A few things have been changing at Google over the year that are significantly changing the face of SEO. I have put together what I believe to be the top 5.
- The fall of the keyword – Take a look at Google analytics and you will see that the Keyword analysis (Acquisitions – Campaigns – Keywords) has become pretty much useless, with the number 1 search term now being “Not Provided”. This is not by accident. It is just the next step in Google’s journey to wean site owners off their addiction to keywords, and encourage them to focus on their content as a whole.In my view this is no bad thing as shoehorning keywords into copy purely for the benefit of SEO rarely makes for engaging copy.
- The rise on content marketing – Although content marketing has been around for ever (It used to be called PR) it has suddenly become the in digital marketing buzz word. And from an SEO perspective it is becoming increasingly important many of Google’s latest algorithm updates have been all about giving extra weight to pages that contain great up to date content that engages with their audience. Thus if you create a website that engages with your market you will perform better in SEO terms.From a marketing perspective this is good news, as it means that finally the objectives of SEO and user experience once they reach the site are becoming aligned (Maybe Google do know what they are doing!).The upshot of all this is that SEO focus must move from writing SEOed copy to writing great, engaging copy that will thrill your readers, and then making sure that that copy is placed on both your site,and on good quality sites that are likely to be frequented by your potential customers. (more on this here)
- The rise of social in SEO – Social media has been of increasing importance in marketing over recent years, but now it key in SEO too. If Google want to reward content that engages with its readers, social is a great way of measuring that. So it now uses social interactions (Facebook likes, Tweets, Linked in Shares, Pinetrest pins etc) as a measure of how audiences are engaging with content. So the more people share your content, the more notice Google will take of it.So how do you get people to share your content? – Write “great, engaging copy” that your readers love, and want to share with their friends! Not only does sharing mean your copy gets Google brownie points, it also means that it gets distributed., and read more widely. Win Win!
- The rise of the video in SEO Google owns Youtube, so it is not really surprising that video is becoming more prevalent in Search Results. Video also offers some great opportunities from an SEO perspective, as it is something many sites ignore.A recent Post on e-consultancy gives some great tips in this area.
- The rise of the image in SEO – Like video, images also offer some great Search Opportunities. Not only can and do users now search specifically for images, again like video, optimising images for search is something that is again overlooked, and thus offers some interesting opportunities.You will find some interesting hints & Tips in this area here.
In summary, what has 2013 meant for SEO? It has moved the agenda firmly into the world of Marketing. Whereas before you could engineer your site into the search listings through a series of technical tweaks, and short term SEO focused activities like link building. Now delivering good search listings is all about presenting your message in an engaging and effective manner that will mean people want to find it, and when they do to share it with their friends. In other words, rather than being the end in its self, great search listings are now a by-product of a well engineered, engaging, marketing communications strategy. Although it is now much more difficult to pay someone to “SEO your site”, focusing on marketing, and putting in place a good digital marketing communications strategy including written content, Video, Images and Social will deliver real results in its own right, and in turn mean your search performance, as a by-product.