Last year was a year of much change in the world of SEO, there was much uproar (as always) about search engine updates and much talk about the future of SEO as a whole. Many of my predictions came true for SEO in 2012, and so I've been urged to again predict possible SEO and Social Media changes for 2013.
Quality Wins Rankings
As in 2012, once again 2013 will see a move towards better content rather than quantity of content. On the whole I think we will see one or two huge updates with the aim of ensuring better content. This will mean a focus on Authorship of content (see below predictions), it will mean less value given to article websites, press releases again and will potentially mean more rankings being transient over days, weeks and months (aka moving continuously). I believe that 2013 will be one where keeping rankings will be harder than ever before and freshness of content will be the key to success.
Authorship Becomes Vital
For years many an SEO have played around with the idea of true Authorship of content, 2012 saw a move towards this with Google Authorship of content. This is easy enough to set up, click here for instructions. Moving forward I forsee that more sites will indeed allow for better authorship, the likes of twitter cards and facebook open graph will grow and form a concise authorship, in addition to this more tools will come with these as standard allowing for a canonical authorship ability for sites such as this.
Personalisation of Search Will Continue
Last year I predicted that search would no longer be the same ranking for everyone, things would be personalised on location, previous searches and your social graph (to some extent). 2013 will be the continuation of this move and almost no results (as above) will be static for any two users (ip's or signed in users). Location will continue to grow in search result relevance, for instance a search for restaurant whether mobile or otherwise will show those nearest to you in results, in some cases much higher than those which rank well in other locations. In terms of your social graph this is only the case if your are signed into google+ (for google) or facebook (for bing) - but results your friends share will continue to move up the rankings, especially if they are using authorship (see above).
SOLOMO continues to GROW
Social, Local and mobile - for the non-seo out there reading this random blog. This buzzword first coined in 2011 was like a bad rash at the 2012 seo conferences and looks set to continue as a growing trend during 2013 and 2014 as mobiles become more and more able.
Christmas 2012 was the year of a "tablet for Christmas", 2013 will be even more so as the market begins to saturate. With this in mind it's clear to see why SOLOMO will grow this year and next. Children, Parents and Grand Parents will soon be mobile and interactive. More apps that are as simple as facebook and foursquare will appear but will so will feature rich apps - god knows there is plenty of room, especially in the uk market.
The reason this fits into SEO is that websites too can be location aware and can feed users great information for their location. Add to this Google's focus on mobile search and you will soon see that websites need not just to be mobile friendly but mobile searchable and location active. 2013 is the year of Location.
Erm, Local Search in 2013
If the above hasn't drummed it into you yet, Google is focused on local search. And you as a local business owner or SEO need to commit to this, you need to optimise each and every page to be local and rich in content. You need to focus on rich formatting schemes such as schema.org which takes your dull pages and allows them to be easily used in a much nicer way in search (this is especially true for products and events!).
2013 is the year when this will become common place and lets just say get aboard before the ship sets sail.
Social Transient Ranking (STR)
Those of us using Google+ will have noticed this already, the little line of "shared by..." under a search result. This will grow as Google+ does too, but more than this I foresee other social ranking signals being taken into account such as tweets and other status updates, this is already in place for news pieces with prominent twitter accounts being used a signal of the latest information. This combined with authorship across platforms (implied) will grow hugely in 2013 making this the year that marks the real start of social transient ranking.
2012 was for me another year of listening to the moaning and groaning of SEO's who didn't want to change and evolve tactics they had used for years. It followed the huge outcrys of 2011 from the same people, those people who (let me be honest) are probably grey hat at the very least - and if you are not and are a business owner apparently screwed over by Google, let me assure you you haven't been you or the people you employed have done that too you and your business.
So what updates are coming?
My predictions for Google updates in 2013, are thus:
1) Indexing and Ranking will get faster and faster
2) Mobile search results will get even more different compared to desktop search
3) Authorship Ranking will effect ranking
4) More article websites will bite the dust as will forums
Conclusion of SEO Trends in 2013
Overall I see 2013 being a year of improvement in the search algo, with a focus on great quality of content - this will be complimented with authorship ranking and social transient ranking. It will be a year of many screams as the low quality bite the dust, but it will be a great and interesting year.