10 SEO Posts that Shaped 2013

google 2013 seo

A lot happened in the search engine optimization industry during 2013. There were changes that happened that will forever change the way SEOs do their jobs–and how we market websites in the future. Many of these changes were predicted by many, and then there were changes that we didn’t expect. Here is my list of the 10 SEO-related blog posts that shaped the SEO industry during 2013. I chose these blog posts and articles not because the articles themselves did the shaping: but the topic they covered shaped the industry. However, in the case of Moz, I think that posts speaks for itself.

FTC Sets Sights on Native Advertising, But Outcome Unclear – It’s not just Google that has issues with Advertorials. I have seen a lot of sites get manual penalties from Google in 2013 because of Advertorials and not being compliant with the FTC guidelines for disclosure. This was a very big issue during 2013 and I fully expect it to be even a bigger issue during 2014.

SEO’s Dilemma – Link Building vs. Content Marketing – Whiteboard Friday – This Whiteboard Friday details a really big issue that online marketers, SEOs, and web marketers had to deal with in 2013. Link building, link earning, or Content Marketing? I saw a lot of SEOs jump from link building to content marketing during 2013. Maybe those still offering article submissions will finally jump to content marketing during 2014. What do you think?

Goodbye SEOmoz, Hello Moz. Yes, way back in 2011 I predicted it and during 2013 they finally rebranded. This was not only a big deal for Moz, but a big deal for the industry. Could a company such as SEOmoz pull off such a major brand change? Absolutely. And they did it in style during 2013.

Penguin 2.0 rolled out today – May 22nd, 2013 was a big day for many sites. Not because of the traffic they received that day–but that was about the last day that they’ve seen lots of traffic to their site. Google Penguin hit quite a lot of sites during 2013 and many sites still have yet to recover. Definitely a topic that everyone in the SEO industry will remember for 2013. Lucky for some SEOs who help sites recover from Google Penguin, such as Globe Runner. But 2013 was very unlucky for those sites who suffered as a result of Google Penguin.

Google Humminbgird FAQ by Search Engine Land – Google Hummingbird was announced in September 2013. Sites weren’t really affected too much that they knew about–but this new algorithm will shape the future of Google’s organic search. Definitely worth mentioning in 2013.

Why Google’s New Hummingbird Algorithm is Good News for Serious Content Creators – Hummingbird is good news for those of us who create content. Here’s why. Eric Enge, posting on Copyblogger.com, nails it this time.

Want to Rank in Google? Build Author Rank Now – 2013 is also the year of Author Rank. If you have not already started paying attention to Google Author Rank, you need to in 2014. This is a great post by Eric Enge that does a great job of explaining why verified authors are going to be important.

Study Shows No Clear Evidence That Google+ Drives Ranking – 2013 is not only the year of Google Plus, Authorship, and Author Rank, it’s also the “Year of Enge”. That’s Eric Enge, mind you. During 2013, Mr. Enge’s Stone Temple Consulting put together a study showing that Google Plus doesn’t drive search engine rankings in Google organic search. Well, even though apparently Google Plus isn’t a driver of rankings, 2013 is definitely the year of Google Plus and the year that we’re starting to see more SEOs embrace it as a social network. I personally saw more SEOs start posting regularly during 2013 on Google Plus than they did previously.

Optimized Links in Press Releases & Guest Posts Can Harm Your SEO, Says Google – Another big story was the fact that Optimized Anchor Text in press releases was targeted by Google. One major SEO tactic for a lot of SEO firms in the past had been writing press releases for PRWeb and other “press release sites”, and adding optimized anchor text. Google shut down that pretty quickly during 2013, and the press release services such as PRWeb.com started adding the nofollow attribute to all links in press releases.

Google Warns Against Large-Scale Guest Posting, Advertorials & “Optimized Anchor Text” In Press Releases – Not only did Google shake up the Press Release industry for SEOs, Google also took aim at guest posts and advertorials, as I previously mentioned. 2013 is the year that Google changed some of the link strategies of some SEO firms, and many of their clients got penalized as a result.

So, not only was 2013 a year of Google updates, but those updates changed forever how the SEO industry builds links to client sites. I have to admit, though, that it was a long time coming. Those SEO firms who were relying on press releases, advertorials, and guest posts for rankings were relying on unnatural link building. And not the content marketing and link earning that all of us should be doing.

Bill Hartzer is Globe Runner’s Senior SEO Strategist. Follow him on Google Plus.