What did 2012 have that 2011 did not? More animals (read Penguins and Pandas) changing the rules of the SEO4 Strategies For Success with Pinterest. Read more … » jungle! The SEO services world has always been a dynamic one where the rules of the game change every year. 2012 has perhaps been more dynamic than the last one. Now, that we are in the middle of the year, it’s a good time to look back at the changes and formulate effective SEO strategies for the rest of the year.

One of the biggest developments of 2012 is most definitely the increased clout of social media in SEO. With Pinterest4 Strategies For Success with Pinterest. Read more … » becoming a phenomenon on its own and G+ recommendations changing the game in terms of personalized results, social media’s power is here to stay (and grow).

As of 2012, SEO is not the only way to ensure searchability of your website; your ranking also depends on your visibility across numerous social media platforms like Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.

So, here’s a list of the top 3 SEO and Social Marketing strategies for 2012 that will help you create an effective online marketing strategy:

#1. Start with an assessment

Check the extent of optimization of your site’s title and meta tags and the density of keywords used throughout your website. Such an audit can also reveal your site’s efficiency in correlating pages with the help of keywords, its load speed, and the existence of HTML and XML sitemaps that Google can crawl through.

#2. Make Your Site Social Media Friendly

Only incorporating buttons or social sharing widgets on your website, won’t help you generate social signals.

Your content must be social media friendly too. Incorporating the following key elements will give you a push in the right direction:

  • Add interesting and eye-catching pictures to optimize content for Pinterest.
  • Address newsy and/or debatable topics through your blog posts. Such topics have better chances of featuring in social media discussions.
  • Don’t just focus on written blogs, create video and audio blogs to benefit from all forms of social sharing.
  • To gain maximum SEO benefit from your socially shared content, make sure your headline incorporates one of your targeted keywords and is short, sweet, and catchy. Using the numbered list option in your headline is an effective attention grabbing strategy. For instance, let’s say one of your targeted keywords is, ‘cakes and cookies’, your headline about a cakes and cookies recipe blog could be, ‘Top 3 yummy cakes and cookies recipes for children’.

#3. Host Guest Blogs

Guest blogging is perhaps one of the most talked about strategies of 2012. From a SEO and social media point of view, it’s a win-win strategy for everyone involved. While posting blogs on quality sites in your niche area can help you gather valuable link juice and attract targeted traffic; hosting guest blogs is a great strategy for improving your site’s user experience and improving your social media presence.

Here’s how it works. You publish a blog from an author that works in an associated niche area and add a link to their website. The author would then bookmark the blog to his/her social networks as getting the post visibility and good search engine rankings will help him/her as well. This means you’ll get more exposure and visibility in a network that may be interested in your niche. In addition to that, you’ll also get free and fresh high quality content for your website and thus improve the  user experience that your site offers.

However, there are certain points you must keep in mind to gain the maximum SEO benefit from hosting guest blogs:

  • Check the credentials of the author and his/her website. If you feel the guest poster’s site is low quality or one that you wouldn’t want to associate with, decline their post offer politely.
  • Don’t go over board with hosting guest blogs, unless of course you want to build a blog directory of sorts.
  • Only host content that you feel is high quality and will be of value to your user base.
  • This almost goes without saying, don’t host guest posts from direct competitors.

Contrary to what many believe SEO in 2012is not more difficult, it’s only more challenging and interesting. With these key strategies, you should be able to see a good ROI, as far as your site’s online marketing is concerned.