As we begin a new year, it’s time to consider what most experts agree will be the top SEO trends of 2012. The reason these trends are so important is simple, other SEO firms will be using these tactics, and failure to do so for your own websites could leave you well behind your competition.

While Google and other search engines change their algorithm on a continual basis, these key trends are pretty safe bets. By focusing on these elements as you plan your 2012 Internet marketing campaign, you can ensure that your site is performing at its best and has a strong foundation that can weather any storms that may be thrown at us in the new year.

Social Media is Merging With Search

With Google launching its very own social media platform, it would be naïve to assume that social media will not have a much larger impact on search engine rankings in the coming years. Get ahead of the game, and make sure your business has a Google+ presence now, or you might be scrambling after its too late.

Reputation Management

Reputation and review sites have the power of their user base to help boost their search engine rankings. This is great for them, and not so good for you if you have negative reviews posted about your business or services. When you consider that 90% of people trust online reviews and over 78% people will search a product or company online before spending money, you simply cannot afford not to pay attention to your online reputation. Encourage customers to leave positive reviews now, before one bad egg ruins your marketing efforts.

Mobile Accessibility

Let’s face it. Who doesn’t own a smart phone these days? Your potential customers could be using their smart phones right now to look for your product or service, and if your website isn’t mobile friendly they could be driving right to your competition. In addition to how your site functions on a mobile device, you also need to consider ramping up your SEO for mobile search.

Video Content

The search engines are getting better at indexing video, and as a result more and more people are turning to video how-to’s or expert videos to find answers to their questions. Research shows that customers exposed to videos are significantly more likely to trust the brand or expert, thus increasing both revenue and loyalty.