What You Need To Know About SEO In 2013
Update: 2013 is drawing to a close and we've now pubished a new post looking at SEO in 2014. In the past 12 months many of our predictions have come true as Google continues to crack down on spam and expands the knowledge graph.
With 2012 over, everyone has started making predicting about what lies ahead for SEO in 2013, so here are ours.
First prediction: SEO will be have two hundred new definitions by the end of the year - after 2012 it's already known as inbound marketing, content strategy and even growth hacking (?!)
Second prediction: It will still be as important as ever!
That's it for our predictions. No one can guess exactly what's going to happen this year so instead, here are our thoughts as to which SEO trends you should be paying attention to right now.
If you'd like learn more about SEO and what you should be doing with it in 2013, come on one of our SEO Courses.
It's right there as Google's mission statement: they aim to organise, and make accessible and useful, all of the world's information. With these goals in mind, it's little wonder that the focus of SEO has turned to a more semantic categorising of the web.
Where there were once pages and their relations there are now entities and their relations. In other words, we are seeing a greater emergence of an internet of things.
Mark-up and Rich-Snippets
This means for SEOs there is even more reason to make sure your page is marked-up correctly. With Google's new data highlighter tool, even if you don't know code, you won't have an excuse. For those who do know HTML, you can't beat schema.org, as it is recommended by all the major search engines.
It's all about the rich snippets, and if you want some extra real-estate on SERPS, and therefore more click-throughs, then you've got to be thinking about all the 'things' that can be marked up on your site to provide better/more rich snippets.
Whether you're holding an event, you have customer reviews or whatever it may be, these little extra nuggets of info can add value to search result for a user, which will then in turn be rewarded by Google.
Don't neglect information - what with the knowledge graph, having key, easy-to-access points of information can give you an edge to get extra SERP space.
Much in the same way as other rich snippets, the rel=author/rel=publisher tags have become vital for SEO and marketing in the last year and will only continue to provide a boost to make your content stand out in SERPS.
A user who recognises the profile picture of a trusted source is going to click on that search-result over others, so try to build up your own personal 'brand' to the point where you are considered an expert (or at least well-regarded) in your specific niche and 'brand' all the great content you create.
Don't forget where that rel=author tag leads either: Google +. Maintain an active presence on the social side of Google to have them see you as a reputable source.
Content Marketing Isn't Just Blogging
Content is supposed to draw people in and interest, surprise, tantalise and intrigue them, as we said in our Content Marketing Guide. If it does none of this, then it has failed in its primary purpose.
What this means then is that it's time to think beyond the blog.
No doubt, blogs will be a staple part of content marketing for the foreseeable future, but there are other types of content that can really provide a greater ROI than a simple article.
Videos, games, competitions and quizzes, polls, infographics and so much more can be used to great effect, alongside or instead of traditional blog posts. In reality, there are no limits to the type of content that can be created, so why impose artificial limits on yourself?
Natural and Diverse Content
One article, published at the same time at each day, with x many links and keywords and so on, just doesn't cut it anymore. Creating content needs to be organic and true to reality, which means having the ability to do anything from occasional big show pieces to bite size video guides and all that's in between.
Just keep it fresh, varied and on-point and you'll start to see rewards.
Want to learn more about content marketing and how you can apply it to your needs? Try our Content Marketing Training which will give you full insight into the strategy.
Social, Local and Mobile
Personal searches are playing a bigger role in SEO than ever before. Search results can be skewed, depending on various factors like previous searches and location.
Adding the social element to the mix, whereby for example, G+ posts by friends will appear for some searches, means that pinning down the 'best' keywords for a particular search can be tough.
You can learn more about personalisation, G+ and other social sites impact on our Social Media Training.
Don't forget one of the key criteria from Google's mission statement - accessibility. All of these additions are intended to make it easier for the user to access the right information at the right time.
Play to this, sculpt your content into personalised content suited to individuals. Continue to do the classics, like answering questions, but also boost your brand identity, especially in local terms - if you're the best in your niche in the area, make sure your potential customers know it.
All of this relates back to mobile. Mobile search's role has expanded rapidly in the last year and will continue to do so in 2013.
With that in mind, focus on having an optimised site for mobile platforms (not a traditional role for an SEO but one which can have significant impact on results) and be aware of the combined effects that personalised search and mobile search can have on the outcome of your endeavours.
So those are our predictions/thoughts for SEO in 2013. If you have anything to add yourself, please comment below. Happy New Year!
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