SEO: Updates and Predictions for 2013

Welcome to my annual posting of new trends, changes and predictions occurring within the SEO industry. Now to be fair, my data is collected, compiled, evaluated and re-processed to bring you the most up to date trends and concerns within the SEO industry. As a process, I believe the best bet is to collect the best opinions and rumors reported from multiple sources, so that I can stay a bit more comprehensive from a collective perspective. The following are suggestions and “gut” instinct trends to expect in 2013

In reflection, we need to point out 2 of the biggest changes that occurred last year on the Google end of things. These updates pretty much changed the playing field for SEO professionals:

Google major updates from 2012 to keep aware of:

PANDA:
targeted low quality sites who had depended on link building tactics as their business model.
(such as article marketing sites) – this change has effected smaller micro-sites that are used to push link value back to hub sites.

PENGUIN:
targeted over-optimized websites, too much keyword-based anchor text
also sites involved in link building schemes

(aka – Scraped content, spun articles and artificial link profiles )

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I also want to mention a new tool that popped up. I’ve listed some notes for those who want a quick overview:

Update:

New Google Tool
tool that enables you to disavow links to your site
(clean up spammy backlinks that are low quality or unnunatural links notification / warning)
(ex: disallow p*rn sites, etc)
Disavow links page:
http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main

Q: Will most sites need to use this tool?
A: No. The vast, vast majority of sites do not need to use this tool in any way. If you’re not sure what the tool does or whether you need to use it, you probably shouldn’t use it. (Google statement)

Can takes week to clear bad links

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Ok moving on, we have the collective of upcoming trends / predictions. Some of this might seem redundant however it is important to note what is changing and what may not

Updates / Predictions:  SEO for 2013

1- There has been a crackdown on low-quality Exact Match Domains (EMDs), Small sites
(see PANDA) – This Google change continues to evolve suggesting that small link bait sites are becoming a thing of the past as an SEO tool.  The important thing to note is that it “should” reduce those 1000’s of spam sites influencing the rankings.

2- Natural Anchor Text – Diversify | make natural | don’t obsess over it!
A takeaway suggestion in regards to over-optimizing your pages with inner links. A natural order in this case is your best bet.

3- Build Value in your product (rather than using all shortcuts in your product)
(focused on building a brand for the future – long term)
This should be a given….less weight will be given to ONLY SEO optimized sites. A return to the old rule school of creating great prodcuts first.

Takeaway: Get more people talking about your product than you trying to convince them

4- More emphasis on video promotions (recommended)
YouTube and related is hot! – More folks are clamoring for video content. Video is not slowing down.

5- More emphasis on “social signals” in SERPS rankings (may be a major ranking factor)
(Google will increasingly take signals from your social media profiles (especially Google+)
(AuthorRank uses Google Plus profiles)

5B – Anticipate the full implementation of Authorship into Google’s algorithm this coming year.
(Authorship allows Google to identify the real deal (through things like page sharing) from the imitation or emulation of expertise.)

Takeaway: Don’t ignore the potential that G+ can have on your posts for ranking. While G+ is slow moving, the intention is for it to become a component

6- Anticipate increased weight for Mobile Friendly Websites – mobile is moving forward as a prime factor

7- Expect more effort towards target audiences, researching keywords, and producing quality content vs. simply buying links that search engines ignore.

8- Google will try to put an end to search result manipulation so that it can generate more Adwords revenue.
This is a prediction that makes alot of sense from a financial aspect for Google. I’ve read this in numerous sources – also a possibility to giving weight to PAID results to level off SEO manipulation (white hat AND black hat)

9- As always – more weight on compelling content  (age ol term – Quality vs Quantity)
(Though I prefer ..more quality quantity)

10- SEO to become more competitive with changes mentioned AND Google business model restructures

11- CONTENT – Favoritism to longer posts – (also mentioned last year)
Takeaway:
- longer posts (articles, pages)
- quality content
- less spammy tactics
- “average” use of inner linking opposed to abusive inner linking

12- PR and Social are now playing such a key role towards influencing search rankings that most great links are now created as a by-product of good PR.

13- Personalized search results will begin to take more precedence
(influencing personalized search is very important)

14- SEO has evolved from pure SEO to (conversion rate optimization, digital marketing, social signals building, content building)

Takeaway: An SEO’s job is not as cut and dry as in previous years. The modern SEO role will have to cross over into other areas embracing  “Inbound Marketing” as a whole

15-  Unique content still matters as much as ever!  (thank God!)

16- The Rule of 60 is also important for your title tag. As Ruth Burr wrote in a recent case study, “When your title tag is too long, instead of simply truncating it and adding an ellipsis to the end the way they used to, Google is trying to algorithmically determine a better title for the post.”

Takeaway rule:  Length: (do not exceed 70 characters) or 6 to 12 words”

17- Current SEO On-page Tactics – Continue as ongoing

18- We are approaching the ending of “link building” and into the era of “link earning”! – (well said by SEOMOZ!!)

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Google – Matt Cutts: important statements last year

- Cutts pointed out that Google doesn’t hate SEO. The goal of SEO is to make websites more crawlable and faster. When SEO becomes an issue is when spam comes into play, such as if you go overboard buying links, doing comment spam links, or keyword stuffing

- The number of Twitter followers is a potential social signal. Google isn’t able to crawl Facebook, either because people set their profiles to private or Google is blocked from crawling. When Google lost access to Twitter’s firehose, Twitter blocked Google for several weeks. If Google can’t crawl and see how many people you follow or who follow you, they can’t use that as a reliable signal.

- Create a site that will stand the test of time, Cutts said. A site that people will tell their friends about and bookmark. That’s the site Google wants people to build.

- duplicate content – Google tries to show the content they think came first or has the most value.
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RESOURCE NATION: (suggestions for 2013)

1. Commit to writing more content (blog at least once a week)

2. Get at least one quality link each week.

3. Add new content/update old content on your website.

(take a look at your analytics and see which pages are performing the best and which ones are doing the worst, focus on fixing the worst ones)
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SEO – New Model (suggested trends)

Blogs – Write appealing content that other people will WANT to link to.
(social validation)

Visual Content – Powerful, unique, or even comical, images lead people to link to your website.
This includes video content as well!

Product Launches – product launch inspires people to talk about your business
(we do this already)

Guest Blogging
Creating valuable content for other websites provides an easy to link back to your business
(doesn’t seem to be an option at the moment)

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SEOMOZ comparison Breakdown
Changes – Change of focus (old SEO vs New SEO)

1- Partnerships and Cross Promotions OVER Link Exchanges / Reciprocal

2- Social Sharing of Organic Links OVER Email Blasts

3- Links coming from Direct content OVER purchasing Links

4- Curated Lists (Yelps list of, Business list of…) OVER directory adding

5- Guest Postings (niche) OVER Article Marketing

6- Communities that Link organically OVER Forum Commenting

Sources for evaluation:

Source 1
Source 2
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Source 9
Source 10

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About Michael Bohatch - SimpleInbound

Michael Bohatch has been involved with SEO and Inbound Marketing since its inception. Michael provides professional services that combine his experience in Web Analytics, SEM, SEO and Inbound Marketing for a comprehensive strategic approach to web optimization. SimpleInbound.com is an advice blog where he documents some of his findings and advises others on industry updates.
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