Predictions for SEO in 2013
The last 2 years have seen a dramatic change to the online sphere. Search engines, an always evolving digital organism, have changed for good. The giant animal updates were introduced to eat up the spam and It seemed like thin affiliate and AdSense sites were the targets of these Google updates.
But were they really the target? Or was it their dodgy SEO practices and poor content the reason for a huge decreases in rankings?
The Panda and Penguin updates which were introduced to tackle spammy websites like link farms, spun articles, scraped content and exact matched domains have had a great impact for the normal user. Like it or not, searches return much less spammy tripe then before the changes.
This is great for the average Joe, but what about us, the lowly internet marketers? What does it mean? One things for sure, it means a lot more work!
So these are my predictions for SEO in 2013, that’s hoping the Mayans messed up and we live that long!
#1 – Author Rank or Authority is Here to Stay
Google wants to see the author behind the site. It makes total sense, nobody creating a spammy AdSense site is going to want to attach their name to it. Author authority adds ownership to your website. Just like a bricks and mortar business where you know Bill, the owner, there is a familiarity that automatically brings comfort and trust… It’s a personal relationship with no anonymity.
When I visit Bill’s local grocery store I rarely question the price of his fruit because I’m at ease, I know Bill and he knows me. I trust that he is not trying to pull a fast one for a quick buck.
On the other side when I visit a large grocery superstore I don’t know the owner, or even see him. Sure I might see a mid level manager, but does he have my best interests at heart? Does he even have the power to consider my best interests?
I may still make the purchase at the larger store, but I’m not in a relaxed state. If I had any hesitation with my purchase, the lack of trust may be enough to have me walk out the door.
Author authority localizes the anonymous, it adds a face to the unknown. Author Rank is based on social endorsements; +1s, Tweets, likes and shares. Elements like blog comments, social network comments and the relevance of these is also important.
If you haven’t linked your Google+ profile do it now, the SEO benefits will only increase in 2013. You also get the added benefit of a rich snippet in the Google results. I’m sure you’ve seen results with an avatar image? That’s a rich snippet and these have been shown to increase click through rates.
#2 – Latent Semantic Indexing
LSI for SEO is referring to search engines understanding the context of the topic without relying on repeated keywords to influence the results.
If word A is related to word B and word B is related to word C, then word A is related to word C, is a very basic representation of the complex formula!
In 2013 contextual terms or niche vocabulary will see a significant increase in importance. If you are an expert in your niche you will automatically be using these niche words. However if you aren’t and you are tying to rank well for a certain phrase you will need to so some extra research. There are some free tools available to help you analyze the top 10 results for a keyword. LSIKeywords, is a great resource, it will give you the most used one, two and three word phrases in the top 10 results. After your analysis you will need to sprinkle these terms tactically throughout your article, make it natural.
#3 – Backlink Relevance
Quality over quantity is now the MO, gone are the days of 100′s of backlinks from sites with little or no relevance. If your site is about sailing and you are getting links from sites about home-ware, regardless of page rank, you’re wasting your time. Instead of focusing your effort on a great number of backlinks, concentrate on gaining a few highly relevant links in your niche. This takes much more work but the results are worth it. Don’t worry to much about page rank, focus on relevance and make those links count.
Guest posting, article marketing and participating in active forums in your niche are great ways to get relevant backlinks. Of course great content that attracts links is the best tactic!
#4 – SEO Automation
2013 and beyond will spell the end for automated SEO software. Search engines are getting smarter, and it’s only a matter of time before you get caught!
You may be using automated software like blog comments or forum profile bots, you may even be seeing significant increases in your SERP rankings and revenues. But Google updates its algorithm over 500 times a year and any one of these updates could wipe you off the map. Then what? You spend months trying to recover, contacting spammy webmasters to remove your links, which they will charge you an extortionate ‘service fee’ for.
You can always use the Disavow tool but, this can take months to fully work. Bottom line is it’s against Google’s guidelines to be involved in backlinking strategies and as time goes on they are getting increasingly better at discovering these offenders. If you want to do well in 2013 keep it white hat or at least as close as possible to it.
Create content people will want to share. Use social networking and social bookmarking to help get your content found. If you are building links do it manually.
So there you have it, these are my SEO 2013 predictions. I hope I have covered everything. What would you add? I would love to hear your predictions.
About the Author
Sean Mc Namee is an author over at Inside Content Marketing. Currently he is researching SEO, Social Media and Inbound marketing as well as sharing his findings.