Search Engine Optimisation in 2013

I recently had to do some research in the latest SEO trends for a company project and I thought I’d share the outcome with you. Read on to find out what experts are considering do’s and dont’s for 2013.

  • The website content should be targeted to the audience and not for the search engines (i.e. don’t try to trick the search engines with keywords in content that doesn’t make sense to the users). Search engines now have sophisticated algorithms that detect this kind of behavior and punish pages by ranking them lower.
  • Title and Meta tags should be natural language based and engages the target audience rather than lists of keywords for the search engines. In simple terms it means make titles appear as titles that make sense to people and describe the content – don’t try to force keywords down the throats of people.
  • Add a blog on the site. It’s a good way to build large amounts of text while staying on topic and giving a reason to the public to keep returning to the site for updates. Do not use the blog for promotional purposes. Depending on the site you are optimizing and the budget it might be possible to get some writers who can write about your topic or closely related topics, some people might be willing to do this for free in exchange for exposure/publicity – try to be convincing – it can be beneficial for both.
  • Get Backlinks but not just any backlinks, they must be related to the subject domain of your site. Spamming can hurt your site’s reputation in the clever eyes of Google, avoid irrelevant comments in blogs.
    • Links anchor text should include the brand name and one of the targeted keywords (e.g. MyCompanyName Events, MyCompanyName Projects).
    • Avoid creating multiple backlinks with the same anchor text – it adds little value to your keyword pool.
    • Avoid creating many backlinks in a short period of time – this raises spam detection flags in search engines.
    • Keep analyzing backlinks at regular intervals to ensure that they have a positive result. Check the page rank of sites that link to you, if they have bad PR then try to remove them. You always should try to get linked by sites that have better PR than you.
    • The more outgoing links a site has the less value it will give your site if you have a link on it so as a rule of thumb, sites that require manual approval will be definition have less outgoing links than sites that anyone can post links unattended. Therefore, try to get links to your site on sites that their administrator has to approve them.
  • Online Reputation – The search engines goal is to provide the best sources of information, with this in mind it means that to gain traffic from them you need to have good reputation of providing good content. This means you need to build an online brand.
  • Online Relevance is also very important. In the past websites were using the shotgun approach, shooting in every direction trying to get a bit of the pie from each niche, now relevance is becoming more important. It’s better for a site to concentrate on its field rather than trying to be a source of information about everything. At the end of the day if you think about it, you are more important if you are the top expert on one subject rather than an amateur in many. So instead of trying to get Google to rank you high in multiple categories it’s easier to convince Google that you are the number one source of information on your niche. Don’t try to build portals for everything (actually try not to build portals at all – people’s browser home page these days is either Google or Facebook).
  • User Engagement – Getting users to act on your content is another factor affecting how search engines rank your site. Things like bounce rate (the percentage of users who follow a link to your page, then close the tab without any interaction) and time spent on site now appear to affect search engine rankings (this is probably done through a big data & mining operations between AdWords, Google Analytics – believe it or not Google didn’t give Google Analytics to the world for free out of the good of their heart) – therefore it’s good to investigate ways to get users to stay on your site as long as possible once they visit. Every user counts. Of course this doesn’t mean that you should trap the user into endless paging but splitting your content into multiple pages – this could have the opposite effect.
  • Social sharing/instant link creation – engaging content will lead users to share. Each share is another path back to the site. This again boils down to the content and common sense, if the content is good, users will want to share. The more they share the more people will talk about it the more the viral effect will last. A good strategy is to spread your updates in time. If for example you are to post two articles on your blog per day, don’t post them both at the same time.