Anyone else feel that this year’s Google algorithm changes were brutal? Penguin, Panda, the EMD update, the layout changes – it’s as if Google wanted to revolutionize the way their search engine works. And every time optimizers adjusted to one update, Google came out with another one. So, given all of these changes, what kind of SEO for 2013 can we expect? To answer that question, we examined this year’s data to see if any trends were surfacing. Here’s what we found:
Content vs. Backlinks
One of the major things that Google wanted to nip in the bud in 2012 was the purchasing of backlinks. Too many sites focused on buying links from other sites to increase their page rank, rather than creating worthwhile content intended to be shared by users. By creating quality content, you actually create backlinks by having users share the content through their social media platforms. Plus, you don’t have to pay for all of those backlinks. It’s a win-win situation for both you and the customer. Hire a writer, pay a designer to whip up some art assets, and get to creating shareable content.
Social Media Signals
Speaking of shareable content, social media signals are going to be a huge part of search engine optimization for 2013. Basically, Google watches how many times a specific page has been shared around Facebook and Twitter, using the shares to adjust how well that page is ranking in the SERPs. This plays off the last section’s emphasis on creating content worthy of sharing around the Internet, as the backlinks from these shares are now worth more in the eyes of Google. So, make sure all of your social media pages are clean, optimized, and designed for user interaction.
Reaching new audiences isn’t all about creating shareable content that hits all the social media platforms. Sometimes, reaching a new audience means creating content on another site, one of the most common examples being guest posting. Basically, you write a post for another site, drop a link in the post, and then send it off using their site as a communicative platform. However, in the past, guest posting was often viewed as a minor part of the SEO grand scheme, and that needs to change. Creating worthwhile content for another site’s audience can easily result in an explosion of new audience members back on your site. Take it serious.