It’s a brave new world out there for search engine optimization experts. Google as always, is driving the search engine optimization game. So far in 2013, their recent Penguin and Panda updates truly rocked the internet marketing world. Both updates were an attempt to cut down on spammy, low value sites topping the search engine results. The shift is towards quality sites in the search engine results.
Does that mean you should give up on your search engine optimization efforts? Not at all. It does mean that trying to ‘game the system’ with black or gray hat SEO tactics won’t work any longer. You need to know the new landscape if you want to succeed.
So what are the key factors in successful search engine optimization?
Content – Content truly is king. Google wants to reward sites that provide useful and engaging content. Sites with this kind of content get read more, have more shares via social media, and get more links from other sites, naturally.
In the past lots of content was good enough, but now it appears that to amplify your search engine optimization efforts you should focus on creating longer content. Instead of lots of 300-500 word posts on your site, consider seeding it with pieces of content up to 1000 words.
Write for humans, not search engines. While this piece of advice has long been part of the search engine optimization landscape it’s become even more important. The practice of keyword stuffing, that is loading your site with so many instances of your keywords that it’s practically unreadable, is out of style. Use keywords of course, but make sure your article can be read and enjoyed by a human.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Not quite, but interspersing images and video on your site will make it stickier – i.e. visitors will stay onsite longer and will share content more.
Get social. Social media isn’t just a buzzword anymore in the search engine optimization landscape. Having your content shared on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ is considered a sign that your site is worthy of getting ranked. What’s the best way to do this? Make sure your website makes social sharing easy. Include buttons of the major social networks within your site so users can easily click on them. And don’t forget to get social yourself. Build your own presence on these networks and share links your content to drive traffic.
Be mobile friendly. Mobile is here to stay. More and more internet users are accessing the web on tablets and phones, so it makes sense that your site looks good on them. A mobile responsive web design (rwd) simply means that your site resizes itself based on the user’s device. Another alternative is to create a separate mobile friendly version of your site. In some cases this can be more cost effective but it can also dilute your search engine optimization efforts.
Get Links. In the past, getting links from other sites to yours was a surefire way to build up your search engine results. More links, of any kind, generally meant a higher search result for your site. And it used to be easy to get links, since there were a lot for sale. But these incoming links were generally from low value sites. Google realized that and now it pays more attention to the quality of sites linking to yours. For instance a link to your site from a major news network like CNN can be worth more from a search engine optimization standpoint than lots of links from sites no one ever visits. So work on getting high value links by creating great content and encouraging social sharing from your readers.
Google Authorship. Google doesn’t give away the keys to its search engine optimization algorithm lightly, so when they mention that one thing that does factor into it, it’s time to pay attention. One factor that Google has acknowledged is the emphasis it pays to Google Authorship.
So what are the key takeaways for search engine optimization for the remainder of 2013?
Focus on quality. Turn your efforts to producing well written in depth content, with more pictures and video that will get shared on social media sites and linked to by well-respected, established sites.
Be mobile friendly. Look to create a responsive web design for your site.
Be social – make social sharing easy so that more people see your content and link to it.
Claim your Google Authorship – claim your content through the Google Authorship