Every eight weeks, Search London holds an event for those working in SEO, PPC and Social, and Wednesday was the event that no-one wanted to miss; SEO in 2013. Guest speakers were digital communications consultant, Lee Smallwood and founder of SEOgadget, Richard Baxter.
Although both presentations covered completely different subject matters, the key message throughout was that linkbuilding as we’ve known it is ‘dead’. It’s no longer about manually building links, it’s about creating great content, which will then lead to our audience building the links we need. Below I’ve listed my key notes from the presentations and my thoughts about what was discussed.
Lee Smallwood talked about the need for a Google+ profile and what needs to be done in order to get the most out of it for SEO. Even taking basic steps like including an Image in a Google+ post will help to capture the attention of your audience and increase the click-through rate (CTR). Mixing up the content published on your blog or website and your Google+ profile can also help. For example, you could split your posts and publish half on Google+, the other half on your website.
In my opinion, Google+ is a social platform that presently provides more benefits to SEO than it does to SMO. Connecting and engaging with authoritative, like-minded individuals and brands will, in turn, give a user more authority in their given field. Attracting the attention of these people to the point where they are willing to put you in their circles is the hardest part, but the most rewarding. Once again, producing authoritative content is key, as Google Authorship links content to its author. This means that more content is being attributed to your Google+ profile, creating a more personalised and attractive listing in the SERP.
Make that content the best it can possibly be and you will not only be encouraging a better CTR, you stand a much better chance of attracting the attention of other professionals in your industry.
Richard Baxter discussed how traditional SEO techniques alone just aren’t enough anymore. We need to be more creative and able to work to a budget.
“In 2013, we optimise everything”
This was quite possibly my favourite quote of the evening; optimise everything as if it is linkbait. 404 pages? Personalise them, make them memorable, and people will link to them. Listen to what your audience wants and make sure your content is exactly what they want to see. Then optimise this content. Makes sense, right?
So the principle is “we’re not SEOs anymore, we’re marketers”
The role of an SEO has evolved and strongly follows the principals of traditional marketing; who are our audience? Where can we find our audience? How can we target our audience with the best message? How can we gain the trust of our audience? If we can answer these questions, then we’ve got our strategy.
The old days of manipulating the search engines into thinking that each manually built link is a vote of popularity just doesn’t hold the authority that it used to. Search engines are getting smarter, meaning that there is no simple fix for building links. And that phrase we keep hearing reappears; Content is King.
That said, when we are looking to strategise for 2013, we shouldn’t let ourselves get too carried away with fantastic new content creation strategies and forget about the basics – technical on-site optimisation like title tags and addressing crawl errors are still ranking factors and will still lay the foundations for an effective SEO strategy.
The discussion points in this blog post are merely the tip on the iceberg for my 2013 expectations. But if I had to highlight one key area I also expect to make its mark in 2013, I’d have to say device optimisation. Mobile is something that we’ve heard bandied around a lot recently, especially in the run up to Christmas. But the problem with this as a strategy is that we’re not necessarily just going to be looking at mobile phones. Tablets are becoming increasingly popular and with the launch of Google TV, there are now more considerations in optimisation. It is not enough to simply optimise for each device on a technical basis. There are various states of mind that the user will be in when engaging with different devices, and this also needs to be considered. I expect device optimisation to play a key role for digital marketers in 2013. (Blog post on device optimisation strategy to follow).
Wednesday’s Search London event was an engaging reaffirmation of what SEOs are already expecting for 2013 as well as a reminder that the role of an SEO is constantly evolving. Strategy is more important than ever, and basic marketing principals should remain at the core of this.
Want to know more?