The Year in Search – 2012 Round Up

The Year in Search – 2012 Round Up

20th December 2012

As we’re fast approaching the end of 2012 I thought it might be interesting to review the year.

Here’s a month by month round up of what stood out for me.




January 2012


Whilst we were struggling to get over our NYE hangovers, Google appear to violate their own guidelines with sponsored posts to promote Google Chrome. They later claim they didn’t do it for links and penalise themselves. Awkward.

Coca Cola go big on content marketing.

Google launch ‘search plus your world’ –  I throw up in my own mouth a little bit. Others, who are clearly more grown up than me, quite rightly highlight that Google are pushing Google+ over more relevant results.

Yet more bad press and Bas wonders if Google are in danger of killing themselves.

Google algorithmic updates come in quick succession – Panda 3.2 & ”Top Heavy’ Page Layout.

Happily SOPA gets shelved.

We eagerly await the launch of WireDoo.

SEO is dead.

February 2012


SEOmoz launch the Google Algorithm change history which proves increasingly useful as the year goes on 🙂

Speaking of Google algorithm updates; the Venice update localised organic results on broad search queries & Google confirm Panda 3.3. support for video is launched.

We continue to wait for the launch of WireDoo.

SEO is dead.

March 2012

Dollar Shave Club

We spend most of the month singing “I know karate, I know jujitsu, drive like a gangsta when I’m coming to see you…” thanks to this.

Google issue ‘unnatural links’ warnings via Webmaster Tools and include a plea to tell them where and how you got your links. Later in the month they issue a concerted attack on blog networks. At SXSW Matt Cutts announces that an update targeting over seo-ed sites is on the way and Panda 3.4 rolls out.

We wonder if WireDoo was just an elaborate hoax and briefly consider unfollowing MC Hammer.

SEO is dead.

April 2012


This particular ear maggot takes hold and we frequently find ourselves singing it at inopportune moments.

Panda 3.5 & 3.6 roll out & Matt Cutts makes good on his promise to target over seo-ed sites with the launch of Penguin.

Meanwhile Bing announce a video update thing… virtually no one notices.

We are losing faith in both WireDoo and McHammer’s harem pants.

SEO is dead.

May 2012


The Facebook IPO was either a disaster or brilliant disaster depending on your point of view.

Google release the knowledge graphGoogle+ Local & Penguin 1.1 rolls out.

Someone mentions WireDoo in the office. We look at them blankly and return to our work.

SEO is dead.

June 2012


Bing Webmaster Tools announce new features and somewhat confusingly launch a link disavow tool.

Google announce paid inclusion for Google Products. Panda 3.7 and 3.8 roll out. Dr Pete spots a Bigfoot. Google finally take a stance on Mobile SEO and Google Adwords launch a mute this ad feature.

Bas helps us make sense of Cookie Legislation.

I am tickled pick by Kogan’s IE 7 tax.

No one talks about WireDoo. Not because the first rule of WireDoo is:  You do not talk about WireDoo. Or even because the second rule of WireDoo is: You do not talk about WireDoo. It’s just because we’ve forgotten it was ever a possibility.

SEO is dead.

July 2012


Google continued their campaign against links they see as manipulative. In a bizarre series of events they rolled out an alert from Webmaster Central that saw large numbers of websites receive scary looking warnings about unnatural link profiles. Hot on the heels of this first warning they rolled out an updated warning for most sites saying that they had identified individual poor quality links and would be taking action to devalue those links rather than penalise the site as a whole. Panda 3.9 rolls out.

Dr Pete launches MozCast which tracks fluctuations in Google rankings.

Marissa Mayer departs Google to become CEO of Yahoo.

SEO is dead.

August 2012


Our own mayor of London, Boris Johnson gets stuck on a zip wire and a meme is born.

PSY (who cites drinking as his main hobby) brings us galloping invisible horse dancing.

Bic launch a pen just for women. It is not well received.

Matt Cutts says you shouldn’t put a lot of weight on +1s just yet at SES San Francisco.

Google announce their plans to start penalsing sites with repeated copyright violations and Panda 3.9.1 rolls out. Pierre Far runs a Webmastercentral Hangout about multinational and multilingual sites.

Pete Handley shares his story of implementing hreflang and shares a tool to help implement hreflang via sitemaps.

Dr Pete does some analysis on 7 result SERPs and reduced domain diversity.

SEO is dead.

September 2012


Google roll out Panda 3.9.2, and on the same day(!) Panda 20 and the EMD update. They also launch ‘bacon number’ functionality ruining all future games of  Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Zuckerberg talks about Facebook doing search at TechCrunch Disrupt.

Bing started the “Bing It On Challenge” claiming “people preferred Bing web search results nearly 2:1 over Google in blind comparison tests.”

#WaitroseReasons *giggles*

SEO is dead.

October 2012

Red Bull Stratos

Google launch Google Tag Manager and a Link Disavow tool.

Penguin 3 and ‘TopHeavy’ Page Layout 2 rolls out.

Mitt Romney is completely wrong according to Google image search, and his ‘binders full of women’ gaffe spawns a meme.

A New York Times article looks into a sting operation conducted by Yelp, which looked to try to identify businesses buying reviews.

Felix Baumgartner jumps from space to the earth. Craziness knows no bounds.

Bodyform respond to a Facebook post and win the internet.

SEO is dead.

November 2012

Google Bug

A Google Webmaster Tools bug sees previously revoked accounts re-verified.

Panda 21 and 22 roll out.

Bing launch Webmaster Guidelines.

Obama wins the US Presidential elections.

My kind of poetry.

SEO is dead.

December 2012

Lego Christmas

Google roll out the knowledge graph to Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian, and Italian speakers.

Google launch Zeitgeist 2012.

Yahoo introduce cost per lead search ads which sit just under a site’s organic listings.

When putting together this blog post the memories of the promise of WireDoo come flooding back. I resolve to write to Santa and ask him to bring us WireDoo for Christmas.

SEO is dead.


And so dear readers over to you – what stood out for you in 2012?



Image credits

Hangover, Venice, Dollar Shave Club, Penguin, Facebook, Panda, Links, PSY, Bacon, Red Bull Stratos, Google Bug, Lego Christmas, 2012.


Written By
Hannah Smith is an SEO Consultant working for Distilled in their London office. She manages technical, link building and content campaigns for clients across a range verticals in addition to managing one of the internal SEO teams at Distilled.
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