SEO Affiliate Marketing Affiliate ProgramsYesterday, we covered our predictions about what’s in store for affiliate marketers in 2012.

Today, we’re going to look at what 2012 will mean for SEO and the affiliate’s never-ending challenge of getting more and better traffic.

Here are the top search marketing trends to watch for in 2012:

1) More Panda

As you know, in 2011 we saw the rise of Google Panda and the search engine’s attempt to improve the quality of its search rankings. How are they going to top that in 2012? Our best guess is there will be more of the same. Google is going to continue to improve search results by punishing sites that rely on poor, duplicate or trivial content.

2) Personalization

Google has started personalizing search results based on a user’s browsing history. If you haven’t noticed that before, try logging out of your account and performing a few searches. The results will be quite different. While this makes life a little harder for affiliates and SEO consultants, it greatly improves search results for those people who just want more of the same to show up on their search engine results pages. On the other hand, those web users who enjoy Google’s “I’m feeling lucky” feature might find themselves a little bored at the redundancy.

3) We’re going mobile

Mobile was a big deal in 2011 and will be a bigger deal in 2012. Get ready to see some major shifts in online purchasing, as more and more users get comfortable with the idea of shopping on their phones and iPads. If you’re not paying attention to mobile now, you’d best make this one of your New Year’s resolutions.

If you need some focus for your mobile planning, check out this article from Search Engine Land, which discusses Google’s plans to create a unique crawler for smartphones and the possibility of greatly divergent results from mobile and desktop search.

4) Content, content and more content

We’ve said it before and we’re going to keep saying it. The future of good SEO will be less about numbers and links and more about content. Yes, you’re going to have to have links to your site, but they’re not going to do much for you without also having great content. Make sure you’re taking content seriously. If your affiliate sites rely on thin or scraped content, it’s time for a new strategy in 2012.

5) Social Media will just be media

If 2011 was the year that Social Media became part of mainstream SEO optimization, 2012 will be the year that Social Media will just be media. Having links and recommendations on social tools such as Digg, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn will be just as meaningful as having a great recommendation from a blog or website in your niche.

Also be sure to watch for a series of dramatically named webinars, such as “The Death of Social Media” or “How Google Ate Social Media for Breakfast” that detail the impact of this gradual evolution.

What do you think 2012 will mean for SEO and affiliate marketers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!