It’s fun to sit back from time to time and take a look at how things on the web are changing. Like the hardware we use every day, the software changes very quickly. As it relates to SEO, Google is leading the way in finding new strategies for delivering relevant content to its users. The following are some SEO trends for 2013 I’ve noticed, and where I think webmasters should be focusing their efforts.
When search first started becoming very popular, and even up until a few years ago, there were a handful of simple tactics that you could use to get a page to rank well in search. First it was jamming the right keywords on the page and then it was about having any kind of inbound link. Even recently, performing on-page tactics and submitting your site to WMT was a good start. I think in the near future, however, webmasters will have to rely on a holistic approach and a plan to deliver high quality content in order to show up on the radar.
This means more than just having long blog posts or interesting and well-designed web pages. I’m talking about in-depth, well researched and incredibly useful content of the caliber found on professional media company websites and mainstream channels. As Google seeks to use human signals as its ranking method, webmasters will have to work harder and longer to delight people.
Web site owners, brands and individuals that want to get found in search would do well to set up a profile on Google Plus and start being active on it. Google isn’t just a search company anymore, and many of their products are tied into it. When logged in, at least a few search results being shown to me are from people in my network who have interacted with content that is similar to what I’m looking for.
These are results that may not have otherwise shown up in search but they did because Google thinks if people I know thought something was relevant enough to interact with, I might too. If you aren’t active on Google Plus, you would do well to start, as it will greatly increase your visibility in search to people who may be logged into one or more of Google’s services.
A recent post from Moz shows striking correlations between interaction with content on Google Plus and high rankings in search.
It used to be that creating a bunch of web 2.0 blogs, submitting URLs to bookmarking sites and creating business listings among other tactics were all that was needed for a sound linking strategy. With each new Google Algorithm update, these tactics are becoming less and less effective, if not obsolete. I think linking will remain a part of what search engines use to gauge the popularity of a website, but the links will be more closely scrutinized. Webmasters will have to come up with more creative ways to make inbound links so that their overall profile looks natural.
For example, guest posting will have to be much higher quality than just using a service or exchanging some links with passive acquaintances. For that strategy to work well, SEOs will have to develop actual business relationships with the people who they want linking to them and vise versa. I don’t think people will get penalized for doing less often, but it will definitely be a waste of time.
Greater Attention to Detail
I love the saying “the devil is in the details” because it’s so true. The smallest things that are overlooked tend to be the things that make problems in the future. There are webmaster videos being produced by Google talking about simple things like canonicalization, the rel=”nofollow” tag and when to use it, file extensions on images and pages and other small factors like that.
As professionals, we are always looking for the big thing that is going to produce results for clients. That one strategy where lead generation will explode or conversions will go through the roof. It’s always a good idea to look for those things, but we can’t forget the basics. Forgetting a little thing here or there probably won’t matter much, but if webmasters are ignoring the details in total, their sites will suffer.
What SEO trends for 2013 do you see affecting your business and your marketing efforts as we approach the end of the year and move into 2014? Let us know by dropping a line or leaving a comment below.