What are your SEO Resolutions for 2013?

Written by: Drew Lyon   Austin, Texas

Posted on: January 10, 2013

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If you are a modern day business professional with a website to manage like me, you are probably feeling the pressure to make changes to your website in the New Year. Maybe you feel your site habits and SEO practices should turn over a new leaf in 2013. This year I’m making a list and sticking to my SEO New Year’s resolutions. It’s 2013 already, about time to whip your website into shape, quit those bad linking habits, and get educated on the latest trends in Search Engine Marketing. Heck, that’s only the beginning. Now, where do we begin?

Resolution #1: Get in Shape

I know everyone feels they could stand to lose a few pounds after the holidays. You may also want to think about trimming the fat from your website’s HTML belly. All that extraneous code can slow your website down and earn your website dismissive looks from search engines. A good place to start is with W3C Validation, which will check the markup on your website’s HTML documents, and work from there. Search engines will reward you for having clean code.

Part of getting your website in shape for 2013 will mean looking good on all screen sizes. A recent Google survey found that 72% of mobile users want websites to be mobile-friendly. That means conforming to desktops, laptops, all shapes of smartphones, tablets, and even refrigerators if they have Internet browsers on them.

There are generally three options for doing this:

1. Responsive design – With this, your website content reshapes to fit screen size.

2. Mobile/tablet version of my site – If you’re a WordPress site like me, you might want to try WP Touch, a free WordPress plugin that helps build a mobile version of your site.

3. Platform specific apps – Remember, you’ll have to develop separate apps for iOS, Android, and probably Windows Phone 8 once it gets more users.

Resolution #2: Be Social

I’ve never met a shy website; most were made to be found and viewed and shared. As professionals, we all just want our sites to be found by the people who like us for what we offer. Of course, how can we expect that to happen if we don’t get out there and make some new friends? After all, friends share information with other friends.

If your website’s content, message, and/or product make enough friends, the next thing you know, your website is crawling with visitors you’ve never even met before. How exciting! The best way to get these new friends is by offering them genuinely valuable and relevant content on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Be an authority on your industry. Be creative. Try something new. The further you stick your neck out into the social media realm, the greater the rewards can be.

How am I doing?

Resolution #3: Travel More (even locally)

Do you ever feel like your website spends most of its time hiding out in the remote corners of the Internet? If so, it’s time for your site to make itself known in some of the more common internet circles. One of your first orders of business should be to firmly establish your local presence. Localization continues to grow in importance in ranking your website, and if you want to get more internet exposure, it only makes sense to start in the places you already do business, where some neighbors already know your name.

You have probably seen those local listings at the top of Google’s search results, and the good news is, all you need to do to start localizing is create a Google+ Local Listing and get people to leave reviews. That doesn’t sound too difficult, right?

Resolution #4: Get Educated

As internet marketers, we’ve all got some serious soul searching to do in 2013. It’s time to think long and hard about our websites’ place in the Search Engine Universe and how we got there. To get an answer to some of internet marketing’s bigger questions will require research and self education.

This will require learning more about how ranking algorithms work and why certain websites show up for certain searches as well as what ranking changes are projected for the future. Staying on top of search engine optimization and marketing best practices takes a lot of work and the rules change constantly. The good news is there are a lot of resources out there, including our SEO blog and Google’s Blog.

Resolution #5: Drop Bad Habits

Maybe we all aren’t quite ready to give up ice cream and celebrity gossip sites, but what you should be ready for is to quit those bad habits that directly affect your reputation, perceived authority and rankings on the Internet. Repeat after me:

~I will not post duplicate content, and I will regularly use Copyscape to make sure other people aren’t stealing my content.

~I will not buy links. I will earn links by offering quality content and using natural linking practices.

~I will not spam my website with SEO keywords. I will write new content with no more than 2 or 3 keywords for every hundred words of text.

Okay, I think we all deserve some Cherry Garcia after that! Seriously, though, search engines are cracking down on these lazy SEO tactics more and more every day. Your website will be penalized for not playing the game by the rules. It may take some work to update any of these things you do not currently do, but the good news is these three rules are really easy to follow once you implement them as long-term strategies.

Resolution #6: Save Money

Having a professional-looking website doesn’t mean your company is made of money. We’re not all GoDaddy. I certainly can’t afford the reported 3.8 million dollars it takes to get an ad played during this year’s Super Bowl. I’m also not about to blow my entire marketing budget on a giant billboard or late-night radio spot.

I’m going to put my hard-earned marketing cash towards something I’ve already noticed bringing me high quality traffic. I plan to invest in increasing my traffic from search engines. Maybe this is starting a PPC campaign and spending a little time optimizing the spend and landing pages or spending some time/money drafting fresh content with balanced keyword saturation and the voice of your brand. The point is if your current efforts bring in some website traffic, maximizing these efforts will also maximize your traffic. Can’t beat that!

We all have room to grow, things we can do better. Those are all my resolutions for 2013 and some ways you can follow them with me. Wish me luck! I’ll do the same for you. Happy New Year!

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