2012 was a watershed year for SEO.
Google not only moved the goalposts but shifted the playing field away from link spammers and planted it firmly back into the quality space.
Search engines have always favoured quality over quantity but algorithms of past were gamed by heavy link building techniques focusing on quantity.
The search index suffered as a result with quality of search engine results not quite reflecting the user’s input.
The Issue of Quality
The focus now is squarely on quality content, yes links still matter, but content that is generated regularly.
Quality content isn’t simply repackaging an old post but it needs to be unique, written professionally and give users value.
If the users find it valuable then so will Google.
Social is Critical
Google and other search engines have been increasing their focus on social and understanding social signals relative to a particular website.
Google+ is evolving into more of an integrated ecosystem with the Google+ single sign on – social is an area where you cannot afford not be playing.
One thing to remember is that quality of SEO needs to be part of everything you do and social is no different, your content needs to be engaging and provide value for users.
Google has made their intention quite clear with their recent announcement that they will be migrating all Adwords campaigns to their new Enhanced Campaign format.
This means that not is mobile becoming an integral part of search engine algorithms but the days of having a mobile website and a desktop version no longer hold true.
Responsive web design is slowly transforming this environment. It is allowing the development process to focus on one URL destination that caters for all devices and depending on the device that accesses it, it will display the same content in a mobile friendly manner.
In a continent such as Africa, mobile is the first screen – in the developed world mobile is slowly becoming the primary means for accessing the web.
Mobile is critical moving forward.
SEO is always evolving but if you keep to the base principles then your efforts should be well rewarded.