Since the world didn’t actually end this past week as the Mayans ‘predicted’, I thought a rehash of the good, bad and ugly in both terms of Search Engine Optimization and the world in general, was a great exercise to do as I lay around enjoying all that this Christmas season has to offer… family, friends, lots of home-made treats and thoughts of the real meaning of Christmas.
Many things happened this past year both good and bad that I do not have the time to go into but these are just a few high/low lights and isn’t in anyway intended to be a ‘best of’ list.
The Good – World
In August the Mars rover, Curiosity, successfully landed. I think outer space holds an element of intrigue and questioning for everyone and the fact that Curiosity will help us pave the way to our closest planetary neighbour is indeed exciting.
London, England, opened its arms wide open for the world as the summer Olympics were held there this past year. It was a great time for those around the world to embrace something larger than themselves and their problems and watch healthy competition between others from across the world. Even though my beloved Canada only won a single gold medal, we can be proud of the other 17 (5 silver, 12 bronze) medallists that performed so admiringly for Canada.
The Bad – World
The EU (European Union), specifically Greece and Spain (among others) had to be handled with kids gloves. Not only because these countries (most specifically Greece) whined like spoiled children when told they need to shape up and take some responsibility for their plight, but the fact that these EU issues do nothing as a whole for the world-wide economy as we all struggle day to day.
Professional sports and the athletes that entertain all of us took another hit in the eyes of the little guy like you and me. The NFL went from a 5 game lockout in 2011 to a referee strike. The 2011 NBA lockout gave way to a shortened 2011-2012 season which is now followed up by a NHL lockout that has put the entire season and a $3.7 Billion industry in jeopardy. May be the biggest sports scandal this year was the fact that the Lance Armstrong legend will have to be re-written in a not-so positive light. At least the Livestrong organization lives on to continue its good work.
The Ugly – World
Gun violence against the innocent continued in (July) a big way this year. The tragic events of Newtown, Connecticut (December) and Aurora, Colorado that took the lives of 27 and 12 innocent people, including 20 children. What a shame that we are so concerned about an inconsequential right (freedom to bear arms) in the 21st century that political posturing becomes more important than putting policies and procedures into place to help either eliminate or minimize the damage that can be done by those intent on harming others due to their own shortcomings or issues.
The Good – SEO
Google has gone through a series of Panda updates to continue to provide better search results. Their effort to get rid of spam and minimize the positive results that sites with weak, low quality content get is to be commended. For those that thought there was an easy, ‘backdoor’ way to get good rankings, Google will eventually close those loopholes and you will only be left with the option to deal with reputable Search Engine Optimization professionals who will focus more on long-term quality than quick hit band-aid fixes.
Google’s Local Search keeps getting more attention internally meaning that it will continue to gain strength in search results. Google is now tying in Google + with Google Places and providing better support for those products. It also means that Local SEO is merging with Social Media in an effort to give you not only more accurate information but fresh, real-time information in which to make better choices for yourself as you search various products and services, both inside and outside of your local area.
The Bad – SEO
The weighting of EMD (Exact Match Domains) has been minimized. From my standpoint, this is actually a good thing, but for a majority of people performing Search Engine Optimization work, this easy out for gaining SERP traction is gone. This leaves the professionals, such as myself, with more work to do since business owners are going to need additional help with SEO programs and also to help clean up the work done by those SEO providers who only go for the quick buck. The businesses that got caught up with in the later scenario are the ones who now think that the minimizing of EMD effectiveness is a bad thing. The other ‘bad’ aspect is that business owner’s will be more in need of true, effective SEO assistance.
Personally, the fact that SM (Social Media) is becoming larger than its actual circle of effectiveness is a pain but the fact of the matter is that SM will continue to gain traction within Search Engine Optimization, SERPs and online marketing in general – but not for every business. My frustration is that we kept getting force fed how effective SM is all while the bigger picture is being ignored by so many. Today SEs can’t quite figure out what and when results from SM will make up an effective and relative SERP. Until Google achieves this, SM as part of search results won’t make the ‘nice’ list and will remain on the ‘bad’ list… but not quite on the ‘naughty’ list!
The Ugly – SEO
Google in all its wisdom (cough, cough) changed things so that when a user is logged into their Google account, no search analytics can be captured by 3rd party sites. For example, when you look at your Google Analytics account to analyze the traffic you are receiving, when it says ‘Not Provided’, that is an example of someone who found your site while signed into Google. Of course that is good that they found you, but how they found you and what they did while on your site isn’t tracked. Brutal.
With the tremendous increase in mobile traffic year over year, it is an absolute shame that most businesses haven’t taken the time to update their website let alone take the time to determine just how in-depth their mobile website strategy should be. Yes, phones such as the iPhone have great internet surfing characteristics, but the simplicity of a mobile site lends a great amount of credibility and usefulness to those seeking information about you, or your product/services. Don’t give them the opportunity to opt for your competition. Give them what they want on their mobile device in regards to a mobile website and give them a reason to deal with a professional, forward-thinking business. It’s where the fastest growth is. Why wouldn’t you want to participate in that?
All in all 2012 was a good year even with a few heart wrenching events both personally and in the bigger picture but all in all, I live a blessed life with a wonderful wife, beautiful home, food in my belly and great friends. I hope that during this Christmas time that you take a moment to reflect on 2012 to count your blessings and remind yourself of the reason we celebrate the season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.