Blog | April 18, 2013

Top 7 SEO Strategies for 2013 — Panda & Penguin Update

by Melissa Kelly in Content Marketing

Search engine optimization is an ongoing race to survive.  In 2012, the rapid Panda and Penguin updates to Google algorithms had businesses scrambling to reevaluate their SEO strategies.  Get ready for more! Word on the street is another big Penguin update is coming soon in 2013.  In March, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, informally announced the news without specifying an exact date.  Meanwhile, Panda updates are still being steadily rolled out and integrated subtly in the current algorithm.

Want to prepare for the continuous Panda updates and next big Penguin update?  Secure your rankings by following the latest SEO guidelines encouraged by Google and use the knowledge from the most recent updates.  The concept of SEO is a multi-faceted one with constantly changing parts, so you will need to continuously adapt to the newest updates and trends.  Focus your SEO efforts on delivering superior results to anyone hunting for information.  Incorporate these 7 SEO tips into your strategies, so when the next Penguin and Panda updates hit, you won’t disappear.

1)  Publish quality content that’s creative.

The ability search engines have to evaluate the quality and relevancy of content is only getting better.  Technology is rapidly using better ways to judge what good content looks like on the web.  So when you produce articles, focus on the value of your content to readers, presenting original information, covering interesting topics, the structure of your content, and proofreading for errors.  After the last Panda update, Google shared what their algorithms look for when assessing content.  You should always follow Google’s guidelines to produce high-quality content.  Also, review older content on your site and old SEO efforts. They could be negatively impacting your rankings. As a result, either improve them or remove them all together. Great content will bring you a long way in 2013.

2)  Make digital friends and utilize social.

The impact of social search influencers is increasing with the growth of social media.  Search engines are pulling information from social data to provide better search results.  Sites like Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and many others are contributing to the growth of knowledge.  Use this to your advantage and make sure your company is active in the social sphere to really strengthen your web presence.  When others share your content socially, those inbound links will have a significant effect on your SEO as search engines are giving social links more weight than in previous years.

3)  Think about the mobile user experience.

It’s predicted that in 2014 over 50% of traffic will be coming from mobile devices, says data analysts at blutrain mobile.  When optimizing content, factor in the details around mobile access. For example, search query strings for mobile users are commonly 25 percent shorter than users on computers.  You should follow SEO best practices with  keywords, image tags, meta descriptions, etc. but also optimize for smaller devices and load time.  Don’t overload pages with rich content and  be sure to test your site for mobile and tablets.  And remember,  a slow load time will make users jump off your site in seconds and while also hurting your Google rankings.

4)  Don’t underestimate local websites.

To deliver relevant results for searches, Google’s preference for sites that apply local SEO is rising.  Web devices are constantly absorbing information about a user’s geographic location and saved location searches, so it’s only natural to personalize search results according to your whereabouts.  If your business has a physical location for clients or customers like a restaurant, retail store, office, etc. local SEO is a must.  Get your business listed on local directories and important sites like Google places. You can access The Definitive Guide to Local SEO from Search Engine Journal for great insights for improving local SEO.

5)  Spice up content with rich media.

Adding videos and images to content makes a world of difference for search results.  Think again about the searcher’s experience.  Watching a video or gathering information through a fun graphic prove to be more effective resources that people can visually learn from and are more inclined to share.

6)  Post more frequently.

When a page changes or a blog post goes live, it sends an invitation to search engine spiders for a visit. And the more visits those spiders make, the more a site will get weighted for search engine results. A blog that gets weekly postings will almost always get greater visibility than one that only has a post every few months.

7)  Still stick to SEO fundamentals.

Search engine spiders index pages based on the page’s code. Since text is part of the code, that means the more you have of certain keywords, the better that will weigh. In general, targeted keywords should get around 5% of overall text density and it’s important to add relevant keywords into the mix as well.  Meta tags don’t weigh as heavily as they have previously, but they still help dictate SEO rankings. Google generally uses the meta title as the results headline and the meta description as the results body, so don’t forget to put them in your code!  Check out Google’s SEO Starter Guide for a full rundown on having a solid SEO foundation.

Good Luck!!!