If you are not ranking in the top of the search engines, most likely you are missing a huge opportunity. I have seen the impact it can have on businesses both big and small and it can be quite substantial. That being said, it is becoming more difficult every year to obtain rankings in the search engines. Google's goal is to ensure the search results are as targeted as possible to the keyword searched. To do this Google is constantly trying to determine new ways that will ensure the results are more accurate. Working with Julie Perrigan, Rise Interactive's SEO manager, we believe that the four major trends to focus on in 2013 are authorship, social, mobile, and quality content.
One major shift gaining a lot of traction is that Google is giving a lot more weight to individual content authors, which they refer to as Author Rank. The more content an author creates and syndicates, the more authoritative they will be considered in a particular field. Have the experts in your organization publish content to establish themselves as industry thought leaders, and Google will reward your efforts in the search rankings.
Due to the growth of social media, it is easier than ever before to share content in the social media stratosphere. From Google's perspective, the more a piece of content is shared (through Google+, retweets, Facebook shares, etc.), the more relevant it is to a larger audience, and thus, its search rankings will increase. Create engaging, shareable content and actively participate in conversations on social media.
Google has seen mobile search grow 500 percent in the past two years and 40 percent of users have turned to a competitor's site after a bad mobile experience. Since most companies have not optimized their websites for mobile, there's a huge opportunity to grab market share by optimizing your website for mobile. However, when developing a mobile strategy it's crucial for a company to understand how people are using their mobile devices to search, so they can ensure they are providing the most appropriate and relevant content for the mobile device.
With recent changes in search engine algorithms, quality content is becoming infinitely more important as websites with inadequate or spammy content are plummeting in the search rankings. Quality content adds value and gives people a reason to link to you, and Google values high quality links. Now more than ever, companies must stop taking SEO shortcuts and strive to be industry leaders by building webpages with useful and informative content, which will lead to better conversion opportunities.
Stating the need for high quality content is easy; getting your client or marketing department to buy in and understand the efforts to create quality content can be more difficult. While "content" has always been a trend, 2013 is the year that a quality content strategy will need to be implemented in order to gain traction in SEO.
To sum it up, companies want to be winners in their industries, and the race to be the best has moved online. Learning how to "dominate the digital shelf" (i.e. getting the top spot in online search results) is one way to rise above your business rivals.