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SEO tips 2013


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Summary of SEO recommendations based on articles by different SEO experts, supplemented with my own insights.

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SEO tips 2013

  1. 1. Summary of SEO recommendations based on articles bydifferent SEO experts, supplemented with my own insights 1. Punishment for minimal SEO as well as for aggressive SEOWeb pages with minimal SEO and web pages with over-optimization, keyword stuffing, willbe punished. You’d better leave SEO works to experts who can elaborate on-page and off-page SEO flawlessly. 2. Devaluation and deterioration with decreasing freshness of content (QDF / Query Deserves Freshness score, FreshRank score)Today, algorithm refreshing influences 35-39% of searches. Refreshing rate score is based ontwo factors: how frequently the page changes and to what extent – e.g. number of comments,depth and time data of archives. It is recommended to have blogs both on the web page and onan external domain (with a sitemap notification system + XML-RPC ping allowing the use ofpublication protocols and alternative “pinging”. Content and backlinks deteriorate as timepasses so it is recommended to maintain a continuous flow of information based on pageviews. You have a number of possibilities to build on the effect of QDF preventing to lagbehind competition:  Using RSS feed (e.g. news aggregator sites)  Dynamic XML sitemap (mobile+image)  Social media signals (active and regular, two / week at least)  Increasing the number of fresh links – building links continuously, you should gradually build links less and less via link catalogues, use only relevant and useful link catalogues, and finally abandon link catalogues completely to be taken over by corporate blog writing with anchor texts 1
  2. 2.  Blogging – WP, Tumbr, Posterous, Blogger, etc., continuous posting by different authors, in different categories and tags, with different authorizations 3. Optimization of keyword frequency is not almighty anymoreRecently Mark Collier posted his research on The Open Algorithm blog, which was basicallya ranking factor study on 12,000 keywords. It analysed the first 100 hits for each keyword, so1.2 million websites were included. The result was a correlation of -0.028126693, whichmeans that there is no (or very little negative) correlation between keyword frequency andranking. That is why it is important to have relevant content. In general, lengthier content isbetter, but this notion is not based on rock solid facts. Generating long lasting quality content(FreshRank) is a hard job. Nowadays, good quality, relevant and important text contentshould be more detailed. For a blog post it is recommended to contain 700+ words (formerly aminimum number of 250 and 500 words was enough). 4. LT domain + LT keyword + little content + website left to its fatePages that contain too little content can expect poorer ranking. E.g. when the whole siteconsists of one single landing page focused and over-optimized on a certain long tail. 5. Use of automated link-exchange pages not recommended (paid link farms and references)It is expected that in every language area appearances in link farms will be continuouslydeleted, starting with the largest link farms in the widespread languages. Other “irrelevant”links, such as comment link spams, forum signature “stacking”, filtering and overview of paidlinks and link references of aggregators and reblog networks. 6. Increasing role of schema.orgIt is wise to assign programmers to study and use it as soon as possible. You should read theirblog as well. 7. Professional use of meta tags 2
  3. 3. Google evaluates negatively the “stacking” of title tags and descriptions (Google WMT, Meta tags should be checked and set properly at the Title/Keywords/Descriptionin the header (e.g. author, publisher, geo position, audience, etc.). 8. It is vital to use a sitemap (XML)It should be a hierarchic website map based on an updated ranking system, with appropriateanchor texts. A very deep “folder structure” is not recommended. Site maps for images andmobile site maps should be considered as well. 9. URL friendly systems are appreciatedAvoid non-URL-friendly CMS’s. They should be corrected or redirected, changing the codingwith a programmer if necessary. These should be done in line with the preferred principlesand platforms (Caconical,, WMT). The same content should not be accessible viadifferent URL’s. 10. Increasing role of images and Alt/Title textsIt is recommended to try different versions and write relevant descriptions for images. Usemore unique, preferably exclusive or own images. Copied or very widely used images areboring, and Google’s guidelines are likely to touch this area as well. It is not worth taking therisk. Buying stock images is an alternative, but users are now more aware that these are not“on the spot” or genuine images. It is expected to have an integrated image gallery systemwith good quality images, on a single page. 11. Test and optimize web browser in terms of compatibilityAlways use your web browser in the most updated form. Optimize your web pages accordingto the most recent developments for web browsers. Check RWD, Responsive Layout,resolution (Full HD recommended), and how people use their browsers locally. 12. Contact form, CAPTCHA, spam filtersContact forms are generally less preferred, it takes time for users to fill them out. A real,reliable company should not hide its contact info behind a contact form. Showing an e-mailaddress is the simplest and most credible way. The e-mail address should not be by a public 3
  4. 4. provider (e.g. gmail or yahoo mail) since it creates mistrust. We can use contact forms fororders or communication with other departments. In this case set the CAPTCHA code. Takecare of filtering spam, don’t type spaces or @ signs. 13. SEO role of webshops becoming more importantThe number of good e-commerce CMS’s is very small these days. Generally, these systemscontain many errors, which should be corrected by experts. Basic SEO problems are mainlydue to URL structure, unnecessary word repetitions, missing breadcrumbs, little original textat product pages, a lot of text copied from other sources. In addition, more care should betaken in terms of posting corporate news regularly and managing anchor texts. Usemicroformats ( 14. Google Suggest becoming better in spelling correctionSo you don’t have to deliberately misspell titles and meta tags. Otherwise, this would lead tounnecessary keyword cumulation. 15. BreadcrumbsIt is important to reduce the number of “back steps” and besides, breadcrumbs are essential inuser experience (ease of use and clarity) as well. 16. Proper use of anchor textsTo this date, many companies still do not know how to use these properly. “Read more”,“Download here”, “Click here” are still improper anchor references. Too many keywordanchor texts lead to over-optimization, when some keywords are present in backlinks in anabnormal quantity. Google probably will not tolerate this so these pages will likely be rankedpoorer. 17. Use “share” on your web pagesUse “Share this” or “Add this”. Put the icons of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest,Youtube, G+, RSS, and of other local social media sites on your page. Don’t forget to checkhow much it may increase the downloading time of the web page. Compatible scripts shouldalso be inserted in xhtml / html5 coding. 4
  5. 5. 18. Apply map servicesInsert one of the maps from Google / Bing / Yahoo / Viamichelin / 3D / Streetview. Placescripts relevant to the local language and market. 19. Microformats gaining groundRich snippets, Author, rel-tags, hCard, hReview, hProduct, hCalendar, XFN, etc. Only a fewcompanies use these at present. They are very useful and effective. It is worth studying andusing them. 20. Prepare product or service presentation videosAudio-visual content is still becoming more important since people have decreasing time forlearning and gathering information. A corporate video channel at Youtube, Vimeo, or at alocally relevant video sharing site is crucial. The videos should be interesting and of goodquality in terms of content, filming, editing, etc. and they also should include cross links. 21. Page speed and server speedOnly fast servers can provide fast page downloading. SSD RAID and Cloud SSD arerecommended. Optimize the download of your page – Gzip, Js and “merging” other scripts,use of CSS3 / CSS4, compression of images. Programming errors and xhtml / html5 errorsshould also be corrected. 22. Role of algorithms of TrustRank, SemRush, Compete, MozRankAt present they seem to be neutral within the algorithm, however, it is better to keep an eye ontheir weight. 23. Mobile SEOWhen considering mobile SEO, the most important task is to harmonize the content anddesign with the search behaviour on mobile devices. After coming up with a strategy, you 5
  6. 6. should decide, which is more beneficial: using a Responsive Web Design (RWD) or usingseparate mobile URL’s. Creating a mobile sitemap can also be useful. 24. Copying content entails more severe punishmentThe number of notifications on rights infringement, sent out by Google to the site owner, willbe considered. Even the rewritten texts are being monitored, so the one who copies a text andrewrites some words in it will not get any further, since the algorithm watches the number andtype of the words used in the rewriting. So there’s no free meal. Compose individual texts, donot try to rephrase someone else’s sentences. You can also assign bolggers, journalists, orcopywriters to do the job. 25. Role of Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI)This shows you the estimated performance of a word or phrase on the “market”. It is themonthly number of searches for a keyword divided by the number of search results. Thehigher the better. So a very popular keyword can have a poor KEI if it is used very muchacross the net, so it would be very hard, and not necessarily effective, to be among the firstresults for that keyword. 26. Benefits of a ccTDL domain name and suggestions for storage space typesIn 2012, primarily company names or brand names + keywords were suitable, or even 2-3long tail keywords (up to 15 characters in length) – because of WOM + Google. You shouldnot use numbers or special characters if you can help it. Country-code top-level domains arepreferred (e.g. .de, .ca) followed by .com, .net, .org, .eu in terms of effectiveness. Otherendings are not recommended.Storage space:  Possibility for data base use and management  Capability of running own .htaccess  Speed and innovation: SSD Raid, Private (SSD) Cloud, Vmware (vSphere), (e.g. Amazon Cloud, Dropbox, SugarSync, Bitcasa, Google Drive, Akamai, Cloudflare).  Certificate of Web server SSL (recommended for https webshops and Google favours it)  Capability of running PHP5 scripts (WP, Joomla, Drupal), physical place of storage space is not relevant any more from a SEO perspective  High FTP security: SSL support, regular backup saving (including databases)  High speed / broadband internet access 6
  7. 7.  Private virtual FTP server, FTP antivirus system, antivirus system for e-mails, spam filter. Extras: Photo sharing, PayPal, other CMS, Blog, Forum, E-commerce, Video streaming, Green hosting, money-back guarantee, etc.Those highlighted above are highly important for SEO. 27. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)Channelled communication: redirection of content to enhance CTR and increase sales. 28. Go more visualUse familiar font types (Times New Roman, Verdana, Arial, etc.) and flexible web design thatautomatically adjusts to the web browser parameters. Make font enlargement available forpartially sighted people. Offer possibility for commenting, printing, referring your page toothers. If your site’s structure is sophisticated, teachusers how to get along. If your service iscomplex to describe, use videos, RWD, UX, info graphics, presentations, etc. 29. Web ergonomicsSEO is part of user experience. When designing a website, SEO principles should be takeninto account. Conversion is the main purpose of both SEO and web ergonomics. 30. Role of User Experience (UX)SEO works from text codes and is not related to design. Design is for users and not for searchengines. Without positive user experience, SEO won’t do the job. Therefore your site shouldbe user-friendly, easily scanned by the eye, understandable, and retina-friendly with beautifulimages and high resolution graphic solutions. It should be a joy to use and look at yourwebsite. 31. Social graph and social signals  Number of brand likers on Facebook  Number of shares and comments on Facebook  Twitter shares and company name appearances  Presence in Google+ circles  Pinterest posts, Klout scores (maybe) 7
  8. 8. People spend more time on social network sites and tend to be more in contact with theirfavourite brands through these sites.If it is people that consider a website trustworthy and relevant (Google +1), it counts morethan a search engine’s “opinion”. Google takes this into account, and the role of AuthorRankis rising as well. As for SMO, direct the users to your website with comments and posts youwrote on social sites. Furthermore, there is always a risk of acquisition of these sites and thenew owner can implement new regulations. Thus you may lose links pointing to your websiteand the social sites can be turned into “paid” sites (like PRO versions). 32. AuthorRankIt has an effect on ranking. It is important what position your company has in G+ circles, howoften you publish or post on social network sites, how many links you have, etc. 33. Content rules, but…!Think about what percentage of content stays relevant and useful in a year’s time. Google isfocusing on that too. A professional blogger’s regular publications attract a great number ofreaders to his or her blog page. This number gets even bigger when the page is backed bySMO and other channels of communication. Employing a star blogger can be expensive, butyou can use experienced journalists and copywriters as well to provide fresh, reliable,credible, unique, and interesting content regularly on your company and the products,services, events, etc. 34. More real experts and much more spoilers in SEOAccording to Search Engine Watch, SEO companies and experts knew and monitored 63%better the SEO figures and meters in 2012 than they had done in 2011. As SEO people getsmarter, companies should as well – continuously managing their SEO activities with realexperts in order to stay on the surface. 35. Invest in mobile technologyA recent study by Morgan Stanley shows that mobile internet usage will possibly outperformdesktop usage as early as the beginning of 2014. So the number of searches on tablets andmobile phones will soon surpass that of PC’s. This is an astonishing forecast and even nowtakes an impact on international corporations. If you haven’t yet invested in a strategyfocusing on mobile technology, it would be wise to do so in 2013, hopefully before yourcompetitors. For news reading and shopping, mobile devices are the most suitable. However,they still have some disadvantages: small size (excluding tablets), long download times (pageslacking RWD), and mobile internet network flaws. But users have an increasing demand for 8
  9. 9. getting information as fast as possible on their mobile devices. Web pages should getdownloaded very fast, and preferably without resizing (RWD). According to mobileergonomics, good quality and more compact content is expected by users. Search engines willtake into account if a user searches on a mobile device or not. Google’s search engine todayprefers sites that use RWD. 36. Taking local specifications into considerationLeading local search engines should also be examined when optimizing, e.g. Baidu in China,Yandex in Russia. Consider automatic language redirection based on IP addresses, local dateformats, and pay attention to the meaning of certain graphic elements and colours in differentcountries. Examine local user behaviour and don’t leave translating jobs to a software. It canbe useful to register in significant local catalogues and to choose an appropriate local domainname (ccTDL). Don’t forget about local data protection and internet laws, and ethical orcopyright regulations. 37. Monitoring and web analytics are a mustSo you get information about local search trends, user behaviour, rankings, local keywords,new competitors – elaborating a competitive research is recommended every three months. Itis wise to use more (2-4) analytics systems and draw conclusions on an objective basis. Theuse of Google and Bing WMT is highly recommended. Unfortunately, when people sign in totheir Google accounts, they are redirected to an https connection, so you do not see the trafficgoing to your website. An increase of proportion of not provided keywords is expected to risebecause of this. 38. Integrate instant communication features within your websiteGive users more chance to communicate instantly, use several API’s – Twitter, FacebookChat, Skype, Chat, etc. Don’t forget about time differences and always have someone whocan answer users immediately. If you don’t have the capacity, use a sub-contractor, but it ismore credible if you assign in-house staff with these tasks.SummaryWe, SEO experts are no oracles, nor Google software engineers. So we cannot state with totalconfidence what kind of changes will come in 2013 and whether these will be included in thealgorithm or not. However, based on the insights mentioned before, it is very likely that asignificant improvement will occur in terms of user experience of web pages optimized for 9
  10. 10. mobile devices – regardless of what SEO efforts will be rewarded or punished. I definitelyadvise you to follow SEO trends (either with the help of an expert), analyse the probableeffects in your own area of operations, and think about what you should change and when.Search engine optimization may have a somewhat misleading meaning because it suggeststhat we should optimize only for search engines. I have always considered it important tofocus on the aspect of user experience because it will also enhance our search engine resultsin the long run. The new direction seems to be Search Experience Optimization (SXO), whichcombines Search Engine Optimization and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).As a final thought, please bear in mind the words of Charles Darwin:“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It isthe one that is the most adaptable to change.” Budapest, 21/12/2012 10