SEO has evolved a lot over the past few years and updates such as Google’s Penguin and Panda updates have improved the user experience for search engine users by improving the relevancy of search results and reducing spam sites from appearing.
If you want to improve your SEO efforts, here are my top 10 SEO tips to focus on for 2013:
1. Create Unique Content
We all know that content is king and creating fresh and unique content is what everyone including the search engines are looking for. So avoid duplicate content and focus on creating unique content that provides value to your users. If your content is good enough, not only will you naturally attract more readers, but the search engines will also credit you accordingly.
2. Use Different Anchor Text
To avoid search engines potentially flagging your website as spam, you should diversify your internal and external anchor text. Although using an exact match keyword for anchor text is probably less important than it was a few years ago, a website that uses the same anchor text over and over again, is likely to be flagged up by the search engines. So you should avoid exact matching keywords and instead use different variants of the keyword, company name or descriptive text for the anchor text in your links.
3. Vary Your Link Building Efforts
You should vary your link building strategies to naturally build up your backlinks. Instead of focusing on one tactic, you should instead use a number of different strategies to build up your links. For example, if you only focus on guest posts on the same sites, eventually these could be seen as low quality by the search engines. Instead, you should use a number of different link building tactics to spread the risk and gain different links from different sites.
4. Diversify Your Traffic Sources
You’ve probably heard of the saying, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Well the same is also true for your traffic sources – that is you should spread your eggs in many different baskets. There’s no doubt that Google is the top search engine to optimize for, but with the frequent algorithm updates the company releases, can your website survive if it was penalized or if Google suddenly went offline?
If you solely depend on one source for the majority of your traffic, you should seriously consider diversifying your traffic sources to protect yourself in the future and reduce your risk.
5. Implement Semantic Mark-up
Although this does not directly improve your search rankings, adding special semantic mark-up via rich snippets on your website can potentially improve the Click Through Rates (CTR) of your search result listing by highlighting certain information such as a photograph of yourself or testimonials from your customers with your search results.
By highlighting such information, you can gain more attention and attract more potential users to your site from the search results page, therefore improving the chance a user will click through from the search results to your website.
6. Get On Videos
You could say that many people prefer watching videos to reading and getting to the places where your users are, is important. So creating an interesting video can make it even easier to rank in the search results. This is especially true if your video has a lot of views and a lot of comments, potentially bringing you a lot of referral traffic to your website.
7. Optimize for Mobile Users
It has been said that mobile search is set to surpass desktop search by 2014 and with more people accessing information from smartphones or tablets, it’s becoming ever more important for us to optimize for mobile users.
Different ways to optimize for mobile users include creating a responsive design of your website or creating a separate website just for mobile users. Failing to optimize your website for mobile users means you’ll lose the potential of mobile traffic coming to your website.
8. Optimize for Locals
A recent study from YP.com found that “for consumers, local search is a near-daily ritual – 4 in 10 individuals use local search once a day, while two-thirds use local search at least 3-4 times per week.” With more and more users performing local searches on the move, failing to optimize for local search can be the difference between someone finding you or finding one of your local competitors.
9. Improve Your User’s Experience
SEO is all about your visitors and one aspect that is often forgotten is the user experience. That is, once a user lands on your website, does the experience end there? The answer is no. Factors such as site speed, bounce rates and average time spent on your website are all used by the search engines to determine a suitable search results ranking.
Put yourself in the seat of your users and ask yourself could the user experience be improved further on your website? Is the structure and information easy to navigate and find? By improving the user experience, users stay longer on your website and you can naturally increase traffic to your site.
10. Social Media Marketing
Having a social media marketing strategy can have a positive effect on your existing SEO strategies because it allows you be present on a number of different platforms to spread the word about your brand or website.
Unless you have a large budget, you should limit the number of social media networks you are on and instead focus on building relationships with your users and niche before moving onto the next platforms. Google has also mentioned that it does take into account social signals to determine search rankings, which makes having a presence on social media sites even more important.
Ving Chou is the founder of VC Marketing and provides more SEO tips in his Beginners Guide To SEO book.