By Jamie Paton
Now that it’s the end of February, I’m sure you’re tired of the lists of the new trends for 2013. So don’t think of this as a list of strategies for the new year, especially since in our industry, things since January 1 are already old news.
In an ever-changing industry like ours, it’s important to keep an eye out for new strategies, emerging trends, and paradigm shifts. But rather than spend time guessing which black and white animal will represent the next Google update (skunk, Dalmatian, zebra?), I decided to have a chat with Matt O’Such, PCG’s lead SEO Specialist.
According to Matt, here are three things to keep in mind while developing and implementing SEO strategies in 2013:
- SEO Basics – Things that are shiny and new can be great, but don’t underestimate the importance of creating a strong foundation by getting back to the basics. Do your research, benchmark where you are, and make sure your website’s content and metadata have been updated with your target audience (and Google) in mind. If you need a quick refresher, check out Matt’s blog about SEO basics.
- Rich Snippet Markup, Authorship Tags, and Microformatting – Moving beyond metadata, each of these can be used to send additional signals to Google about your website. While these elements are not currently used to determine page rank, they do improve the appearance of your site in search results. For example, the addition of star reviews or an inclusion of an author’s photo can help your listing stand out, and in turn, improve your click-through-rate.
- The implied, but not confirmed Value of Google+ Metrics – Over the last year, we’ve witnessed the increased integration of Google+ into everyday Google use. We’ve been left to wonder how much influence the social site has on everything else. Obviously a +1, mention, or link from a personal post can’t hurt, but in what ways does it help? With any luck Google will make that information a bit more clear in 2013.
Here’s one last tip for 2013: don’t forget about Google’s Webmaster Tools Guidelines. Whether you are still learning the basics or already implementing structured markup, Webmaster Tools is the closest thing we have to a roadmap for success. And as for Google’s next update animal, well my money is on the zebra.
If you’ve made it this far, please +1 this post (can’t hurt right?) and keep an eye out for Part II in which I chat with Darrah Raneri, PCG’s resident Social Media Specialist about the latest social media strategies.