Five SEO trends to lookout for in 2012

In reflecting on the year 2011, I’ve also looked at what to expect in the year 2012. Here are some of my thoughts around what’s happening in SEO this year. Love to hear your thoughts so please feel free to post comments.

  1. Social media will be an even bigger factor in Google’s algorithm

Social media influence on ranking positions today reminds us of Google’s efforts in dealing with link and content data 10 years ago. Today, Google is 100 times better at interpreting the link graph. By the end of this year, Google will be 20 times better at interpreting the social graph as well.

  1. The search results page will continue to feature less organic rankings and more paid

Pressure on Google to keep growing its revenue and profits would mean even more cannibalisation of space on the search engine results page. More and more sections will be paid. We first saw this in Google ads, then Google shopping. We’ll see product reviews, sign up forms and anything else Google can start charging for.

  1. Paid search will become more important in supporting SEO efforts

Hiding keyword data in the name of privacy is only the first step. Google is encouraging SEOs who only focus on organic rankings to also get their PPC game on. Google’s goal is to create a search environment that encourages continual spending on PPC to attain valuable data in order to do good SEO.

  1. Spammy SEO practices will get targeted even harder

The number of major rollouts in the search algorithm (ie. Panda) targeting spammy practices in 2011 is astounding. Rest assured, this will continue to increase in frequency and severity in 2012 as Google gets smarter and accumulates more data than they’ve ever had before. Article spinning, artificial links and spammy tactics like creating “content” pages on the fly using onsite search data will see even more decline in value.

  1. SEO will become even more competitive than ever

As more and more companies get online, spending on SEO marketing will increase. The barriers to entry will become even higher. Smart SEOs will find a way to scale their efforts efficiently and weak SEOs may not be able to deliver satisfying results with poor practices anymore.

This is a reblog from the Startupsmart Website where I’m a regular contributor. As I felt that you guys might find this really useful, I’ve reposted it here.


Following the No Follow rule

Linkbuilding – The rel=“nofollow” tag

So this week we will be examining another key component of the link: the rel=“nofollow” tag. This tag was originally introduced in 2005 by Google by way of helping webmasters combat spammers.

So how does it work? Basically, you add this tag to the end of the link structure as follows {a href=“” rel=“nofollow”}. What this does is it tells Google that the link above shouldn’t be given any credit / linkjuice even though its on your website.

In the past, webmasters would use this tag to do what is called page-rank sculpting, where they will attempt to no-follow links to pages that they do not want to rank in an attempt to improve the linkjuice given to the other pages. However, Google has since confirmed that any link on a page will still be attributed linkjuice but links with nofollow will have theirs dissipate making this practice somewhat obsolete.

So where does this leave us? Firstly, you’d want to make sure as much as possible that links you build to your site don’t have the rel=“nofollow” tag attached to them. Where possible, try to contact the webmaster with the actual code(including anchor text) of the link you are asking for.

Finally, any pages on your website which you do not want to rank for a particular reason should be nofollowed i.e. privacy information, terms and conditions etc. You’d want only the good stuff to be showing up in the search engines. Do take note however, that no-following a link does not guarantee its exclusion from the Google index especially if another website links to it.

This article was first pubished in Startupsmart – Following the No-Follow Rule


How to write Title Tags for Search Engines and Humans

Search engines determine a website’s relevance to a search query according to on-page (internal factors) and off-site (external factors) signals.

Today we will look at title tags, which are arguably one of the most important on-page factors to work on. They can potentially affect rankings with immediate effect.

When writing title tags, you must ensure that all relevant keywords to the page that you are describing are contained in the title tag. You can find relevant keywords to the subject matter of the page by using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool.

It’s optimum practice to use no more than two or three keywords or one or two key phrases (two or three words per phrase) in a title tag. For more competitive keywords, it’s also better to put them closer to the front (left-hand side).

In writing your title tags, you need to bear the user in mind. As titles will show up in the search results, the number of people clicking through to your website will be determined by how relevant and human-readable these titles are. Poor title tags which are less appealing to the user’s search intent may lose clicks to listings that are lower in rankings.

When possible, title tags should be formed with a good flow and connection between the keywords, like in a sentence. If this is not possible, such as in cases where keywords/key phrases are very long, you just need to ensure that the title tag appears in a meaningful and aesthetically appealing way in the search results.

Title tags in search results will also be truncated after they exceed 70 characters, so it is best practice to ensure all important bits or the entire title tag is within 70 characters. It is also good practice to include your company/website name at the front or at the back of the title tag on all pages as a branding exercise and to help the user associate the page to the brand.

Example of a keyword stuffed title tag: “telescopes – binoculars – OzScopes Australian shop”

A better, human readable, search engine friendly, title tag for the above would be: “Telescopes & Binoculars by the Australian Telescope Experts | OZScopes”

This article was first published as part of an SEO for startups column in – an affiliate of You can find the original article entitled – Why is SEO Important? there.


Why is SEO Important to Startup Businesses?

So you’ve got your website set up or are thinking of launching it and you’ve heard of this thing called search engine optimisation (SEO).

You’re wondering what exactly it is and how relevant it is to your business. You know traffic is important and that more and more people are taking their search for information online. But all you have to do is build your website and people will come, right? Well, not quite.

What is SEO?

SEO is the active process of optimising a website in order to increase traffic directed to the site from search engines by improving on-site and off-site components.

Understanding SEO means familiarising yourself with the many unique elements that a search engine takes into consideration in deciding how sites should rank in its database.

Why is SEO important?

Search engines are where people are finding everything.

More than two billion searches are performed on Google worldwide every day. The majority of web traffic is driven by major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo! In Australia, Google dominates an estimated 94% of all search traffic. If the search engines can’t find your site or if your content cannot be put into their databases (commonly known as the index), you are losing out on customers who are actually looking for services and products that you may have.

This becomes increasingly important as more and more people take their quest for information online. To ‘Google something’ has become a synonym to finding stuff on the internet in today’s culture and language.

It’s all about relevance.

Traditional marketing talks in terms of ‘push and pull’ marketing such as expensive billboards, newspaper ads, radio and television. These channels are usually untargeted and hit-and-miss, making it hard to measure the true effectiveness of the campaign. Search marketing allows businesses to target only users that are actually looking for your services and products. When someone performs a search query on Google, which are the words that users type into the search box, the purpose of the search engine is to return the most relevant search results towards the intent of the user’s search. SEO positions you in front of those people who are looking specifically for a product or service that you have.

Measurable, Targeted and Relevant to the user = High ROI

Traffic that comes from highly relevant search terms have shown to provide companies with strong leads, and subsequently revenue like no other marketing avenue. A smart investment in SEO, whether through time or money, is known to produce an extraordinary return on investment compared to traditional marketing channels. This is because almost every metric can be tested and refined. Traffic data and market size can be easily evaluated to ensure that you are only investing in SEO for the terms that actually have a large enough market of potential customers to pursue.

If you’re not doing it, you can bet your competitors are!

Businesses are beginning to realise how important it is to devote resources towards SEO. While you are wondering whether it’s worth the time or money, your competitors are already playing the game and learning the tricks of the trade. Due to the way Google determines a page’s authority and importance, if you have SEO tightly integrated into your business strategy earlier on, you are going to have a clear advantage over your late blooming competitors.

50% of all our own traffic comes through SEO

OZHut’s own investment in SEO is a major player in the growth we’ve seen in the last two years of our business. Today, more than 50% of our traffic comes through the results that SEO has generated in the organic search channel of the major search engines. Would we be able to justify the amount of time and money spent to drive this much traffic? Yes, yes and another resounding yes. Of all our marketing channels, SEO has singlehandedly outperformed all other streams in terms of ROI.

Okay, I get it. So what must we do?

The trend that we see with Google’s latest changes is that Micro Businesses and Startups are being given more opportunities to position themselves well. The challenges faced by larger corporations is the silo-ing of its many divisions and functions from the ‘SEO team’. With smaller companies, the ability to tightly integrate SEO in all areas of customer service, marketing and sales, even logistics, means that startups can put up a good fight in the online world of search. In subsequent articles, we’ll be going further in-depth into more technical aspects of SEO and hopefully empower you to carry out some solid SEO yourself, or at least learn to be more informed and wise in choosing SEO firms to partner with.

This article was first published as part of an SEO for startups column in – an affiliate of You can find the original article entitled – Why is SEO Important? there.

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