The fifth release of Google’s “Penguin” algorithm went live a couple months ago boosting spam-fighting capabilities and adding to the exhaustive, yet important SEO changes 2013 has brought users and developers alike. Fear not, at Mojo Media Labs we are keeping up with these changes and ever so carefully and irreverently laid many of them out for you here.
The Panda algorithm was designed to fight low-quality content, thus improving web content overall by making high-quality content appear higher on the list of SEO success factors. So what are some of the most important SEO changes for 2013? What should your brand’s website be doing now?
The updates over the last 12 months have positively affected content marketing and digital marketing as a whole. With our inherent digital knowledge and passion for search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing we have attempted to look behind the curtain and break down what we feel are some of the important SEO changes of 2013.
Overview of the 2013 SEO Changes to Date
Let’s reflect briefly on the last 12 months SEO according to Google. A lot has changed indeed.
Google Organic Keywords: Bye Bye Wordie
With great power comes great responsibility: In its infinite power, Google took all organic keyword information private. As the recipient of 70% of search traffic, that is power folks. But here at Mojo, we think this was a responsible move by the world’s most used search engine. In our minds, it encourages MORE quality content, more social media greatness and of course, more paid search advertising, which in its own right is a very powerful tool.
Google Authorship over Google Keywords
2013 was the year of the Selfie, meaning it was the year of the user. When it comes to SEO, the same is true. Authority and quality content have increasingly become more important than traditional tactics like keyword density. The better content you create and the more people who share it has a direct effect on your search rankings.
The Importance of Links
Hyperlinks today are more about the user experience and less about SEO. The importance of linking anchor text in your on-page content to high-quality off-page content is greater than ever. The quality of the linked content is as important as the quality of your page’s content.
Some of the Most Important SEO Elements Today: What Your Brand Should Be Doing Now
The Ever-Growing Importance of Local Search
SoMoLo (Social, Mobile, Local) is a game changer when it comes to connecting with prospective and existing customers. Search is the #1 function on mobile browsers as users look for local information on the go. How to keep up with the SoMoLo? Apps, maps and social media. More users rely on business apps for search. 35% of mobile app users rely on Google Maps for local business information. Many local search users are doing their research on social media! Make sure your brand’s website is linked to its Google Places/Google Plus page. If your brand does not have a G+ page--make one! Why? Because, Google.
Advertising and Paid Search
When Google quietly (but very obviously) rolled out hidden organic keywords, everyone in digital marketing guessed that one of the main motivators was to further monetize their paid search offerings. Want to A/B test your keyword strategy accurately? Google AdWords. Want to maintain branding impressions? AdWords.
Social signals are still a correlating factor when it comes to Organic rankings on Google’s search engine results pages. Of course, it is believed that Google Plus “+1s” have the highest influence. That’s why you MUST your brand have a G+ page. Followed by G+ in the social signals game are Facebook shares and comments, Pinterest posts and re-posts, and of course tweets on Twitter.
Vertical Search Results
The lines between the traditional search engine results page listings and the so-called “vertical” results are beginning to blur. Images, videos, and news results are further integrated into the organic results with this summer’s introduction of “In-depth Articles” being the newest influencing player. Google reserves this block for evergreen content from the largest news outlets like The New York Times.
Google Authorship and its importance is not going away. If Google can tie a piece of content back to a Google Plus account (there is that darn G+ again!), simply put, you win bonus points. The future of SEO is the user! That in itself does not seem like a novel idea, but it’s true. The implementation of Author Rank will determine which content ranks higher. So craft incredible content, because your authority depends on it!
Looking Forward: How SEO Will Change Over the Next 12 Months
It is a little dangerous for us to speculate exactly what will happen to SEO over the next 12 months, but at Mojo we love danger. So here it goes:
As an agency that prides itself on content (as one of the key factors of Mojo’s agency model), we are thrilled to say that quality content will remain as one of the biggest determinants of search engine rankings over the next 12 months. Google wants to improve the user experience and remarkable content, reach organically or through paid search is above all a requirement.
"We are thrilled to say that quality content will remain as one of the biggest determinants of search engine rankings over the next 12 months."
Once you have mastered the content process for your brand, you have to promote it. First, we encourage you to beef up your social presences. Tie content to Google Authorship and share your content among the appropriate social channels in which your audience lives. Further, share your content through high quality paid search advertising via Google AdWords (to please the Google Gods and some would say, improve even your organic results) and support this further with retargeting programs that follow customers who have shown interest by coming to your website. The next 12 months are about the user. So make sure you are tailoring your online footprint to keep the user happy.