This is part of the 2012 Digital Marketing Trends Series. We have collected opinions from some of the leading experts and practitioners on the hot Search Marketing trends to look out for in 2012, which we hope will provide you with food for thought for your Search Marketing activities next year.


Search Marketing Trends 2012

Matthew Oxley, Head of Search at Gravytrain
quoteWe feel the key SEO trends in 2012 will fringe around social media, especially the themes of shareability and “brand recognition”.

We believe engines will attempt to use Social in a different way next year, with social shares (for instance on Google+ as well as Twitter) becoming an increasingly key part of the search algorithm. Google have been trying to recognise the impact of Social for some time, and the integration of these signals into their search algorithm has been very gradual. We expect this to change next year, with Google putting an increasing emphasis on these signals. To combat manipulation, the engines will probably have to use indicators around both the authority and authenticity of social profiles in a similar way to how pagerank is applied to links.

A second related theme that we expect to see is the rise in search engines attempting to measure “Brands” through the social sphere. Similar to the “vince” update in 2009, we’d not be surprised to see an implementation similar to this using social signals to determine brand recognition.

The bottom line is, for any brand that wants to do well in search next year and beyond, they need to get social. closed quote


Chris Brake, Director of Next Generation Products for Yell
Chris Brake
This year has seen significant change and a number of new developments in search and we expect even more throughout 2012. There are a number of areas which marketers should focus on in the coming months:

Mobile Search
Mobile search usage continues to grow and is an area that requires its own strategy and budget. In order to take advantage of this growth, search engines have developed mobile specific ad formats, results pages and PPC features such as click to call ads.

Local Search
Local search, especially on mobile is on the increase. Search engines have got smarter at identifying searches with local intent and are tailoring their search results accordingly – Google Places is now more integrated into the search results and in many cases requires as much optimisation work as your website.

Organic Search
This year Google introduced its ‘Panda’ update in order to flush out sites with poor quality content. We can expect to see the focus on quality content and links to continue next year with poor quality sites and link farms being penalised.

Multichannel/Universal Search
Search results pages are including an increasing amount of varied content – Maps, location information, site links, product results, click to call, reviews, videos, images, etc.  Linking relevant Organic (SEO, Google Places), Paid (AdWords) and Social (Google +) content will become increasingly important in order to improve the quality and relevance of results.


Kelvin Newman, Creative Director at SiteVisibilityKelvin Newman, Creative Director at SiteVisibility
quoteIt’s a tricky business predicting the future, rife with potential banana skins, but I think one big trend to look out for is Google playing hardball. I think they are growing up and rather than just playing nice and they’re starting to throw their weight around to take on Facebook and Apple. We’ve seen indications like the introduction of https to logged-in users which makes it harder for SEO companies to track their performance. It’s a small step that only slightly undermines SEO but gently nudges people to spend their marketing budget on PPC rather than SEO. Combine this with development like the ability to search for hotels’ availability within search results, their credit card comparison service, etc. and you can see they’re getting more aggressive.

I’m also expecting an increase in the sophistication of Facebook marketing. Too much attention seems to be on ‘collecting likes’ as the most important measure of success, anyone with an understanding of Facebook’s Edgerank Algorithm you’ll get a lot more attention and action from a small number of very engaged fans than a much bigger group with weaker ties. We always knew this but the ease of measuring ‘likes’ distracted usclosed quote.


Duncan Parry, Co-Founder and Head of Paid Search at Steak Digital
 Duncan Parry, the co-founder and Head of Paid Search at Steak Digital
Integrating search and social will become a core, crucial activity as social data is increasingly used in natural search algorithms. Marketers need to ensure their social and search strategies complement; generating mentions and followers/Likes, as well as inbound links. Sharing buttons need to be built into sites, emails, apps and factored into offline campaigns as standard – not as an afterthought.

Mobiles and tablets will continue to grow; whilst some marketers still try to figure out what mobile and tablet presence they need, those at the cutting edge will define how to quantify the footfall search, including mobile and local, drives from web to store – and vice versa.

Once quantified, efforts that drive footfall will become a focus for optimisation and dedicated funding; expect offline store promotion budgets to start contributing to this. We’re already seeing this in the US.

Content strategy will also move centre stage – fresh, unique, engaging content can assist search campaigns, social activity, conversion rates, PR and customer loyalty – and Google recently adjusted their algorithm in this direction. If search, social, display and design are the building blocks of a successful digital presence then content, more than ever, will be the glue between them in 2012.


Tina JudicTina Judic, Managing Director at Found
quote2012 is going to be another fascinating year in the world of digital; from search to social we’re going to experience evolution at a fast pace. The established channel of search will still experience some twists and turns, with social starting to have a greater impact on search results from influence through to customer targeting segmentation.

With the array of tools and extensions available to us through the search engines, I fully expect to see click through rates continue to rise, thanks to the volume and richness of data we’re now able to capture. However, this will no doubt lead to an increase in CPC’s, especially CPC’s with ‘local intent’. Good quality content will continue to reign supreme; through social platforms, everyone can now play the role of the journalist. 2012 will see companies start to leverage this role more strategically.

As Google accounts and +1 grows, Adwords will allow advertisers to target search to exact demographic & behavioural data, utilising the great aspects of social as a driver within search results. In turn, social media content from +1, Facebook Likes and Tweets will further impact indexed search results.

Companies are starting to crack the social formula – we’ll see companies more accurately gauging social media user activity alongside more clever collaborations between companies utilising the increasing open data sets and API’s to facilitate greater action amidst the social noise, such as hyperlocal services.

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Download our full free Digital Marketing Trends 2012 Report.

Sandeep Vadgama

Sandeep Vadgama


Editor at Fourth Source and Tech Enthusiast!