What a year it has been! Here at Digital State Marketing we have been looking at what the main changes are to SEO in 2012. From the Panda Updates & the introduction of ‘Penguin’ to the implementation of more Google rewards with many more changes in between that have helped and hindered websites boost their search marketing potential.

Mostly it was agreed that a major focus of these changes where to do with a sites reputation stemming from the credibility of its content, external links etc. The main reason this differs from the attempts in the last few years is that Google has become more effective in monitoring ‘bad behaviour’ and although previously have preferred not to notify domains directly via webmaster tools, the number of messages and warnings aimed at sites using artificial or unnatural links have increased immensely this year.

Although Panda was introduced way back in November 2011, with the aim to tackle websites that comprise of large amounts of what is described as ‘low quality’ content, since then it has been updated 13 times in an attempt to keep up with rogue sites. Of course the big addition this year was the introduction of Penguin back in April 2012, which was designed by Google to penalize websites using artificial links and in this sense has been very successful, coming back from a penalty like this can be long winded but the recommendation is to remove all irrelevant links no matter how old, to aid with this recovery process Google even provided us with a ‘link disavow tool’ which may be of use to some sites suffering the punishments, overall penguin has definitely thrown a spanner in the works and turned the world of search marketing on its head.

Search engines are constantly raising the stakes and introducing updates to improve their service, which is not always positive coming from the point of view of a search marketing company but theoretically it does mean that quality sites have more of a chance to get higher up in the rankings. The previously mentioned updates/ modifications this year have definitely changed the game from the crunch on artificial or low quality links, to the hit back against exact match domains this September, it has been challenging but we are sure Google has by no means finished with the major changes and are curious to see what is to come in 2013.