SEO has emerged from an embattled past to become one of the most popular and effective forms of commercial Internet marketing of our time, and it has done so rather quickly. Of course, quickness is expected in the Twitter age where “1 minute ago” is already “late to the party”.
SEO also had a big year in 2011. After the infamous Panda update turned the Internet on its head, the industry scrambled to change its procedures to keep up. The companies that survived would go on to have huge years, turning more profits than they had before.
So where will this growing industry go in 2012? It’s looking like it will focus its white-hot profit laser inward with B2B SEO.
Companies that operate in the B2B sphere are embracing SEO as a relatively low-cost, highly effective way to promote goods and services to other businesses that would enlist them. Take the rapid prototyping industry for example.
Prototyping offers businesses the opportunity to identify what problems may occur in the final product based on the prototype, and then bridge the gap between design and the real-world item. This is an almost exclusively B2B environment, and so companies that offer these services benefit greatly from SEO to increase the visibility of their services to manufacturers rather than individual consumers.
Other B2B companies are taking note and opening their doors to SEO as well, and with that opening comes a whole new sandbox for Internet marketers. Sometimes they even have to engage in a little friendly fire by helping other marketing companies raise their Internet profiles. As new techniques emerge and extant ones are refined, a path is cleared for consulting and strategy firms to make their services available to marketers, and what could be more appropriate than SEO?
You might call it fighting fire with fire. Marketing firms need clients, and to net clients their services need to be findable in the ever-expanding vastness of the Internet. SEO is the only real tool for the job.
All this points to a busy year in search engine optimization. The potential client pool is filling more rapidly with B2B companies willing to budget SEO in, creating a whole new sector within the industry for various SEO companies to take advantage of.
In the same breath, those SEO companies will likely have to stay fleet of foot in the face of this change. The optimization industry is know for being ever-changing due to the necessity of bending to every whim of search engines (generally) and Google (specifically). Until 2011, on-page techniques were the favored method of achieving rank. Panda has since increased the value of relevant content, and added other factors – social media, “Freshness”, etc. – to refine SERPs. And then there’s mobile.
Consumers spent $35.3 billion dollars this holiday season and resulted in the sale of more than 13 million tablets and smartphones. Mobile Internet is growing like weeds and consumers are an increasingly savvy bunch. They are searching on their tablets, phones, laptops and anything else with an Internet pulse, and optimizing for all these platforms will take on a new importance in 2012 for traditional B2C SEO and emergent B2B SEO.