Organic SEO in 2012: What Can We Expect?

When you talk to the gurus about what to expect in the world of organic SEO, you have to recognize one thing: they’re all talking about Google, and little else. No other company has enough of a market share to even begin to shape the SEO world; indeed, every other company more or less follows Google’s lead. That’s a good thing for us SEO fobs, because it means there’s only one group of people we have to pay close attention to.

On the other hand, Google is notoriously good at keeping secrets. Very few people knew anything about the update last February that shook up the entire SEO world (Panda). I once asked Peter Kasting of the Chrome UI team just how strict their non-disclosure agreements are. Heavily paraphrased, he said “NO.”

So how could Google follow up a shakeup as dramatic as Panda? Well, for one thing, you should get that mindset out of your head — Google’s not out to ‘shake things up’, or ‘screw novice webmasters’, or any of the other things people often accuse them of. Their goal, as it has always been, is to give web surfers what they want as quickly as possible.

To that end, the best way to predict what might change in website SEO over the next year is to look at how the searching experience could be made even better from the searcher’s perspective.

When Google first got started, they were successful because they gave surfers an easy-to-load website with lightning-fast searches that got more relevant results than their competitors. This year, with Panda, they improved those results dramatically by making sure that the pages users saw weren’t crappy scraper sites loaded with ads.

Next year, you can expect that the laws of organic SEO as Google lays them down will be something akin to this:

  • Get lots of quality backlinks from authority sources with a natural link profile.
  • Make sure that people who land on your page will enjoy the experience.

Those really are the only ultimate laws of SEO. Just like Jesus said (also heavily paraphrased) “Love thy god, love thy neighbor, and everything else will fall into place.”, so Google has said “Make your sites pleasant places to be and get loads of natural backlinks, and Google will take care of the rest.”

Everything else really is just details.

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