It’s 2013, and if you think you can get away with using the same old SEO strategies you’ve been using for the last five years then you’re in for a rude awakening!
The SEO landscape has changed thanks to Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, and strategies that used to work before will now get your site buried so deep in the results you’ll need a shovel to find it (take it from someone who knows).
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So what is a savvy SEO to do? Here are some tips for improving your SEO strategy for 2013.
Write For People, Not Search Engines
I can’t stress this enough! If you’re an old school SEO like me, you’re probably used to writing a 500-word article based on a specific keyword that you include exactly 12 times in exactly the right locations with exactly the right keyword variations… blah blah blah.
This doesn’t work anymore. Although I do recommend to follow basic SEO tips but it’s time to move beyond that.
Gone are the days of writing keyword-stuff content specifically for search engines. For the first time, Google is really starting to pay attention to user engagement – and that means you need to write useful, interesting content that your visitors actually want to read.
The more people-friendly your content is, the more love you’re going to get from Google. Instead of focusing on which keywords you use where, Google now looks at things like how many pages of your website your visitors look at, how long they spend on a page, and their bounce rate.
How do you improve these numbers? By writing good content. Quality, useful content draws visitors in, which increases your time on the page and reduces your bounce rate. And if a visitor likes what they see, they’ll click around through the rest of your site, thus improving your pages per visit.
So what should you be aiming for with your pages/visit, visit duration, and bounce rate? We all know Google keeps its algorithms super secret, but the magic numbers seem to be as follows:
- Pages per visit: Ideally, you want this to be 2 or more.
- Visit duration: Ideally, you want 2 minutes or more.
- Bounce rate: Try and keep this below 55%.
Stop Ignoring Social Media
If you think social media has nothing to do with SEO, you couldn’t be more wrong! Remember how I said Google is focusing on user engagement? Well social cues are one of the ways Google measure user engagement.
As far as Google is concerned, if people like, share, or follow your content on social media platforms that means it’s good content… and good content gets good placement.
Facebook and Twitter are traditionally seen as the Big 2 in social media, but (surprise, surprise) Google actually places more importance on Google+. That means it’s more important than ever to add those +1 buttons to your content (and write good content so people actually use them!).
It’s also important that you optimize your Google+ profile as much as possible. To start, be sure to create and share compelling content. In addition, you can optimize your profile with your best keywords and links back to your website and other social media profiles.
With the right combination of content and social media, you can come out on top with SEO in 2013!
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