Anyone who relies upon or provides SEO services is keenly aware that 2012 was a crazy ride. Whether you agree or disagree with the algorithm changes that were launched in 2012, in order to be successful in 2013 you need to understand the current methods of Google SEO best practices. This article is offered as a reference for some of the essential SEO practices that you need to know.
What too many SEO companies and business owners overlook is that organic rankings and local search rankings require unique methods. Your company needs to capture both top organic AND top local search placements to get optimal results from online marketing.
You Need Organic SEO and Local SEO
Aside from algorithm changes Panda and Penguin, there are additional SEO related changes that are equally important to consider.
Local results are fully integrated into organic results
This means that you have to manage both local SEO and organic SEO to truly dominate a search engine results page (SERP).
Google Places SEO – Local SEO
Local SEO for Google Places Business Pages, aka Google Maps and Google Place Pages, is not as difficult as, and far more valuable, than you might believe. Even if your business does not heavily rely on local customers, having a well optimized Google Places business page can help your organic SEO efforts.
Google Places Business Pages Optimization
To affect a top placement among Google Places competitors you need to attend to every possible detail. Your Google Business Page should be complete with accurate and detailed, but non-spam, information. There are over 500 specific areas that can influence the “power” of your local search listing.
We strongly encourage you to read and refer to the Local Search Ranking Factors article by David Mihm. This is a very useful tool that strips away the fluff and gives you a point-by-point checklist of how to improve your local search rankings.
Google Organic Ranking SEO
To be successful in organic rankings you have to manage both on-page and off-page SEO methods. How this is achieved depends upon whether you are a do-iy-yourself SEO person or you outsource your SEO work.
On-Page Google SEO
On-page SEO is probably the most important area for you to focus your attention. We have published many articles on this blog with specifics on SEO for 2013.
Off-Page Google SEO
Off-page SEO includes things like link building, search engine submissions and verifications, link baiting, social bookmarking, content marketing, social media signals, document sharing, blogging, internet press releases, and offline marketing efforts. Any of these items could be an article of its own so we will not expand on these here but will publish another article to discuss off-page SEO for 2013.
SEO To Overcome Ranking Losses in 2012
If your site has experienced significant ranking losses in 2012 you need to perform an SEO autopsy in order to prepare a recovery strategy. We suggest first finding answers to these questions:
What Caused My SEO Problems? This is the most important thing to determine. If you received a notification from Google you have at least a minor indication of what is wrong. To determine all possible causes for ranking losses you need to conduct a thorough forensics process. You need to have good understanding of “Old School SEO Practices” and “The New Rules for SEO”. Compare them to pinpoint major changes and then identify any work that was done in these areas.
Who Is Responsible For My Ranking Losses? The easy answer is to say “Google is responsible because everything was fine until they made algorithm changes”. Funny, right? You sort of have a point here but you really need to move past the blame game and seriously consider who laid the groundwork for the problems. When you accurately identify the causes of your problems, you can better trace the problematic work to the guilty party. When you know who did the now faulty SEO work you can begin to unravel the mess.
Where Do We Start? With a list of probable problem areas and suspects to interview you can begin to unravel the mystery. It’s quite possible that your current SEO caused ranking problems were done by someone other than your current SEO company. If you trust your current SEO company then they should be very eager to help you with your SEO autopsy.
No Matter What, Police Your Link Profile
What we believe to be the most common cause of organic ranking loss is algorithmic or manual actions taken due to bad link building practices. Google has launched a new Link Disavow Tool which may help your situation.
Because of the profound changes to search engine algorithms in 2012, we strongly encourage avery business to carefully critique their website for overall compliance and alignment with the known, current SEO requirements. Whether or not your site has endured ranking losses, improving your SEO is always a good use of your time. Improving Google SEO in 2013 should be a top priority.