With the new year upon us, many people are breathing a sigh of relief that 2011 is over. The shaky economy and worries over the European debt crisis undoubtedly have many businesses concerned about what 2012 will bring. Indeed, many are predicting that this upcoming year may well be a trying one, but fear not! With a little planning and foresight, you can be assured that your SEO efforts will not only survive this year, but flourish. Here’s how to do it.

Make an Assessment of 2011

What worked? What didn’t? SEO is a tricky thing, especially with Google’s ever-changing algorithms. 2011 was especially difficult because of Google Panda, which essentially allows Google to read at a 10th-grade level, and therefore differentiate between quality content and spam; and Google Fresh, which rewards websites with current, fresh content.

If your site was penalized by Google, or if you have not gotten the traffic that you had hoped for when implementing whatever SEP strategy that you have in place, then it may well be because your content needs to be revised. Is it well-written and are any keywords used relevant to the surrounding text? Is your page easy to navigate, and do all of your links work? Is your content up-to-date, and do you change it to keep up with the times? All of these are questions to ask when considering your successes and failures of 2011.

Make a Plan for 2012

Be sure to set clear goals that you know you will be able to achieve. If you set the bar too high, then there is a chance that you will lose momentum once you realize that you are unable to do what you set out to do. Instead, be realistic but also think proactively, and try to devise an SEO campaign management strategy that will be tailored to the specific needs of your business.

For many, this includes hiring outside companies to help whip your business into shape. If you tried your hand at SEO last year and were unsatisfied with the results, then it may be time to call in the professionals. If, however, you are more of a do-it-yourself kind of person, you can find tons of SEO tips on the Internet.

Be as thorough as you can be while planning for this upcoming year. The more detailed your plan is, the more likely you are to stick to it, and the less likely you will be to encounter unexpected problems. Try to take anything and everything into account, and think about how you can implement your plan as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Make Your Plan a Reality

Be very strict with yourself when you start implementing your plan for 2012. If you have specific requirements that you have set for yourself, then don’t skimp on them. If you do, this will set a dangerous trend for the rest of the year and will make all of your planning pretty much useless. Suffice it to say that having a “fly by the seat of your pants” attitude will not work with SEO, particularly during difficult economic times when businesses are vying with each other for every dollar.

Hopefully, you have created a realistic, doable plan that will gradually unfold throughout the year. Don’t try to cram everything in all at once, because it is more likely that you will either skimp on details in order to get everything done quickly, or you will put all of your proverbial eggs into one basket, only to be caught by surprise the next time that Google changes things up.

Instead, allow your plan to unfold for the first three months (or so) of the year, and keep an eye on the effect that your SEO strategy is having on your overall business. If you see that something is ineffectual, change it. If you see that something is wildly successful, find a way to carry that success into other aspects of your marketing. Just remember that SEO—and marketing in general—isn’t something that will have an immediate effect on your business, and be prepared to be patient.

With proper planning and a reasonable amount of knowledge about SEO and marketing, you will continue to see your business grow throughout 2012. While your counterparts are stressing out over why they don’t have the amount of business that they want, you will be able to rest secure in the knowledge that you have this year in the bag. Happy new year, and best of luck!

Joseph Baker
– Questions? Comments? Email us at blog at ppcassociates dot com.

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