Contrary to popular belief, SEO is not dead. It is well and alive, and the people who are working hard at it are the ones reaping the benefits. In the past, webmasters got away with tricks designed to manipulate the search engines. The webmasters who employed questionable tactics to rank recognized a huge decline in traffic when Google rolled out major updates.
Thin content, paid links, link wheels, and spammy links came under fire in 2012. Marketers had to readjust their strategies to create quality content that attract links. They learned the hard way that there’s no such thing as easy SEO. For you, this means that you have to think long-term in your SEO tactics. A solid content strategy that includes a way to attract lots of natural links is probably the only way to survive going forward. These changes signal a major shift in SEO, and so you need to take note of these 5 trends for 2013.
1. Content Is Still King
Content still reigns supreme, but there must be an emphasis on quality. Webmasters will realize that they cannot afford to purchase bulk articles from cheap writers since that will cost them in the long run. Instead they’ll have to pay for high- end writers, and even pay more for expert niche writers.
2. Branded Content
How does one company separate its content from their competitors? When everyone is writing about the same thing it becomes increasingly difficult to stand out. Branded content and content with personality is what separates one company from another. This is the type of content that strikes a chord with readers and keep them coming back for more.
3. Detailed Articles
Some topics have been written to the point of death. How does new content compete with multiple versions of the same topic? By writing longer and more in depth content, marketers will be able to differentiate themselves and attract more readers. Longer articles are not just about fillers to increase word count. It involves exploring interesting ideas and angles that have not been explored before. This gives readers something more to think about and even to leave comments and share their own ideas.
4. Social Media For Links
Marketers will need to commission articles not only for the main website but also for various social media platforms as well. Therefore, the main article could be accompanied by a specially formatted tweet, a blurb for Facebook and an interesting teaser for LinkedIn. It might even involve getting an infographic or image for Pinterest. Creating social media ready content will not only increase your visibility, but also increase the backlinks to your website.
5. More Multimedia
Photos, when they’re done right, really get users talking. Video have a similar effect although the impact is not as profound as images. Use alt tags and captions to increase the visibility of your images and write catchy scripts for your videos.
We’ve seen major Google fall-outs during 2012, and in most cases bad SEO and outdated tactics were the reasons for them. Instead of trying to predict and analyze algorithm updates, SEO’s need to focus on good marketing and everything else will fall into place. Good marketing will protect a website against these updates, no matter what comes. Here are 5 SEO methods that you need to ditch, or improve, if you want to do better by your website.
1. Article Submissions
Are article directories a major part of your SEO strategy? If they are, you need to stop right now. This “SEO” strategy failed to deliver long before Panda updates and it’s failing even now. Going after easy links is not the way to go. Effective link building takes times and effort but it is worthwhile. Instead of blasting hundreds of article directories with your content, reach out to other bloggers in your niche. Build a relationship with them and ask about contributing a guest post or two. This way you’ll get links from authoritative sites, add value to these communities and get exposure to a larger audience.
2. Random Press Releases
If you’re sending out press releases just to build backlinks you need to stop, before it bites you in the butt. The misuse of press releases is a public relation nightmare. Few marketers really recognize the real value of press releases. For most, it is just an opportunity to get more links and gain some visibility in the news channels. But how could this be beneficial if you’re not publishing anything newsworthy?
Instead of sending out random PRs, do something newsworthy, and that in itself will give you visibility and links when people take note of what you’ve done.
3. Reciprocal Linking
It’s 2013! Leave your outdated strategies of 2003 behind. As I’ve said before, link building is not easy and being lazy will do more harm than good. Apart from that, link exchanges are easy to detect. Do you want to put yourself out in the open like that?
Link out to good content that will benefit your readers. Publish good content on your site so others will link to you.
4. Publishing Thin Content
Some marketers just don’t seem to get it, great content attracts links. If you’re outsourcing your content, make sure that it’s to someone who understands the elements of good content. Read the content that comes back to you. If you can’t get through the first few lines, what makes you think that someone else will? Drop the bad content and make 2013 the year where you publish great content that attracts readers and links.
5. Doing It Yourself
The DIY mentality is what got a lot of webmasters in trouble in the first place. They purchased tools and gadgets and blasted the web with tons of crappy content and links in order to rank. Instead of doing it all yourself, you should invest in a good SEO consultant to work out a solid strategy for your website. While you’re at it, get a good website designer as well. If you’re not sure about what you’re doing, why take chances? Trial and error might work in some aspects of business, but when it comes to SEO it’s do or die.
Long and intensive SEO efforts will pay of big in the long run, but there are some simple tasks that will also provide beneficial results. Let’s face it, SEO campaigns are costly and if that is not in your budget for right now, there are some things that you can do to stay in the game. As we face another challenging year in SEO, here are 4 tips that you can implement right now to improve your site’s SEO.
1. Review Your Robots.txt File
How often have you checked your robots.txt file in the past year? Go to yoursite.com/robots.txt and review what pages, images or folders you’re blocking from the search engines. Use a free or paid tool to also run a site scan and see if there are pages that are blocked by meta robots tag.
This is a quick fix that can make a huge difference in your traffic if you find that there are pages that were unintentionally blocked.
2. Review Your Site Organic CTR by Page
This SEO tip will improve your traffic, but it will also optimize your pages for conversion. Your message is important. Getting a lot of traffic without any conversions is counterproductive to your business goals. Analyze your Google Analytics account (you have one right?) to see what the click-through rate data reveals. Revise elements on those landing pages where the bounce rates are extremely high. Decreasing your bounce rate will improve your SEO score and your business since you’ll be getting visitors to do more of what you want them to do.
3. Review Your Website Links
Use tools like Open Site Explorer to see the content on your site that is most liked to. A popular post or page that might have gone viral could have been temporarily redirected. Analyze your links to see that those pages are still active and not displaying 404 codes. Those pages that are temporarily redirected might need permanently redirection. Find links and fixing pages that are broken will improve your domain’s value.
4. Search For Authoritative Links
You might have accumulated a few authoritative links to your site over the years. As you analyze your links, check the anchor texts to see what they’re made of. Click Here, Learn More and Download This, are not the anchor text that you want from authority sites.
Search out your best links are request an anchor text change to include some keyword relevant text. Take note that you don’t need to do this for all your links (and really you shouldn’t) but it is something that you’ll definitely want to change in your authoritative links.
Now that you have four quick and easy things that you can do to make your site SEO friendly, you have no excuse for not taking action. Fifteen minutes out of your day is a small price to pay to ensure your site’s search marketing success.