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Top SEO and Search Rankings Trends of 2013

Each year there are always hundreds of updates to the search algorithm and in 2013 it was no exception. There were a lot of updates that affected the Google search results and all of them were significant in their own right but there were those that affected the search industry in a massive way and it changed the way many search engine marketers do their jobs. As it is with the SEO industry, what is important today might be useless in the next few months. The trends below are not in any order of importance and it is very important to note that they are not the only big SEO trends for 2013, but just the ones I feel had a huge impact on the state of search in 2013.

1. Page Load Speed

Website speed has always been a factor that Google considered when coming to ranking pages but in 2013 it gained serious momentum. Google has always looked for better ways to improve their search quality and websites that load slow has seen their rankings plummet in 2013 than any other year. Minimising JavaScript and CSS files, resizing large images and monitoring your servers to pick up speed problems is one of the best ways to make sure that you stay safe and avoid site speed related penalties.

2. Local Search Citation

With the huge increase in smart devices, local SEO has reached a point where it will be hard to ignore and Google has created a platform where business of all kinds can reap the rewards of being found locally since Google gives priority to local results in location related search terms. Having a presence on Google+ and getting legit reviews on your business is another way of making sure that you win the battle of local SEO. Local search has been coming for a while, but in 2013 it came in full force and it is going to continue to influence the search landscape in the foreseeable future.

3. Disavow Tool

Disavow tool came as a results of unnatural links penalty update from Google. It has been one of the major talking points of search in 2013 because a lot of webmasters got messages in webmaster tools informing them of unnatural link profiles and a lot of sites were hit. It’s very significant in that webmasters are encouraged to use it even if they don’t get unnatural links warning, as long as you find low quality links pointing to your site you can utilise it.

4. Google Authorship

Usage of Google authorship has increased in a massive way in 2013 since some revelations were made about its important to search rankings and click through rate. And a lot of regular online content writers have realized how important it is, hence a large number of them have integrated it to their strategies. Authorship is so popular, that is the reason why Google has reduced authorship rich snippets by 15% as of December 2013 as reported by Matt Cutts, with the aim of reducing abuse as it is a common when coming to SEO professionals.

5. Not Provided

Of all the updates to the state of search in 2013, the “Not provided” in Google analytics was the most significant to the SEO industry, due to the fact that almost all the organic keywords that bring traffic to your site are hidden. Some webmasters have reported that in some instances, over 90% of the keywords bringing organic traffic to their sites were hidden. At the pace at which the Not Provided parameter is picking up, it’s only a matter of time before all the organic keywords are hidden and SEO professionals have to find new ways to report on keywords performance.

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Mashilo J Mothemane
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Mashilo J Mothemane

Mashilo is a digital marketing strategist with primary focus on SEO and search. keeping up with the industry trends and coming up with tangible SEO strategies is his daily bread.
Mashilo J Mothemane
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