I did a blog last year talking about the big SEO ranking factors of the year. A year later and I think it’s time to do it all again. I’ll answer what I believe to be the biggest SEO ranking factors of 2013.
– Make your content interesting. Back in the day you could churn out some low quality content, SEO it and it would rank. In 2013 that isn’t the case anymore. If people check out your content and start bouncing, it doesn’t matter how good your SEO is because Google is going to bury you.
– Don’t make your titles too creative. I have been reading a ton of blogs saying you should keep your titles creative. I disagree. If someone is looking for information on a subject they aren’t going to be interested in a creative title. I run an NBA website that publishes player’s statistics. My title tag is “NBA Player Statistics 2013, Rebounds, points, assists”. Why would I make this creative? I’m not an art student; my target audience is for people looking for NBA player stats.
– Only focus on Google. Don’t waste your time on other search engines like Yahoo, and Bing. Look at your web stats. How many are from Yahoo and Bing? Now look at how many come from Google.
– Expand your social network. Get other people involved in promoting your stuff. After all you don’t want to bore your same old Facebook and twitter army with the same old stuff every day.
– Keep your content updated. I learnt this the hard way. I went a few months without updating my content. I noticed my rankings starting to slide. As a result of this I started pumping out new material. The result was a substantial increase in rankings. My rule of thumb is to look at how often your competitors update their content, and beat it by 3. If my competitor is spending 5 hrs a week writing material for his site, then I’m doing 8! He who has an abundance of fresh content, has the highest rankings.
– Don’t rely purely on the Google PPC keyword tool to suss out hot keywords. I use “ubersuggest” to scrape out hot keywords from Google suggest. If you haven’t used ubersuggest you need to make this a priority in 2013.
– Every page needs to be treated like it’s the home page. If someone is landing on a regular page of your site from Google, what are they supposed to do next? If it’s a blog then there needs to be a widget near the article suggesting other blogs on your site that they might be interested in. The goal of Google traffic should be to get the user to have as much interaction with your site as possible. If someone lands on your page, reads the content then leaves, it’s not going to have as good impression on Google as someone that hits your pages, and comes back to Google 15 mins later after checking out a bunch of your pages.
– Encourage users to get involved with your site. Community driven content is king. If you can somehow get people to create content for you, then half the battle is won.
– Quality is better than quantity in regards to backlinks. Find relevant communities to promote your site to. If you join an SEO forum to promote your cat food business then you’re just going to annoy people, and probably get your stuff banned. Believe in the power of 1. By that I mean you need to have the attitude that 1 link to your site could be the difference maker.
– Rel=author will become a major ranking signal in 2013. Notice that sometimes in Google results a picture of the person shows up? That is referred to as the rel=author tag and you need this on your website now. I noticed a 20% increase in traffic when I added this to my website.
– Don’t believe everything you read – Every time you read of someone saying not to do something because it will get you banned from Google, they are merely speculating. Nobody knows what Google is thinking, we can only guess what their algorithm consists of. Don’t go into a white hat forum or blog and pay much attention to what doesn’t work in SEO. If you want to really find out what’s getting punished by Google, jump into a black hat forum and see what they are saying. I’m not suggesting you should try any of their techniques, but see what they have to say about things that aren’t working for them. You’ll learn a lot, as these are the guys that are running tests every day; they are the seedy ones trying to exploit the system. When they say something doesn’t work… Believe them.