One of the challenges of working in search marketing (or perks, depending on who you ask), is an ever-changing digital landscape. Unlike most industries where dramatic changes are few and far between, there are new SEO trends, techniques and tools made available every single year.
Fortunately for us SEO companies, the art of search engine exposure is becoming more and more intuitive as time goes on. Google is doing their best to make SEO a natural part of every business’ marketing plan, especially on a local level. So, what are the current SEO trends for 2013 and beyond?
Machine-Oriented SEO No Longer Works
To understand what we mean by this, you need to know a little bit about the history of SEO. Google’s ranking algorithm has always attempted to return results based on two things: popularity and relevance. Originally, this was a simple-ish formula based on links for popularity, and keywords for relevance. However, it didn’t take long for people to figure out how to abuse such a machine-oriented formula. Keyword stuffing became common practice. People developed bots to automatically build thousands of links at a time. Or they built huge networks of websites for the express purpose of selling links. The result? Google became overcrowded with junk built for computers and search engines, not for people. This is what eventually led to Google’s infamous Panda and Penguin updates.
Human-Oriented SEO is the Future
These days, Google actively punishes websites that it believes are trying to manipulate their search rankings with “black-hat SEO” tactics like the ones mentioned above. In Google’s ideal search-topia the best, most genuinely popular websites with the best content and optimal user experience naturally make their way to the top of search results. This is their goal, and it is a good one, albeit difficult to accomplish. In other words…
Google Wants Users to Define Search
Google is getting better and better at learning how to judge a website’s popularity. Now a days, social signals are a big part of SEO, and even the layout of your website can have an effect on where you rank. Google wants users to define search. Their social network, Google+, is a direct reflection of this goal. When someone +1’s a piece of content, then both that page and other pages from that website will receive a ranking bonus because of it. This is done to encourage you to focus on your readers and your customers. Again, Google wants you to take a human-oriented approach to SEO.
SEO is about More than Just Traffic
It’s about perception. Google is trying to learn how to judge the way a user feels about a certain website or business, and then use that information to influence their search results. They want each user to have a personalized search engine tailored to the businesses and people that they like. Again, we hope you’re starting to see a trend here. SEO is about people now, not machines. In fact, a couple years ago Google got in trouble for automatically scraping reviews from places like Yelp, UrbanSpoon and TripAdvisor. They wanted those user-reviews so badly that they were willing to wander into legal grey-area. They’re dead-serious about integrating the user.
Good Content and Good Branding are More Important than Ever
What all of this means for you is that the marketing side of Omaha SEO is becoming just as important as the technical side.
- Good content that readers share will rank well
- Popular brands with a consistent social presence will rank well.
- Useful websites with a nice design will rank well
That’s not to say that using the right keywords and getting real, natural links isn’t important anymore. Quite the opposite. But, keyword-stuffed web pages created for the explicit purpose of ranking actually WON’T rank well. Buying links doesn’t work either. Google isn’t done changing things yet, and in 2013 I’m sure we’ll have another huge shake-up just like we did with Penguin in 2012 and Panda in 2011. But, what we’ve outlined in this article will remain. Google will always want good websites with good content to rank well and they’re going to continue changing things to make that happen.
How Big Red SEO can Help!
If you’d like 2013 to be the year you take over your search-space, we’d be happy to tell you how we can help you get more customers from Omaha SEO. Feel free to contact us about your current website. We’ll hope to hear from you soon at (402) 522-6468.