SEO in 2013: The Focus on Quality

What search engine optimization (SEO) trends have we noticed so far in 2013, and how is 6S going to make use of them?

According to Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide, “Search engine optimization is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site’s user experience and performance in organic search results.” SEO only affects organic search results, not paid ads or “sponsored” results such as Google AdWords. 2012 was a big year for SEO, with Google’s algorithmic updates getting lots of headlines in the SEO world, and 2013 is already proving to be just as big.

Google’s “high-quality sites algorithm” update codenamed “Panda” was officially launched internationally in April 2011, but continued to cause ripples in the SEO world through 2012 and into 2013. The Panda update was introduced to help people find more high-quality sites in search and get better search results overall. Google then launched their algorithmic update codenamed “Penguin” in April 2012. This algorithmic update (which also continues to get updated) decreases the rankings of websites that are using webspam tactics to try to rank high in Google’s search results. Google claimed that this represented another improvement in their efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content.

SEO is one of the major services that 6S Marketing offers. We do SEO technical audits and monthly maintenance for hundreds of clients. SEO has changed over the years; some things have got easier and some things have gotten harder. Standards have been adopted by Google’s only real competitor in the Western world, Bing, which also makes life easier. Both search engines have great features in their Webmaster Tools portals: both offer reports, tools and resources that help with technical aspects of SEO.

We use several other tools and software along with Webmaster Tools to constantly monitor our clients’ sites. Along with tools and software, we also constantly monitor what updates Google makes in the world of search through its Webmaster Central and Inside Search blogs; these give great insights into Google updates and best practices, especially with the constant algorithm updates. There are lots of other SEO industry blogs and websites we follow to make sure that we are always ahead of the game when it comes to SEO for our clients, and ensure that what we do for our clients follows search engine best practices.

How users search has also become more important in the last year or so, with the ubiquitous use of mobile devices; a recent report by the Nielsen Company said that up to 67% of consumers surveyed used a smartphone and up to 82% of those smartphone owners used their device for web browsing. The increase in the use of tablets in addition to smartphones means that more and more searches are made on a mobile device. This brings new challenges to search and SEO and puts an increased emphasis on design. Both Google and Bing have publicly shown their support for the use of responsive web design. This forces the prioritization of content based on the type of device being used, whether smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. Using responsive web design has multiple advantages for SEO and this is something we discuss with clients.

Despite all our work and effort in this area, we also realize that it’s important not to over-think SEO; we know that the most important thing should be to base any optimization decisions first and foremost on what’s best for the visitors of our clients’ websites. Instead of focusing totally on technical SEO factors, it’s important to remember that creating quality and useful content will likely influence a website more than other factors — this is the one thing that hasn’t changed with SEO over the years and this is something we will continue to tell our clients in 2013 and beyond.

Contact us here at 6S Marketing if you are interested in any of our SEO services. Read some of our case studies to see just some of the hundreds of the clients we have done SEO work for over the years.

What do you predict this year has in store, SEO-wise?

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