Navigating SEO in 2013

3 min read

While much has changed in the field of SEO over the last 5 years, many of the reasons to get your search marketing right remain the same: improving your search rankings not only increases site visitors (and conversions if you’re doing your job right) it also contributes to brand trust, and increases your likelihood of being shared or linked to.

How to get your SEO right is a hard question to answer, and one that’s ever-changing as search engines evolve and other sources of traffic (referring links, content, email, social networks and so on) play a bigger role in determining your search ranking. Now, we’re not SEO experts (although we work with some clever folk who are), but we have noticed a number of changes in common SEO tactics which we thought we’d share with you. Here goes:

5 Common Search Engine Optimisation techniques that have changed in 2013

1 – Keywords: the long-tail approach

Keyword usage has long been a major part of on-page optimization (sadly it has also been one of the most abused, but that’s another story for another day). Until recently, SEO managers targeted primarily the most popular keywords: while this worked for some markets, it’s also an increasingly pricey approach. A smarter approach is to include ‘long tail’ keywords which are more niche and more specific than their generic counterparts. Long tail keywords are great for targeting exactly the right sort of traffic and they’re cheaper as there’s less competition to deal with.

2 – The keyword density dinosaur

Eugh. Here’s one we’re glad to see the back of. We’ve always hated the keyword-density agenda because it got in the way of carefully-crafted copy and often left it looking spammy and unreadable. The good news is that keyword density is nothing but a distant memory of 2012 (like Cyclone Heidi and the London Olympics). In the words of Google spam-czar Matt Cutts “Density is not important...make writing sound natural.”

3 – The importance of user experience

When we first started designing websites in 2004 we were as guilty as the next guy of placing too much emphasis on designing sites for search engines, rather than for people. Now search engines actually rank sites that take the user into consideration. Responsive Web design and quick loading times are just two of the main factors that make a website succeed.

4 - Content Diversity

Up until 2011 search engines only paid attention to text-based content. Now in 2013 they recognise much more than just text, with streaming video, presentations, infographics and pictures all adding to your page ranking. Diversifying your content will not just make your visitors happier, but the search engines too.

5 – Optimised Meta Data

A tried and tested part of SEO that’s still earning its keep in 2013 is meta data. Now, search engines are pretty clued in to websites that have an endless line of keywords in the page title simply for SEO reasons. In 2013 it’s a more tailored approach that works: far better to choose one keyword relevant to each page than to have a continuous repetitive list of keywords for every page of your site. By having this type of optimised onpage meta data you encourage higher click-throughs and provide the search engine crawlers with detailed and relevant information: all giving you a more favourable page rank.

Bc tip: Using plugins like Yoast help keep you on track as their no-nonsense approach to SEO makes it hard for you to break the rules.

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