Recently, a web design company that hadn’t been doing much SEO lately was wondering what is different
in 2013 vs. 2009.
Here are the four things that have changed for smaller, local sites.
1. The emergence of Google+ and with it the idea of Author Rank. There is an “author” meta tag that allows you to connect the website to a Google Plus profile. This creates a positive signal because the search engines are looking for more signs of who made the content in addition to what page or domain it’s on.
2. Two years of Panda updates have devalued anchor text and are now more forgiving of links that use natural language.
3. Meta description and title tags are still very important and useful. Meta descriptions directly effect click thru rates and every year Google gets better in recognizing performance metrics and thus rewarding “clickier” pages with higher rankings.
4. As Google gets better at performance metrics it grows to hate old school link building. In 2013, link building is completely different from 2009 and seems to be melding with traditional PR in that you have to market content to good authors and editors not just publish content on good pages.
For large sites, enterprise SEO if you will, the two biggest changes have been.
1. Google’s desire to give leading brands in a given category more opportunities to be seen.
2. Even more importantly then that, the flood of awesome site management tools available for working with site architecture, landing pages and dynamic URLs.
As late as 2009, search engine rankings were dominated by smaller niche players who could engineer their marketing process, even their whole business model around achieving high search rankings. Big brands lagged because they couldn’t easily make the changes necessary for their site to rank well. This gap has closed and I am forecasting that smaller sites need to diversify with email marketing and paid search because it seems like SEO rankings will favor larger companies that the searcher knows or has heard of already.
Hope that helps.