (re-saving pages anyone?) but it is important to note that a fresh piece of information does not always mean that it is the most relevant piece of information.   I mean if you type in an event with a date, chances are you may be looking for some "legacy" information and not some tweet from a kid doing a report on the topic.  Over at Search Engine Land, Danny Sullivan touched on some of the query types or search types that may be impacted:
Recent events or hot topics. For recent events or hot topics that begin trending on the web, you want to find the latest information immediately. Now when you search for current events like [occupy oakland protest], or for the latest news about the [nba lockout], you’ll see more high-quality pages that might only be minutes old
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Regularly recurring events. Some events take place on a regularly recurring basis, such as annual conferences like [ICALP] or an event like the [presidential election]. Without specifying with your keywords, it’s implied that you expect to see the most recent event, and not one from 50 years ago. There are also things that recur more frequently, so now when you’re searching for the latest [NFL scores], [dancing with the stars] results or [exxon earnings], you’ll see the latest information.

Frequent updates. There are also searches for information that changes often, but isn’t really a hot topic or a recurring event. For example, if you’re researching the [best slr cameras], or you’re in the market for a new car and want [subaru impreza reviews], you probably want the most up to date information.
These make sense, but it remains to be seen how other queries will be impacted by this.  35% of all searches is a lot of searches.  (Keep in mind that we are talking searches not keywords).

Did Google just make their results more relevant?  Hard to say.  Totally depends on the searcher, the search query used and the associated semantics.  It will be interesting to see how this evolves and to see if certain types of content see a lift in Google SERPs.

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posted by Jody @ Friday, November 04, 2011   1 comments
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Home: Kelowna, BC, Canada
About Me: SEO guy by day, family man 24/7.
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