Google SEO Review For 2013
The year was categorised by some epic changes to how Google conducts searches and organises information. With all the upset SEO people out there, it’s little wonder that Google have themselves pre-emptively registered the domain ‘googlesucks.com’ – which is quietly amusing.
The biggest happening was the introduction of Hummingbird, which represents the largest change to the Google search algorithm since it was created. It was a complete update to the core engine, rather than just a tweak or adaption like Panda and Penguin. The end result is – according to Google – faster and more accurate results, with an emphasis on conversational searching (searching as if you were asking a human), a better understanding of search meanings, and increased penalties against spammy content. However, many people have been having issues with the new results, finding their websites randomly penalised and poor quality sites rising to the top.
Another big change Google made was removing their Keyword Tool – a major component of how many SEO’ers did research. They replaced it with the Keyword Planner, a similar tool that provides much less useful data and requires an AdWords account. Needless to say, many people have begun to look elsewhere for their keyword researching needs.
Bad news is said to come in threes, and Google rounded off the SEO year by also seriously changing the kind of data we can glean from traffic referred by Google. Previously it was possible to see which keywords brought people to the site via organic searches, but Google has decided to privatise this information, making it come up as “not provided.”
All in all it’s been a challenging year for many SEO people in 2013, but here are a few suggestions to consider:
- Use real data for keyword research. Try to think like an actual human searcher, not a bot.
- Localise. One of the biggest influences of Hummingbird is an emphasis on geographical results.
- Diversify your tools. If you rely too heavily on a single tool, you risk being blindsided if it changes.
- Keep up the quality. The SEO mantra of quality over quantity continues to be the cornerstone of building up a marketing strategy that can stand any update.