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This month I reached my official one year tenure as an employee of SEO.com. During the past year, there have been many notable and industry changing events, so much that I could go on for pages and pages. I have chosen 7 that have affected me and those around me. Included is a little flavor of what it is like working for a great SEO industry-leading company like SEO.com.

1. Google Plus

Launched in June of 2011, this is Google’s hand at a social networking site. Due to the fact that they do not have access to Facebook data nor the ability to crawl Facebook user profiles, it was time they created their own social network. With the launch of their network, first in beta, followed soon after by opening G+ to the public, they quickly went from 0 to hero and hit 50 million users in 88 days.

Some of the features within their network include: Circles, hangouts, messenger, ripples, stream, and instant upload for photos. I personally enjoy using Google+ and love the instant upload feature. Another thing I enjoy is being able to filter which content is in my stream based on categories I create and place people in.

Key takeaway: If you are not on Google+ yet, you are missing the boat!

2. Google + Business Pages

If your business is not on Google+ for business pages, then you are missing out on a huge opportunity to help your business establish credibility. In November, Google rolled out G+ business pages to allow businesses to give an identity to their local business or place, product or brand, company or institution. For an example of a G+ business page, look at SEO.com on Google Plus.

The Google+ business page you create for your business or for your client’s business is very similar to the concept of a Facebook page for your business. Similar to a Facebook user “liking” your page/brand, users can +1 your G+ page/brand. Social sharing and brand interaction has an effect on the personalized search results of everyone that you are friends with on the web. Ex: Facebook, Twitter, Google Friend Connect, etc.

Key takeaway: Get your business on G+. Link it to your website. Link it to your other social profiles on the web. Build your online identity in every way you can.

3. Google Panda Update

How can we begin to talk about the seo and search marketing industry without talking about the Panda Update? Google launched a new algorithm update, called the ‘Panda’ Update, named after engineer Navneet Panda. This heavily affected many sites that had low quality content.

This update seemed to focus more on an entire site and how the entire site ranks, versus individual pages or sections of the site. This update caused an uproar in the SEO community. Many SEOs were scrambling to help their clients recover from this unexpected blow.

Key takeaway: As the Google search algorithm continues to evolve, I feel it will continually move towards the overall user experience of a website and try to rank and sort websites based more heavily on user experience factors.

4. SEO.com Named #1 Top Search Marketing Agency by Website Magazine

Website Magazine published a post listing the Top 50 Search Marketing Agencies, and SEO.com came in at #1. While working here and serving clients, I have gained an appreciation for understanding a client niche, constantly testing for results, and being open to changing your ways and processes in order to compete in this competitive industry. Additionally, I am very impressed at the array of various SEM services that we are able to offer our clients.

Key takeaway: We work in a competitive industry. Spend the time to understand your client’s business, try to view the campaign through their eyes and their shoes once in awhile, and lastly continually adapt your processes to the changing landscape to stay out in front.

5. Pubcon Vegas 2011

Vegas, Baby, Vegas!!! Need I say more? This was my first time at Pubcon, which is the largest annual gathering of search and social media industry leaders in the world. Pubcon Vegas was such a fun experience, and I was flooded with practical and tactical information I can use to help my clients.

Pubcon Vegas 2011 SEO.com Panda Shirts

Some of the highlights for me included meeting some of the big dogs in the industry, including Tim Ash of SiteTuners, Tom Critchlow of Distilled, Matt Cutts of Google, and Arienne Holland of Raven Internet Marketing Tools. In addition to that, it was a blast hanging out with my fellow SEO.com associates and soaking in all of the expertise and theory from fellow search marketers and social media pioneers.

Key takeaway: Our industry is constantly changing, so always test theories and recognize the power of social search influence this coming year.

6. Google Freshness Update

Google found a way to make fresh content rank better for search terms. Although the rankings are not in chronological order of when the content was posted, the update is helping fresh content rank. This means good and bad news for us SEOs.

The good is that with positive content we can get relevant pages to rank quickly and get traffic which can equal revenue for our clients. The bad news is that, if there is any negative publicity about our clients, the news will rank quickly and if socially shared will ‘naturally’ stay in the top rankings for awhile.

Key takeaway: If your client has a blog, get them to blog! If they don’t have a blog, get them a blog! Get ‘fresh’ on the internet!

7. SEO.com Christmas Party

Wrapping up a phenomenal year of business and celebrating our successes and camaraderie as a company, we had our Casino Royale 007 Company Christmas Party. We were served prime rib and chicken cordon bleu followed by hours of fake money poker games. We were in a rented venue, and it was a night to remember. To end the night we had a raffle drawing and had prize giveaways including gift cards to Subway, Wal-Mart, Visa, Amazon, as well as an iPad 2, PS3, and a 42″ flat screen TV.

Key takeaway: We had a great year and are all looking forward to a fantastic year in 2012!!
SEO.com 2011 Christmas Party