OK I admit it; this is a bit of a belated “New Year’s” blog post. However, considering we are still in the month of January, I am going to give myself a pass so I can write about SEO in 2013. I am not intending for this post to contain specific predictions. Instead, based on my never-ending research, this post will be more about the trends I see happening in the world of SEO and some basic thoughts as to where we are headed in the New Year.
The topic that has caught my eye the most lately is the idea of factors other than links determining rankings. I don’t believe this signifies a diminishing value of links; I still believe that links will remain the primary factor in determining a website’s authority for the foreseeable future. However, it seems that in the near future we will need to start incorporating new tactics in addition to building authoritative backlinks.
A recent event in the SEO world that caught my attention was SEOmoz’s acquisition of GetListed. This excited me because I have always believed small, local businesses have a very tough time getting noticed on the web. It seems the folks at SEOmoz have the same idea because their acquisition of GetListed, a web listing service targeted towards local businesses, intends to tackle this challenge.
Getlisted primarily helps businesses manage online profiles that contain citations. Citations are an online mention of a business’s name and full address. All of the profiles included on GetListed contain citations, but many lack a link to the business website. Even when a link is not present, citations are an important search engine ranking factor.
It seems that the web is moving more towards a platform that relies on semantic factors and citations may be one of the first steps in this process. Google can now recognize and process where your business is mentioned on the web in addition to where it is linked. This is a powerful algorithmic step and I believe we need to be on the lookout for how to incorporate it into our SEO strategy. I have a feeling that SEOmoz and GetListed will have some great tools for us to help navigate an ever-changing SEO environment in 2013. In the meantime I think it is important to always look ahead and develop a general sense about where SEO is headed. In a world where so much is determined by algorithms and specific metrics, it is important to never forget that a gut feeling is often your best guide.