No, I’m not talking about the apocalypse, and neither were the Mayans. Regardless of your beliefs about the fate of mankind in the coming months and years, you better have your search marketing strategy prepared for 2012. It’s chock-full of changes.

It’s only early September, but soon enough it will be a new year. The imminent industry changes are already taking place, but it’s nice to think of a new year as a fresh beginning, as a chance to reinvigorate your efforts and push success past its limits. You’ve got 4 months until 2012; but start planning now!

Local Search

Local search is seeing a mighty strong swell as Google Places listings are presented above the 10-pack of search results. If I found what I’m looking for right off the bat with Google Places, address, phone number and all, why would I even bother scrolling down to see what else the SERP brought me?

Does this mean you should ditch optimizing your site for organic search results? No! Organic search optimization will always be important, but you’ve got to expand your efforts. Make local listings for your business in Google Places, Yahoo! Local, and Bing Local (it’s easy). If you see you’ve already got a listing, claim it, verify it, and optimize it.

Make use of all features you can: photos, descriptions, coupons, categories, etc.

Mobile Search

Not unrelated to local search, mobile search is also huge. Smartphones are set to outsell personal computers and tablets alike. Everybody’s got one—and they aren’t just calling to chat with Grandma, either. Smartphones are like miniature computers; everything from surfing the web to conducting business to updating your Facebook status can happen in the palm of your hand.

Statistics show that about a third of searches on mobile phones are local. This relates to my first point—you better optimize for local search.

Not only that, but web design for mobile is a whole new animal to train. Consider the entirely different format of a smartphone screen to that of a large desktop computer. Your site should be perfectly functional for both. It should be easy and intuitive to navigate and use no matter what platform your user prefers.

Social Media

Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogging; the list goes on. It’s not a trend, my friend, it’s the future. We’ve discussed why social media is vital for a business before, but if you didn’t believe us, consider this: If Facebook could have such a huge influence on the revolution in Libya earlier this year, to the point that the government blocked access to the site to calm the uprising and coming together of the people to fight for their rights, are you really going to tell me Facebook can’t help your business?

 

Brainstorm a strategy that will help you prepare for the changes taking place in Internet marketing. Then make it happen!

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