As I'm finishing my 2012 year end recap, successes and failures alike, it's also time to construct my 2013 map. With google releasing a zoo of animals, and ever changing algorithms and landscapes, I started to change how I think about search engines.
Sure I will maintain the "best practices" of creating unique & accurate page titles, optimizing content, improve SERP visibility with semantic markup, implement social media tactics, optimize map listings, build out mobile pages, optimize IYPs & data aggregators for consistent data validation & relevant back links, blah, blah, blah....
But in 2012 search engines proved that we could not manipulate them as easily as in the past. This coming year we must realize that they will; reduce organic screen space, start changing organic results to paid results, favor brand popularity over quality and will reserve analytics data for paying advertisers.
So my 2013 plan will include focusing on new content. Creating it. Evangelizing it. If you’re not writing and publishing content yourself, provide topic and keyword guidance to those who do. Train your copywriters to optimize as they compose. Arrange to SEO review everything BEFORE it gets published.
Results will also vary now by "screens." Desktop, pads and mobile will have their own sets of customized results based on device type. Most people will use their pads next to their desktops at work and home. Search results will need to match up for brand consistency. Mobile devices are largely used outside the home or office, when a larger screen is not available. You can be sure the search engines are tracking what types of results users select on these different devices.
Google’s new WYSIWYG tool for identifying structured data is an interesting development. As sites use this, it will provide the search engine with a wealth of new data it can apply to create or tweak algorithms that identify “structure-able” data on any website, and then influence both Google’s search results and presentation. I imagine this type of application is a ways off, but it does signal Google’s interest in identifying and using structured data. If you haven’t yet, add RDFa or Schema.org markup into your pages and templates.
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