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2012 has been a year of huge changes in terms of search engine algorithms and the way SEO is now looked upon by major search engines. SEOs have been on their toes as updates with cute-sounding names such as Panda and Penguin threaten to dislodge their rankings thanks to changes in their search criteria.The result was a rise and wane in several trends throughout 2012 that will spill over into the New Year and keep changing as other cute-sounding updates hit webmasters in coming times.

Mentioned below are a few Hot Trends in 2012…

Even though the Penguin update by Google impacted only around 3.1 percent of searches, SEOs quickly realized the importance of high quality content. Revised algorithms from Google placed more emphasis on quality content for improving SERP ranking and SEOs scrambled to update their skills and content. This trend will be followed with zest in the next year too.

Link Building strategies have undergone drastic changes in 2012 as links with merit have been rewarded by search engines. Combined with high quality content, link building has proved to reward webmasters and their clients with the latest algorithm updates. Google and Bing have also allowed SEOs to manually free their sites from bad links by way of the Link Disavow feature.

Several positive statistics related to SEOs revealed that natural search opportunities were provided a huge boost in 2012 and would certainly continue on to the next year. For instance 6 out of 10 marketers indicated that they planned to increase their SEO team in 2013. Online marketing budgets rose by a healthy 66 percent in 2012. Online advertisements related to jobs for SEOs rose by over 24 percent. In addition, 16 percent of companies now possess their own dedicated Search department.

The current year has seen a huge change in SERPs as compared to all other years of the internet. SEOs need to change their tactics to please revised search algorithms. This includes creating and inserting top quality content on social networks, exploiting the maximum out of the rel=author tag to display the author profile in content, and comprehending the impact of these updates to make sure that their website does not suffer adversely with any new update.

On the other hand, several Search Trends witnessed a wane in 2012 as search engines began ignoring their importance with each fresh update.

Mentioned below are a few trends that waned in 2012…

Most search engine updates began giving reduced importance to poor content, keyword stuffing, and bad linking practices. In fact, newer search engine updates began punishing websites that followed such practices. Webmasters mumbled and grumbled, but were forced to change their SEO habits to comply with the wishes of major search engine updates.

Google also unleashed havoc when it released its encrypted search that delivered the [Not Provided] message to most webmasters in their Google Analytics reports. Webmasters were livid at losing their precious keyword data, but with Google standing firm, they ended up replacing around 24 percent of their organic search traffic.

Webmasters and web owners that indulged in a spree of link building exercises without a care in the world also had to rethink their strategy as Google came down hard on bad linking practices. They began paying heed to good quality links that managed to earn revenues rather than merely racing to insert the maximum number of links.

Again, while the entire globe went gaga over mobile search traffic, it turned out that mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets only constitute around 11 percent of organic search traffic. SEOs need to ignore the hype and focus on improving content for mobile search at their own pace rather than getting flustered and making errors in implementing their marketing strategies for mobile devices.

SEOs have also realized the dwindling importance of exact match anchor text with each new update in 2012. They have now focused their attention on scaling keywords and the next year will bear the results of their efforts.

2012 has indeed been an eye-opening year for SEOs as they scrambled to remain one step ahead of confusing search engine updates. However, by the end of the year, most of them seem to have got their act together after identifying hot and waning trends and 2013 should see them implementing new strategies to take advantage of hidden opportunities from those search updates.

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