Typically Google make over 400 changes to their search algorithm every year. This is done so they can continue to deliver what they believe to be the best and most relevant search results. These range from minor tweaks that go unnoticed, to massive updates that have seen some websites severely penalised and drop into obscurity.
For example one such update that occurred in April 2012 caused some high-ranking sites to drop dramatically down the results due to duplication of content, link anchor text and dubious SEO practices which were previously overlooked by Google. SEO was changing – the rule book was being rewritten.
Now few people could argue that an algorithm change that rewards websites that provide fresh, high quality content is a bad thing. So in light of these changes, what do you need to do to ensure your site is one that is rewarded, and not penalised?
Now few people could argue that an algorithm change that rewards websites that provide fresh, high quality content is a bad thing. So in light of these changes, what do you need to do to ensure your site is one that is rewarded, and not penalised? Here’s a summary of the biggest changes from Google and how it will affect you in 2013.
Poor quality content is bad for SEO
Google is now sophisticated enough to tell if you content is poorly written. It will check if your web content:
- has spelling or punctuation errors
- is keyword stuffed
- contains too many ads or outbound links
- contains any one of a raft of poor quality signals
If you think your webpage content is not up to scratch, it’s time to review it. The SEO rules just got a lot tougher, and what was acceptable a year ago is not now.
Fresh is good
I’m not saying that well written but aging content is bad. Far from it. Those older articles add important depth to your website. But if you don’t add fresh content regularly you can’t expect to obtain great results in Google search. Google loves to see fresh content. It’s even better if you can mention a recent newsworthy event or trending topic.
As an absolute minimum, make a point of adding or updating web content every month. More often if you can.
The two big updates last year mean that in 2013 original content is one of the most important signals used in determining your website’s quality, and ultimately where it will be displayed in the SERP’s. One of the worst things you can do is to copy information verbatim from supplier’s/manufacturer’s websites, or publish product information exactly as it is found on countless other sites.
Original content is a critical component of SEO. If you aren’t confident writing good content, hire a professional to do it for you. You mustn’t underestimate the importance of this.
In 2013 Google also wants to know who wrote the content and how much it gets shared. They are encouraging people and businesses to have Google+ profiles and actively use them. Google Authorship has been introduced to enable content authors to tag their articles, webpages and blog posts as belonging to their Google+ profile. It is believed that this provides another ranking signal that will only become more important in the future for SEO. My advice would be to make use of authorship and benefit from any advantage that you can.
Good web design
Sadly, a website built using old design principles or technology will not be viewed as favourably as one developed using current best practice. If your site uses Flash, tables-based design, or is more than 3 years old it would be wise to review it. Technical errors are frowned upon and can impact your ranking.
What’s needed for 2013?
The rules of SEO are constantly changing. Whilst many of the old strategies are still valid, others will provide no benefit – or worse! For 2013 I believe effective web strategies need to include:
- writing original, high quality content on a regular basis
- using Google Authorship to say “I wrote it”
- technically correct web design and architecture
And of course social media will have a big part to play as well. But that is another story that I will cover in detail in a future post.
The video below explains in detail the critical steps you need to take to achieve success with your SEO.
By Aaron Enright