SEO for 2013
SEO Lessons Learned from 2012
The year 2012 was by far the most turbulent (and to many confused) year when it came to their search engine positioning.
The big SEO events in 2012 where:
- The famous (some might say infamous) Google Penguin update.
- The Google EMD Update
- Also, there were numerous Panda and Penguin updates throughout the year as Google made tweaks and adjustments to its ranking algorithms. This caused many businesses to bounce around in ranking for keywords that they had commanded for years.
Let look at the big events and learn from the experience.
Penguin has been Google attempt to identify sites that violate Google Webmaster Guidelines. Keyword stuffing, cloaking, duplicate content and shady link building schemes were all part of this Google algorithm update.
The message of Penguin is simple – do things the way Google wants you to do them or suffer the consequences (consequences = lower search position).
And as soon as the SEO world caught its collective breath from Penguin, Google hit again with it’s jarring EMD update. For those of you that did not have to pay much attention to the EMD issue here is an explanation of what EMD means.
EMD stands for Exact Match Domains and it was an SEO tactic that was very effective for years. It was the practice of using an exact match keyword phrase as the domain name of a site to gain search position for that phrase. If the phrase was a “money” phrase then it was well worth it to register a domain and set up a site for that phrase. The issue was that many of these site owners did not really spend much effort to place quality content on these key-word-phrase sites so a searcher was often “cheated” because Google presented the site in search to its valuable search customers. The more this technique was used (and abused) the more people were “cheated”.
Examples of exact match domains would be fishstore.com or fishstore.net. If you were to visit either of these two sites then you will not be presented with a quality site. In fact both websites are just filled with ads that provide no real value to a searcher.
EMD was a free lunch for many years but Google closed this loophole 2012.
SEO in 2012 Was a Year to Learn and Adapt
If we think of being found in search as survival of the fittest then you need to evolve. Your thinking may need to evolve. Your approach may need to evolve. Your effort may need to evolve.
If you want to improve your online business in 2013 then here is some key advice.
Love the Longtail
Learn the longtail for your business and learn it well. The days of gunning for a single keyword — and pinning all of your hopes, dreams and desires on ranking for it — are long gone. You new need to rank for many longtail keyword phrases. A high position for multiple keyword phrases will sum up to significant targeted traffic.
Also, do not “over-optimize” your website pages. To repeat a keyword too many times in your page content is a mistake that you may pay for with a poor position. I now recommend a keyword density of 0.5 to 1.0%.
Remember that Google Penguin is at its core also looks for over-doing it when it comes to page content. You can’t over-optimize if you’re posting quality content that targets dozens of longtail keyword instead of a single keyword.
Savvy SEOs know that more than 50% of all traffic is long-tail traffic and you can significantly decrease your risk of a slap from Google if you go for the long-tail half.
SEO for 2013 Takeaway: Post quality content to your site that targets often-ignored long tail keywords. Not only will this help protect you against over-doing-it penalties, but you’ll find that the competition level for these keywords may even be laughable.
Linking Is as Valuable as Ever
Gaining links (or votes) is as valuable as ever. You just have to be good at it. Bad link building can kill your site’s position.
Getting links only from blogs or forum is not a strong approach.
Get links from relevant content that are text based but be sure to get an assortment of text links. A large number of links – all for a specific keyword phrase – look suspicious. Get links that also are made with generic terms such as “click here”, “Learn More” or ‘Visit Website”. These generic links need to be a portion of your link profile.
Also, and this is very important, consider link velocity and manage it. To gain many links over a short period of time may raise a flag. If for example, you gained links over the last year at a rate of 5-10 per month and then in a single month gained 200 links then this would be way out of line with your historical link building average. Get links but get them in a logical and consistent manner for your website.
Sure, a well thought out link building approach takes more time, energy and even money to implement. But in today’s SEO world this approach to link building works better and has a long-lasting business-building affect.
SEO for 2013 Takeaway: Step up your game when it comes to link building in 2013.
Become a Real Content Marketer
Content is still King! Websites that have creative, informative and delightful content will rule. Weak content sites will be toast! Who wants to visit a site with weak and boring content? Do you? Who wants to explore a site with low-quality graphics, very little substance and out-dated materials? Do you?
Content marketing is the name of the game. To help you in these efforts we have created a set of content marketing tutorials. Here is a link to the Content Marketing Introductory Tutorial. To learn the ins and outs of content marketing will enable you to out-position your competition and also delight the visitors that visit your site.
Many big-name brands are using content marketing and a content marketing approach is being used by more and more savvy online marketers.
Also note that great and delightful content naturally gains in-coming links. These links produce targeted traffic and help to increase your position in search. Quality content puts your site in a strong position and insulates you against tweaks and adjustments by the search engines.
SEO for 2013 Takeaway: Content Market will Rule the Day in 2013 (and beyond).
SEO in 2013 – Closing Remarks
Step out of your comfort zone in 2013. Build relationships and collaborate. Build your brand and market the hell out of your site. Practice content marketing and get links that results in a well designed and well implement link profile for your site. Your site will be rewarded with great position and your site visitors will be rewarded with delightful content. Your business will be rewarded with more and better business.