SEO is a field that experiences a lot of sudden changes. Despite the fact that they often sport cute animal names like Panda, these search-engine algorithm changes can throw strategies into a tailspin. As we prepare to hit the midpoint of 2013, it behooves us to take a look at the current state of SEO.
Search Engine Journal asks, Why Does SEO Take So Long? This is an especially good starting point as it addresses some of the more common techniques and why the most common quick fixes can land you in Google’s penalty box rather than on page one of the search results.
First Stop: Facebook
With the rise in importance of social signals in online search it should be remiss not to look at how SEO and Facebook intersect. Search Engine Land‘s Jim Yu looks at how to “utilize SEO and social sharing best practices to both optimize your Facebook page and foster engagement.” Short form: SEO for your Facebook page.
As he put it in his guest column:
Optimizing for Facebook Graph Search is not an exact science as the product (and the social graph itself) is continuing to evolve. What is certain, however, is that Facebook has huge amounts of data at its disposal and the platform has some of the strongest social signals on the Web. Businesses can and should take advantage of how Facebook presents structured data by optimizing for Graph Search today.
SEO and Content Marketing
Jonathan Piggins of the The Guardian recently delved into the question of where things stand with content marketing, an approach that seems to be pulling even with — and at times surpassing — traditional SEO. He wrote:
Type ‘small business funding’ into Google and Barclays’ content marketing strategy pays off because the brand ranks highly with an advice page. Likewise, type in ‘diets’ and both Sainsbury’s and Tesco appear high in the rankings, creating opportunities to further sell their products and increase brand loyalty.
These examples, like our own work showcased elsewhere on this website, show the effectiveness of the content marketing approach. Providing useful resources is key to ranking high on today’s Internet. As Piggins points out, this is hardly the death knell for SEO:
These scenarios do not herald the ‘death of SEO’. Far from it. The future lies in collaboration. The relationship between content marketing and SEO only reaches its true potential when it’s designed to be symbiotic. This means that brands need to underpin their content with SEO strategies like strong internal navigation. So the user finds a recipe via search term, then purchases all necessary ingredients and equipment, then participates in a social communities around the recipe. The idea is to use varied skills to build hubs around interdependent content and search terms in order to nurture cross-selling potential.
And there you have it. A nice summation of our own stance. Quality content combined with quality SEO is the winning combination.
The Rise of the Wearable
As one of the people chosen to try out Google Glass this is one category, I am obviously interested in. Brian Proffitt at ReadWrite takes a look at how mobile and the incipient wearable devices change the landscape for optimization. For one thing, the tiny screen size makes it an even more Darwinian battle for notice:
For search-engine optimization (SEO), this is a huge challenge: With contextual search, it’s no longer enough to get your business or product listed on the first Web page of results. On a mobile device, as well as in push situations, SEO is really effective only if you can push your results into the top position, or at least into the first few lines.
Wearable devices like Google Glass and the rumored iWatch could put even more pressure on search results. We don’t yet know what their interfaces will look like, but it seems safe to assume that there may be even less real estate available to display search results.
From the sneak peeks I’ve seen of Google Glass this is most certainly the case. I’ll be able to report back in more detail once I can experiment a bit.
So there you have it, a quick glance at the State of SEO near the mid-point of 2013. I wonder how much the landscape will have changed by the time we look back at the end of the year.
Photo By Sean MacEntee.
George “Loki” Williams is the community and brand manager for award wining game company Savage Mojo, Ltd. and the owner of SocialGumbo, LLC, an online consultancy specializing in Web content and online communications. Loki has produced content for clients including the Open Society Institute, National Association of Broadcasters, Kobold Press, and Kaiser Permanente. His work has been seen or written about in The New York Times, The BBC, Air America, The Gambit Weekly, and NOLA.com, among others.