Really, what’s the first thing that you should know about implementing the best SEO practices? In my own experience, the best way would be to get yourself educated, and evidently taking action on what you’ve learned. Many will try to go via the “fast lane” but you should know by now that, those golden days are gone and with search algorithms (and don’t forget manual interventions), getting smarter and smarter by the day, that really leaves you with only one choice of doing search engine optimization, the right way.
So, first things first. Where do you get yourself educated?
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving a website to make it more relevant to searchers and search engines. At its core, SEO is about improving usability on a website. bing.com
The following are free and available resources that are primarily geared towards those who are just starting. Nonetheless, I believe that they apply for just about any level, unless you already consider yourself a “guru”. The learning curve is endless, and there is always something we can learn, even if it is only to refresh our memories.
- Google’s Webmaster Academy
- Bing Webmaster’s Webinars
- Inbound Marketing University
- Follow, top SEO sites, such as, SEW, SEJ, SEOMoz and Google’s Webmaster Help channel on YT.
- and yeah, you can also browse through my own SEO Resources page.
What SEO is not about?
Duane Forrester of Bing wrote a blog post about SEO, and the following, I believe is the best and succinct way of summarizing what search engine optimization is not about.
- Fast – the work and results take time to complete and see in action
- Guaranteed – remember, you’re not in control of the algorithm
- Once & done – things change over time; algos evolve and so must your site
- Free – SEO takes time, and time is money, as the saying goes…
In addition, for those of you who are still thinking of finding the “secret sauce” that will skyrocket your rankings fast, you may want to rethink that strategy and implement one, that will stick and at all possible, Panda and Penguin proof, or any other manipulation techniques on search engine rankings.
Remember that there is no such thing as a Panda-Penguin (or related) Insurance Policy. There might be ways to minimize your risk, and that can only be achieved by abiding to search engines webmaster guidelines and applying ethical white hat techniques.
For more info, go to Google’s Webmaster Academy and attend Bing’s Webinars, as suggested above.
Moving forward, here’s a video of Matt reminding people about “snake oil” marketers that promises you the fast track. Don’t fall for these stuff on 2013.
With all that said, the idea of this post is not to provide you with the “ultimate” guide to SEO (there’s no such thing either), but rather to point you to the right direction. There are simply way too many great resources out there, for me to repeat it over and over again. This post is a result of research I did all over the place and, while it includes my own views, it essentially includes what the industry says in common.
2012 was a rough ride for the SEO industry, and while content quality and inbound links continue to play as important SEO factors in organic rankings, there are other factors that will govern SEO in 2013. SEJ
So what’s new in SEO for 2013?
UX or user experience. From site structure, user navigability friendliness, content above the fold, page speed loading time, mobile compatibility, and so on, its all about improving user experience. Let’s not forget about providing true value to your visitors (most important). As far as those technical issues, like title tags, good descriptions, image optimization, keyword research, link building, blah, blah, yes, done properly they all help a great deal and will continue to do so.
Last year, one of my posts about SEO practices in 2012, really got some good attention, and I suggest you reading that article as it has a bit more info about On-Page and Off-Page SEO, something, I am not going to delve deep in here, as they pretty much apply today and going forward.
See also: SEO – 2013 Onwards and You Are Still Doing it Wrong? (update)
SEO Ranking Factors 2013
Anyway, one of the things that I mentioned over there is that SEO constantly changes, but, and there is always a but, there are some things that simply don’t. They have been there and I don’t see it going anywhere (at least for the time being). On the other hand, and due to the search engines wanting to constantly improve results they serve on their results, there are always some new stuff that comes into play.
Content Creation and Marketing
Quality content is really what you should aim for always, as this is what it takes to enhance or improve users experience (UX). Improve UX = better search engine rankings, period. Ultimately, this is probably the only factor that I can almost guarantee that will remain constant for many years to come.
What is quality content? Essentially:
- informative, useful, actionable = value
- unique (your own voice) and original
- quality website – user friendly, mobile friendly, great navigation structure, fast loading, content above the fold, etc..
Once you’ve created your content, next step would be to promote it. For blog posts, here’s a handy checklist on what to do immediately after publishing a new post.
Mobile and Multi Compatible Devices
Ignore this at your own peril. Mobility is a trend that is not stopping and IMO, it will be a “deal breaker” between those that have their sites mobile compatible or not. Google wrote its own recommendations about giving tablet users a full-size web and Bing’s Duane Forrester talks about the year of the excellent user experience.
Everyone is talking about this and for a good reason. The sheer amount of technology being invested on devices that are portable and mobile, are astounding. From tablets, to smartphones, etc., even cars now have access to the internet. The traditional desktop computers as we know it, are probably going to be replaced with the so called “hybrid” devices.
There are many ways you can make your site compatible to multiple devices. Some are good and some are not so good. just do a bit of research and make a well informed decision. I do have some recommend solutions, but I will be providing more details on an upcoming post. If you are in a hurry, and just starting, ensure at the very least that your theme is responsive.
Google+ and Google Authorship (AuthorRank?)
Let’s face it, Google is the leader in the search engine market, and as such, has the ability “to force” just about anything they feel will be good for users, in the hands of marketers. Through Google+ and the Google Authorship program (where authors identify a page or post as their own work), it is likely that making proper use of G+ and getting your authorship verified, are going to become (if not already), more important in the search engine’s rankings.
See also: Google Authorship: Does It Really Matter and Will Google Use It To Improve Search Quality?
Structured Data (Schema.org, micro format, etc.)
Structured data is a way for search engines to understand better what your content is about. Google and other search engines created a structured data standard called schema.org. While this may sound all complex to you, the fact is, it is. Fortunately, there is always someone out there to make all this complicated things easier for us. Brought to you by the creators of Google analytics configuration tool and Raven IM tools, this Schema creator tool is totally free to use and it comes with a WordPress plugin as a bonus. Cool!
What? Google does not provide a tool for this? Actually they do, and provide more info right here. It appears quite easy to use (see video below), and for novice users, this seem to be a good place to start. SearchEngineRoundtable recently wrote up a post about this tool, and it appears that the data highlighter tool may not work properly if you have duplicate content issues. I prefer the Raven plugin, but that’s me.
Introduction to Data Highlighter
Even More Social
As social becomes more integrated within our everyday lives, so is it true for search results. While being present on social alone doesn’t really impact rankings, it is the users behavior that can count. How often users click on your shared stuff, the amount of +1s, likes, retweets, repins, comments and interactions, etc., is what may influence on how you as an author or a brand, rank on the SERPs. While social prominence in search engine factors may be rising, it is always important to keep in mind that search engines, takes into account numerous factors to make the decision process of ranking.
At the end of all this, one thing is very clear to me. They all serve to provide value and improve users experience. Focus on that, and your are one step closer to success.
Here are some more articles I recommend reading:
- 6 SEO Tips (hints from Matt Cutts) On Google Webmaster Central (videos)
- 5 SEO Mistakes That Even Experts Miss
- The Definitive Guide to Penguin Friendly SEO
- How to Prepare for AuthorRank and Get the Jump on Google
- How Content Length Affects Rankings and Conversions
- An Updated Guide to Google Webmaster Tools
- HubSpot Releases ebook to Redefine SEO in Light of Google Updates (update)
- The Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors
How About SEO Tools, SEO plugins for WordPress and that good stuff to help us make our lives easier?
Yeah, I’m going to talk about those too, but that will be on two different posts entirely. They are coming soon, so stay tuned. In the meantime, check out these SEO plugins for 2013 and SEO Tools. They are all good and will most likely reemerge on my set of recommended plugins for WordPress and tools to help you research for keywords, analyze your competition and the most obvious of them all, to monitor your rankings. Until then!
That’s it! I will be updating this post on a need to basis, so make sure to keep that in mind. How about you? You think I’ve missed something? I’m pretty sure I did, so I’m counting on you to fill in the gap.
Good read: SEO – 2013 Onwards and You Are Still Doing it Wrong? (infographic included)
What factors do you think will be really important for SEO on 2013?
64 thoughts on “Best SEO Practices 2013”
I have accepted long ago that SEO is a long and complicated process and that there is no magic switch that will make one an expert in it. You’re right that the SEO game constantly changes, and we shouldn’t let ourselves fall behind!
Hi Felix. Thanks for leaving your thoughts. While I agree that it a long process, the complication is more because it changes all the time. Fortunately, if we stick to doing things the proper way, we should be able to see results in the long run.
hi DiTesco, Very useful post, thanks a lot for sharing. Seo is is becoming tuff day by day & are honorable google panda & penguin making it worse. Produce quality content & build links & be consistent, then you will rock lol. Good post, thanks for sharing.
Since SEO is a vast domain of learning, hence doing proper SEO is really difficult, but not impossible to master. It requires a singleness of purpose and sustained efforts to master this most important aspect of the internet kingdom. So, I do fully agree with you that the search engine’s algorithms are getting smarter and smarter day by day. It is specially difficult for the persons who are service-holders and do blogging side by side their professions. The information resources you have put down here are hoped to be very much useful to them. I am also among them. Thank you for presenting such awesome and informative tips.
Welcome. I hope that you find some these tips helpful for your endeavors. Thanks for stopping by
I believe that one of the best ways to approach SEO is to find out what works and then build your site to survive without search engines. When you do this, you pay attention to social networks and relationships that eventually give you a solid reputation before Google.
Focus too much on SEO and you’ll soon do something wrong. Focus on building a strong brand that meets the needs of its customers like none other and you’ll see Google show you a lot of love.
I like the way you put building a strong brand into perspective. Relying too much on organic traffic can break a business and building your brand via “all and ethical means” is definitely the right way to go. However, IMO, it is still something that one should not neglect. Building a strong brand and reputable brand is not easy feat either, and then, there is always the matter of online reputation, etc… Yin Yang perhaps 🙂
Thanks for sharing great article about SEO best tips and practices for 2013. This is very useful information for online marketing managers. Keep it up such a nice posting like this.
You are welcome Sekhar. Thanks for stopping by
very nice article for the beginners as provide lots of information.Search engine optimization is many things, it’s an art and it’s a a science. SEO is creative and it’s technical. It’s logical, parasitic and opportunistic. You have provided some good tips, thanks for sharing.
Thanks for this true and nice seo tips you gave out on this article, you are great.
This area is very difficult to understand but with the help of your blog I really think u’ve made things clear.Thank You..!!
These tips are very important for a newbie and for some professionals also,as they also misses sometimes and it costs too much at the end.
SEO is really changing and it is important to catch up with it and improve on the new tactics such social networking , Google Plus & Authorship and other such handles.
Hi Rahul. Yep, I hear you. Sometimes, I think I am just playing catchup when it comes to SEO 🙂
Although Post was lengthy, but its full of information. Thanks for great information.
Hi DiTesco, excellent post that explore the our 2013 strategies for blogging. And what I am going to do..? just giving few more attention on the G+ profile and author rank.
Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for sharing with me your insights, DiTesco. As for me, I believe that a strong drive for SEO this year is about local reviews and citations for local SEO. As Google try with their efforts to deliver the most relevant content for you based on your location (as a user), having a strong reputation and connectivity with a community will be to your best advantage.
Hi Tran. ” having a strong reputation and connectivity with a community will be to your best advantage”… totally agree 🙂
I believe seo is not more about back linking , its all about creating connections and getting genuine BACKLINKS!
Google Penguin and Panda is hitting hard to people so my advice will be for other bloggers is to keep calm and create connections with other bloggers until you get some inside news about the google algorithm.
Interesting point of view Saad. Can you elaborate on “until you get some inside news about the Google algorithm”? Wold love to discuss your thoughts on it 🙂
Thanks for pointing out such detailed post!
I do agree. User Experiences is an important component is SEO today.
By the way, thanks for the “Schema Creator” link 🙂
Sharp eye Deny. I was beginning to wonder if someone missed that one.. I mean the Schema creator 🙂 I´m using it already and I like it.. Have you tried it yet?
Just installed on my personal blog for test.
I think it was made easier such useful / important task, and like it too. 😉
Some great tips and information above to take into 2013 – Google+ is going to be big in 2013 mark my words 😉
I´m marking your words Mark, and I´m with you 🙂 I too think that it will be big “somehow”
I am really disappointed by SEO strategies, mainly because after a lot of work a change in Google’s algorithms throws most of your work to the trash bin.
I am thinking now about the last Google bite to webmasters with URL’s matching keywords. Just a waste of time and efforts.
I agree with one of your comments. Good content is the most important thing. Most of the rest strategies help, but are not crucial.
I understand your frustration when it comes to putting most of the work on the trash bin. However, I think that most of the impact really affects more those that have been practicing “shadier” stuff. Most EMDs (exact match domains) that were hit was because they did not have anything of value to justify being ranked well.. Just because they had keywords in their URL does not mean that it was a quality site.. Anyway, I agree to an extent what you are saying, but I guess we just have to adopt 🙂
One hell of an article! 🙂
Thank you for all those SEO strategy tips! 🙂
I agree with Mark Morphew, Google+ is going to get bigger and bigger and the sooner people will understand that, the more chance they have in finding the best SEO strategy to adopt and understanding google’s algoriths!
Keep up the good work! Was of alot of help.
Hi Mélanie. So I guess, that makes as three on this thread that agrees on one thing… G+ is going to get bigger and will play a more significant role in SEO (or marketing), etc… G+ can actually be a combination of – being good for SEO, building reputation (Author Rank?) and social 🙂 Thanks for stopping by
I agree that it has become very important to adapt your blog to mobile device access- and also I am focusing a lot more on networking and try to create more call-to action content. Thanks for sharing this great tips!
Welcome Dragos. Thanks for stopping by
Every year SEO gets more complicated as Google rolls out updates and changes the rules. This is especially frustrating for small business owners who don’t have the time or resources to stay current in, you have shared some good useful points, thanks for sharing.
I think Google Authroship and Schema markups will be huge in 2013. We’re looking at ways to add Scheme markups for reviews on our site as well as for social media. Thanks for the tips!
Absolutely fantastic article, Francisco.
I haven’t dropped by for a while, and it’s posts like this that will ensure my visits are on a more frequent basis….
What you highlight about the “UX” factor playing a huge roll these days, seems to be spot on….
The good news is that at least we do have control over a number of site elements that fall under the UX “User Experience” area…..
I have noticed a shift in Search ranking results, and this may be the early stages of this new focus kicking into action….
Another thing, I can relate to the frustration felt by many site owners, as far as Google constantly tweaking their Algorithms with a refresh or an update…..
Each time this happens, it seems to throw a spanner in the works, as often many sites that are doing everything by the book, are also being hit….
My only advice would be to “not put all your eggs into one basket” or
Diversify! Diversify! Diversify!
Thanks for leaving your thoughts and well said… diversity is always a wise and prudent method to employ.. and this is just not limited to SEO, IMO it applies to just about anything :).. Don´t you think?
hi i am new to seo basically i do it only for my website 15 days before on my website title bar there are 4 keywords, for first keyword my website rank 9 position on google and second keyword my website rank 13 position on google search but when i change first keyword to second and second to first both keyword ranks 300+ on google search why this happen i am confuse
Maybe Google thought that you were trying to “over optimize” your site or page. When things are working well, best thing is to let it stay that way. You should only make changes if you were not happy in the beginning.
Hey great post and really very useful info about SEO. I am using Yoast SEO tool for managing my SEO. Is it good enough? Can you suggest some better SEO tools for wordpress blog.
Hi. hold on a bit as soon I will be writing a post about SEO tools and plugins. Thanks for stopping by
Thanks for these strategies.
SEO is not a one day thing and it needs lots of hard work as well as smart work. Still you wont get good results due all these Google updates.
Everyone publishing new SEO goal for 2013 , but It’sm Really nice & informative post yet!
If you’re socially strong these days you don’t need to worry about SEO at all so pay attention to your social networks once they are strong it’s easy way on wards if you plan your content accordingly
Great info here! I’ve been looking into Google Authorship but haven’t determined exactly how it ties into ranking. Do these automatically get priority just because they have authorship attached or is good SEO still King?
There is so much to learn with SEO. It’s never ending due to the ongoing updates that are out of our control. If there were 2 priority things to focus on with SEO, in your opinion, what would those be?
Hi Lisa. It is difficult to prioritize SEO efforts, but IMO if you only two options to work with, I will definitely focus on providing good and valuable content for your audience and On-Page optimization.
The first in kinda obvious, but many still fails to understand that having great content, something that helps people, or create a good and meaningful interaction is what it takes to rank well. These type of content normally catches people attention and can then be shared via social channels and linked back to naturally. The second is also quite a given, because you do have to tell search engines what your site is about, among other things.
hope that helps.
Thanks! I appreciate the advice and agree that having great content is always key.
Have a great day!
Great stuff. It will always come down to entertaining and informative content. All the article spinning and other BS will eventually get squelched out by Google. I think that is why YouTube is growing so quickly – it is filled with tons of good, free info.
Very good post, Good tips about the content marketing, content drives the Internet, and consumers are looking for information that solves a problem, not immediate sales pitches. It actually creates customers & converts them into repeat buyers.
Well i’m just gonna Start guest Blogging and this will be mine 2013 SEO strategy,
Nice article btw,
Thanks for sharing.
“Thanks for the great tips, SEO is pretty important and always a widely debated topic. Great info graphic though because it cleared up a few certain things that I had heard mixed opinions on.
We need to be consistant, SEO world constantly changes & we have to upgrade ourselves too, Google algorithm also eats brain a lot lol. Thanks for sharing great article about SEO best tips and practices.
Hey great post and really very useful info about SEO, SEO is changing & we need to be consistant & cunning to upgrade ourselves. Good post, thanks for sharing.
Very useful post, thanks a lot for sharing. Seo is is becoming tuff day by day & are honourable google panda & penguine making it worse. Produce quality content & build links & be consistant, then you will rock lol. Good post, thanks for sharing.
Thanks for sharing an eventful post for describing the best SEO tactics as they are not govern in 2012 but they will rule in 2013 also the more natural we go to search engines more appreciation we will get
Hi Ditesco, my name is Lutfi from Indonesia.
I want to learn more about SEO technique from this post. One thing I want to ask is about backlink. How about backlinks role for our SEO. Is still important or not?
Yes, it is still very important, although one should be focusing more on “quality” rather than quantity. In addition, it is better if you are able to acquire editorial links.
a must follow practices you have shared with us helpful for getting less effected by panda and penguin too
Hi Ditesco.. great post about practices in 2013.. But I want to ask about Blog commenting.. is it still effective.. The point is that through blog commenting anyone could link to a website from anywhere( someone commenting on any irrelevant site with my link).. And I have read somewhere that google didn’t consider them now a days…. waiting for your reply..
Whether or not Google or other search engines are still counting it, I can’t really say. I can however speculate that it no longer carries that much value like it used to. Actually depending on where you are commenting, it might even carry a negative juice… Commenting is not supposed to be used for link building purposes, but sadly, a lot of people still believe that it makes a difference for SEO.
SEO gets crazy! It is so interesting for me to read about the craziness involved with running a blog. I did notice a pretty steep drop off in traffic about 2 months ago and haven’t been able to figure it out, so I am starting from the ground up pretty much to rebuild my blog. I have noticed that my more “keyword-heavy” blog articles have done the best by far. Thanks for the information! I love to read it!
Awesome post thank you, gave me some insight into Google authorship, now I will need to figure out how to promote my authorship in Google by using WordPress.
it seems Google +1 is the first factor to have better seo ranking
Thanks for the wounderful post about seo,but i think backlin is plays a main role in seo but it must be good.
This is great info shared here, I never checked my author rank. Thanks for the info… 🙂
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