Online marketers have encountered some new challenges over the past year that have drastically altered the way that Internet marketing strategies are developed and subsequently deployed. With Google's release of both the Panda and Penguin updates, search engine optimizers have essentially been forced to design smarter campaigns which emphasize quality content and backlinks, rather than merely quantity.

Although search engines do take the volume of content available on pages and the total number of links pointing to them into account when determining rankings, quality is now Google's biggest concern. Spun articles, keyword stuffing and link schemes are now being specifically targeted by the Google algorithm and these are no longer viable tools for Internet marketing companies to utilize.

2012 has already proven to be an interesting year for search engine optimization and search engine marketing and many more changes still lie ahead. Further development of the Penguin Update is one of Google's primary objectives and the reduction of webspam in the SERPs is an increasingly important goal for the company. Online business owners and SEOs will continue to see organic rankings shift in the months to come and will need to create relevant, original content and build high-quality links in order to remain visible in search results. At the end of this year, it is likely that online marketers will look back on 2012 as the beginning of the end of spam in the SERPs and as the start of a new era in Internet marketing.