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What can we expect on Search front this year?

What has the new year in store for marketers on SEO landscape that has undergone a dramatic change with the rising stature, power and reach of the social media. The search engine optimization techniques and strategies are bound to witness a further churning in 2012. What can one expect on this count? Are there any definitive trends to give us a clue? Let us try to find out as part of an academic exercise, which can also be handy in practical terms in setting the SEO agenda:

Social and SEO to be intertwined further

As one would expect, dominance of social media will only get stronger, underlining the fact that social and search will have to tread a collective path. SEO sans social will be difficult to imagine or implement. Already, there is a clear influence of the former on SEO, and this will get further obvious. Optimization is fast getting intrinsically intertwined with social as was the case with link building, say a decade ago.

It’s not just the fact that social signals are now making their way up into the overall ranking algorithms (both directly and indirectly), but also the fact that social is emerging as the prime method of sharing as well as discovery for internet users. Even though the usefulness of link graph will not be diminished for years to come, it will gradually make way for the all-pervasive social ‘sharegraph’, challenging its ability to decide what’s really relevant, useful, and relevant to users. The trend could ultimately override every other aspect of SEO practices/ tactics, taking it to a broader level.

Keyword-anonymous searchers to dominate

It is possible keyword (not provided) might rise to 25% plus of total web searchers. In spite of  statements from Google that missing keyword data will be in single digit numbers, certain experts are taking a contra call to predict that at least a quarter of all Web searches originating from logged-in (hence, keyword-anonymous) searchers by December of 2012. The search engine giant is working tirelessly to get adoption of Google+, Android, Gmail and Google Apps, all of which together will enhance the percentage share of not provided searchers.

Marketers in search of a new dominant social player

The last few years have witnessed Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, Tumblr and LinkedIn all boasting a user base running into millions. In the year ahead, Pinterest might follow suit. It’s probably the first major social site where the gender balance is tilted heavily in favor of women. Pinterest will be a major phenomenon to dominate the social media mainstream. Because of this marketers will show keenness to leverage it to help share their content and find prospects.

Last but not the least, the domain of search/inbound marketing is perhaps in need of a program to hone the skills of professionals. So we should witness somewhere down the line a proper Certification Program, hopefully so…What more can we expect on Search and optimization front in 2012? Let us follow in the next post of our series on SEO trends!