The year 2012 has seen major changes for SEOs with many different updates to Google’s algorithm including Panda, Penguin and EMDs. Google is getting smarter at fighting “black hat” SEO techniques and will continue to do so in 2013. There has been an increasing emphasis on relying on other sources rather than the website to tell Google what keywords it should rank for e.g. social signals. We have to use SEO as part of a greater strategy to increase the trustworthiness of the website to Google e.g. social (with a particular emphasis on Google +), web design, content, email, PPC, outreach and long-term relationship building.
I think the major changes will be…
1. SEO will become more strategic and structured
“SEO is getting harder and I think 2013 will bring further dominance of paid advertisements on Google’s search results. Therefore, SEO’ers should think like online marketers and consider the whole picture, not just rankings. In the past companies have become overwhelmed by the exciting marketing tactics on the internet, such as infographics & SEO activities, without giving much thought to the overall strategy. This causes confusion and a lack of direction. I think in the year 2013 it will be all about setting strategies (that are integrated with their offline strategy) that are clearer and driven to get real results such as traffic and leads. After all our job is to make our clients’ money through increasing online leads.”
2. “Back To Basics” marketing principles
“In the recent years people have got caught up in flashy websites and throwing money at digital marketing. Alongside with planning an effective strategy I think companies will become more customer focused again. After all, marketing is all about the customer and how we communicate our products/services value to the customer. Finding out who the “80/20” customer is and marketing to them effectively can be far more successful both financially and strategically.”
3. Not just responsive websites, but “experience” websites…
Mobile is becoming increasingly popular, but people are getting bored with the design of websites and frustrated by the lack of excitement. I think website design and content will have to improve to keep visitors attention and help drive traffic to the site.
4. Google updates will further affect SEO
I think next year Google will get even smarter at fighting spam, particularly against keyword-rich anchor-text backlinks, guest posting, article sites and title tags. I agree with Rand Fishkin’s prediction that Google will place more emphasis on co-citations near anchor-text to determine the association of websites to certain keywords.
Whatever changes within the SEO and digital marketing industry, there is one guarantee…Google is only going to get smarter. To be successful at your website’s rankings, traffic and leads you’ll have to do it all; social, content, web design, PPC and email. It’s about being creative, standing-out and having a solid digital marketing strategy.