As we look forward to 2013, the New Year provides limitless opportunities and the chance to nail down our SEO to-do lists. As we go through our lists, it's important to remember that there are short-term SEO tasks that we undertake on an almost daily basis, as well as bigger picture SEO initiatives that may not be implemented overnight and will take time and solid effort.
The seven initiatives listed below are among the most critical to undertake in 2013 for in-house SEOs. If you’re already working on some of them, then it's worth your effort to go all in to reap the maximum SEO rewards.
1. Rel=Author Tag
We're living in an influencer economy of sorts. Influencers can be celebrities, bloggers, authors, or other industry leaders.
Because we're in an influencer economy, and so much content is being created, the one way to differentiate content is by how many other people are sharing that content or talking about that content. An influencer has the ability to share a specific piece of content that gets more shares and gets talked about it by their followers.
For search engines, especially Google, influencers are a great solution to separate the wheat from the chaff. Not so long ago, Matt Cutts said that “over time, as we start to learn more about who the high quality authors are, you could imagine that starting to affect rankings.”
2. Mobile Search
Mobile marketing is becoming increasingly important every year, and that trend will continue in 2013. Already, roughly 16 percent of searches come from mobile devices. This means local searches will be reaching their full potential both in SEO and in PPC.
Local businesses can no longer afford to excuse themselves from SEO or Internet marketing in general. This increase in mobile searches also means that site owners need to ensure that their site is served up well on mobile devices like having one site for desktop and other for mobile device.
3. Social Search Integration
No doubt, you've heard lots of buzz about social search and how Google +1’s and shares are going to be important. Well, this is the year when you will see not just +1’s on Google and Facebook shares on Bing integrated more into traditional search results on topics that are shared, but also related topics on the same site.
Facebook just announced a major social graph search feature this week. This changes the way we search online and over time it will change consumer behavior and search as we know it today.
I tend to think there will be two kinds of search in the near future:
A search on documents, videos, blogs, etc. in the form of Google and Bing.
A search that's more driven by friends and their recommendations by leveraging Facebook’s social graph.
As an in-house SEO, you can work closely on your Facebook brand pages to ensure that all pictures, posts, etc. are tagged correctly and optimized for search.
4. Video SEO
Video is great for engagement and because of the intrinsic social sharing options in video it is great for rankings. More marketers will be leveraging video content on their site but it would be critical to optimize those videos for SEO.
In-house SEOs will have no dearth of video content in their companies. The challenge is to bring together content from all different departments into a central repository. Many large companies also have a digital asset management (DAM) group where most video content is also stored.
As in-house SEOs, your role is to bring together all the video content and work on optimizing those videos. You can also work on uploading to social channels like YouTube as that will also have big SEO gains.
5. Online PR, SEO & Social Media Integration
We have seen statements from Google that on links embedded in a news release and how much it counts towards rankings. The fact is news releases are great not just from links point of view but overall findability of your content.
The tough part for in-house SEOs is to ensure that SEO is integrated as part of process before any news release goes out. PR or corporate communications can be bit stiff when it comes to time sensitive news releases as they are working under tight deadlines.
In 2013, it's time to integrate yourself with your corporate communications and start optimizing and working social media channels on your press releases.
6. Focus on Google+
Even though community building on Google+ falls in the realm of your social media team, as SEO professionals you need to ensure that there is some sort of focus on Google+ from your social team.
In 2012 we saw steady growth on Google+ and new features being launched on the platform. Depending on the industry, Google+ has the potential to cater to niche audience with its hangout feature a real standout.
From an SEO point of view, allows your visitors to share your content by ensuring that Google+ hooks are embedded in your content.
7. Think Holistically
SEO is simply another channel to acquire customers. As in-house SEO professionals, it's essential for you to not just work with other marketing teams but also learn new skills like PPC, usability, or social media, and adopt new tactics like retargeting.
Think of this as becoming an integrated digital marketer. For current SEO pros to get ahead in their career, it's essential to learn other skills and become an integrated digital marketer.
As in-house SEO there will be the daily grind that you just can't escape, but it's important to look at the bigger picture especially at the year ahead and list the big picture stuff.
The above initiatives are not something that can be achieved over night and as such requires deeper integration with other teams. And like any big initiatives, this requires time and lot of planning.
Those are my top seven initiatives for 2013. What initiatives do you plan to work on this year?