It has been reported that in a typical year Google makes as many as 500 minor adjustments to its search engine algorithms.
In 2012 major changes that had huge impact on rankings were seen with the Panda and Penguin updates. Looking ahead to 2013 there are some areas expected to draw greater attention as well.
Some Key Items to Watch and Prepare For!
Though nobody can accurately predict all of the changes that may come about in 2013 there are some prevailing expectations and areas of interest. If you keep some of these in mind as you prepare your strategy for maintaining or attaining high rankings in searches you can be prepared to take advantage of changes as opposed to being negatively impacted by them.
- It is widely expected for Author Rank to assume an ever increasing importance in search rankings.
In simplest term, Google has been and will continue to monitor authors of content all over the web. Based on the reputation of that author (as determined by the strength of sites they have content on and feedback from social media as measured by sharing, tweets, etc.) a ranking will be assigned to them.
A high ranking may well be used to increase the rankings of sites that publish content by that author. Conversely, have a lot of content from very low ranked authors could have a negative impact on the sites ranking.
- As a blogger, your ranking will be determined by the reputation you already have.
Google may use the author rank it has assigned to you based on the content you have already written in the past for your own blog. Based on the way it determines your authority or expertise in given areas or your particular niche your Author rank is very or very low your ranking may well change to reflect that.
- If as an author you have attained a good reputation your blog and the content on your blog will reflect that with higher rankings.
To further push this process everything you publish likely will be automatically linked to your Google+ profile. The bottom line is your reputation and the reputation of contributors to your blog will be given considerable weight in determining the search ranking of your site.
Mobile Friendly is a Must
Over 1/3 of internet traffic is estimated to be from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Websites that do not fully support mobile browsers or that are deemed not ‘mobile friendly (non-standard pixel widths as an example) will be hurt in rankings.
In addition, if a search originates from a mobile device it will not appear at all in the search results. A key strategy for on-page SEO will be to ensure your website is mobile compatible.
An Even Greater Role for Social Media
Social media will continue to grow in importance. If you have a website or blog and have not yet fully integrated the major social media outlets such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc. then it is time to do so.
More importantly, simply having the logo will not be considered to be integrated- you will need to begin to actively use these outlets to achieve or maintain higher rankings. If your content and website is popular on social media your rankings will improve. The measure for that popularity will be shares, tweets, +1 , etc. The concept is if people can find it on social media outlets and are looking for it there then the search engines want to make certain it is just as easy to find by people doing related searches.
Co-Citation is Widely Expected to be a Consideration
Co-Citation is a relatively new term in reference to Search Engine Optimization and search rankings. In the past in order to get credited or gain authority and rankings it was required to have a link posted to your website from other websites.
It was by counting these links and the assigned value of the site they came from that a ranking could be determined. This may be changing.
The downside of using only the backlink method of determining influence is that often you do not actually get a link even when something is attributed to you. The example used in a SEOMoz video conference was:
Many sites talk about ‘cell phone ratings’ and ‘Consumer reports’ in the same breath but don’t actually link to ConsumerReport.org.
But Google (getting smarter all the time) is able to figure out that 1) the phrases ‘cell phone rating’ and ‘consumer reports’ often appear close together, and 2) Consumer Reports as a ‘branded phrase’ is highly relevant to Consumerreports.org.
Therefore on a search for ‘cell phone ratings,’ ConsumerReports.org has a high probability of showing up.
As the search engine algorithms get ‘smarter’ they will continue to use and improve on these concepts to make search results more relevant and less likely to be manipulated artificially. In 2013 expect this to be a prevailing theme.
What do you think? Is it hard to get higher ranking in search engine? What will be direction of SEO in 2013? Share with us
Amanda Revie writes for the WebMarketing Group, a specialist SEO agency in the UK.