Not much, in my opinion.
With the end of the 2012 and the New Year beginning blogs around the Inter-webs have writing about how this year will be drastically different from previous ones. I myself wrote a predictions blog in the past. But this year something is different.
Maybe its me but I think we are seeing a lot of the same things that we saw many years ago, tags are important again (Schema tags, not meta tags), Google and the web has focused on broad keywords once more with the Venice update. For many years long tail was and is the rage because of the sheer amount of long terms people were using and the difficulty of breaking into a broad term. It seemed like spending time on broad keywords was a waste of time. Now with the Venice update, broad tail keywords which would only rank About and Wikipedia are now serving up useful, local, previously long tailing sites.
Another interesting shift is that content is king again! Okay, okay, so maybe content never really went away but for most people it was all about the links and content was on the back burner. For years it was link-mania with everyone buying, selling and making crappy links on obscure auto-generated blogs. You could get a handful of keyword stuffed links from the gutters of the web and your site would rank well. Today, not so much. With Negative SEO coming to light, the Google zoo going ape (pun, intended) and link disavow tools from Bing and Google links aren’t what they use to be. Now everyone is in love with content again.
And what about Social Media? It had to back peddle a little bit. Some very harsh articles and case studies came out in 2012 showing that a good following on Social Media doesn’t equate with a successful business and conversely pathetic (or no) social marketing doesn’t mean your business is going to fail even in competitive markets! Case studies are often anecdotal so we can’t make sweeping statements about SMM but it’s important to know what Facebooking will and will not do for your business. So the buzz over Social Media has died down a lot.
SEO is the leading form of Internet Marketing again… sort of. Some people still think of Search Engine Optimization is about throwing keywords all over your site. Yes, on-page optimization is still important, like it or not, but any strategy that helps to make your site prominent in search is SEO. Today with PPC getting more difficult and expensive, Social Media showing it’s sales power is less than stellar and business blogging is so common it barely gives you an edge, creating a quality, crawlable site and supporting web properties is still the best way to go.
Citations and reviews for local businesses; a living, connected web entity for large businesses; and a spider-friendly, current, linkable site for middle-sized businesses. Believe it or not these are central SEO strategies and they are not new.
The biggest change that I have seen is that people are now shying away from the term “SEO”. SEO has become synonymous with Black-hat SEO who are the used car salesman of web professionals. “Inbound Marketer”, “Internet Marketer” and “Digital Marketer” as titles are on the rise as us good guys try to distinguish ourselves from the comment spammers everyone. But regardless of what we call ourselves the intentions are still the same.
So in conclusion companies may merge, a new tool may come out, Google may change in new ways that’ll make marketers mad, but many things are going back to the way they were. Time isn’t always linear. Sometimes its cyclical.