We live in a very different search marketing world going into 2013 than we did at the end of 2011. Just think about all the changes that have happened in 2012. Google’s changes alone are enough to make your head spin.
- Google launches Penguin to fight web spam link building tactics and over optimization
- Google launches Panda updates #10 through #23 to their core algorithm in 2012, one of the most active years ever in search
- Google’s 7 result SERP (search engine result page)
- Mobile search advertising click growth of 339% year over year (2012 Q3 State of Paid Search Report)
- Google’s average CPC or cost-per-click fell 10% (Adobe 2012 report)
- Mobile clicks will account for roughly 25% of all visits from Google in 2013 (Searchenginewatch.com)
- Google’s Venice update which localized organic results on broad search queries
New Year, Same Old Tactics?
SEO Tactics to Avoid in 2013
1. Keyword stuffing
Do I need to explain why this is a bad thing? If someone asked you where to find a good seafood restaurant in town, would you tell them “Go to the crab house crab restaurant near the beach, you’ll find crab on sale crab cakes all you can eat crab”? Overuse of keywords can make Google crabby.
2. META tags
If you’re doing anything with META tags these days other than optimizing them for click through performance, you’re likely causing more problems than making improvements. META tags will have little impact on search this year other than improving clicks to your website. Think of these like you would pay-per-click ad copy, make changes over time to see how they impact your overall clicks.
3. Over optimized web pages
There was a day when keywords in your URLs, titles and headings had a very positive impact to your search visibility. While it’s good to have some keywords in your page names and URLs, don’t over optimize those URLs and headings with long strings of keywords. Again, don’t repeat yourself too many times.
4. Website Directories
Avoid self proclaimed “SEO Friendly” directories for building links. For a long time (most of the 2000s) getting your website listed in various web directories meant positive results for your SEO campaign. Have a real plan in place to attract links and visitors. Few people use these directories today which translates into few visits from these websites. Beyond a handful of the major directories, most are a waste of money and time.
5. Blogging for SEO
Zzzzzz. Boring blogs for the sake of SEO will have little or no impact. If you’re running a blog and have nothing interesting to say or share, don’t waste your time. If your blog doesn’t generate followers in social media or generate links from other websites it will likely have little impact on your results. Focus on creating unique and engaging content for readers. Use content to help build a brand and attract new customers. Use content to truly help people and you will be rewarded with incoming visitors and sales.
6. Dismissing mobile search
Mobile search is for real, folks. Take a look at your web analytics and see how many people visit your website from tablets and smart phones. It’s likely that number is somewhere between 10-30% and growing each month. I’m not saying that you need to focus all your energy on mobile visitors but you should have a mobile strategy in place to address the potential positive and negative impact mobile has on your website. Now is the time to start testing campaigns in mobile to learn more about your customers.
7. Not having time for social media
There’s always room for social media. When it comes to investing in online marketing often social media can take a back seat to traditional SEO, email marketing and general web design updates. Don’t let time and cost be an issue for getting your social media campaign started. With each Google update, we’ve seen more emphasis placed on social signals. The sooner you start your campaign, the farther ahead your team and company will be relative to competitors. It’s much more expensive to play catch up than it is to lead the way. The cost of marketing a business will only be greater in the future so plan and act now.
8. Traditional on page SEO
When I say “traditional SEO” what I really mean is search engine optimization as we knew it in 2005. In 2005 you would add lots of keyword rich copy to your website, move headings and other elements around the page to see what gives you the best rankings. On page optimization is starting to have less impact than it did just a few years ago. Unless you’re just starting a new business or e-commerce website, re-optimizing your on-page optimization will have little impact on search results in 2013.
9. Keyword rankings
To know where you stand in search engines, keywords are a good start but don’t focus on keywords alone. Keywords can be used as a guide and not an absolute measure of your campaign’s success. Are you improving your conversion rate while growing visitors? Are you targeting keywords based simply on volume projections? These are all questions you should ask when starting a campaign.
10. Loco for local
By not having a local search listing you are potentially missing out on local organic search results. An optimized Google+ local listing will also help you improve your placement among competitors.