2012 proved to be a year of immense SEO growth in light of Google’s algorithm changes. As an industry, evolution and innovation were keys to building high-quality content and adding as much value as possible for users, readers, customers, and potential customers.
SEO is still not perfect, nor will it ever be, but it appears as if the industry has learned, for the most part, how to work around Google’s changes, regardless of how painful that may be. However, there are still some people and companies that are cleaning up after 2012, namely the ones who exploited loopholes in Google’s algorithm that have since been closed, therefore rendering that SEO work useless.
Don’t settle for short-term fixes anymore. If you want to build long-lasting and sustainable SEO success in 2013, you need to commit to a solid long-term strategy. How do you do this? Start with baby steps. We’ve compiled a list of short, do it yourself SEO tips you can use to greatly improve your SEO practices for 2013 while also making much more efficient use of your time. None of these individual tips should take any longer than an hour, thus the beauty of this list.
Research and Analysis
- Make a cup of coffee and read through Google’s patents and figure out what they’re going to do next.
- Take your client out for some drinks. Find out what else they are working on outside of your campaign. Odds are you’ll find out some information about them that will be useful either now or down the road.
- Make sure to spend time with your development team. Get to know them personally as well as their individual problems and obstacles they are experiencing right now.
- Make a checklist of how well you know outreach targets. Plan out steps of how you can get to know them better.
- Find out who are the top bloggers for your locality. Know where they hang out so you can try to meet them. Do this at events though, don’t stalk them home.
- Arrange your own meeting with key bloggers and journalists.
- Run a survey or poll within the industry to collect information. You can use this information later for content production.
Google+ and Authorship
- Set up Google Authorship for your website. If you have already, verify that it is working.
- Conduct a seminar to exhibit how your team can link up their Google+ author profiles.
- Promote and push your team to build upon their Google+ profiles and share other content.
- If you have a blog, find posts from guest bloggers and move them underneath the correct or relevant author.
Events and Sponsorship
- Sponsor some local events or sports teams.
- Submit a speaker pitch for an event within your industry.
- Create a content plan for liveblogging an industry event.
Content Strategy and Planning
- Brainstorm new product or service ideas that are link-worthy.
- Acquire a company.
- Get sued. (Just kidding, don’t.)
- Relate your niche to a different subject to open up new content angles.
- Review old company reports, white papers, etc. for key statistics or statistics you may have missed or forgotten.
- Conduct a team brainstorm to develop new content ideas.
- Share a Google Calendar mapping out your website content plan. Make sure to schedule auto-send reminders to the people involved with the different areas of content creation.
- Shoot to split opinions with your content and promote to both audiences for a reaction. You don’t need to be controversial, you just don’t have to have a right or wrong answer.
- Make sure you follow up! Make the effort to stay in touch with key contacts via social media, email, phone, and face-to-face.
- Establish friendships with key influencers and arrange meetings with them in person. Invite them to lunch or schedule a meeting.
- Reuse great outreach connections and build on-going relationships.
- Offer customer testimonials for your software, product, and service providers.
- See if you can get influencers to add you to their partner pages.
- Get your users involved! Build relationships and interaction with your brand by rewarding loyal fans.
- Have your friends and family link to you if they have personal websites.
- Take photos and make them available under a Creative Commons license.
- Write topical content about a trend from that particular day.
- Interview experts within your niche.
- Craft an exclusive content pitch for a leading authority website.
- Instead of creating four average pieces of content, focus on one at a time and make it great.
- Develop a content ideation plan for an inforgraphic using data from within your company.
- Answer frequently asked questions within your industry. This can also be used to brainstorm content ideas.
- Set up Google Alerts for these questions, so when they are asked on blogs or forums you can reply with your opinion, and also link to your content.
- Create and syndicate video content to target new audiences.
- Provide a discount promotion to get people talking and to get them picked up on promo-code websites.
- Create a fun and interesting 404 error page, much like this one. Your users will love it and you might even get some links due to creativity.
- Make efforts to reply to comments on all of your content. This includes posts on your blog, guest posts, news coverage, etc. This is a great way to build lasting relationships.
- Find an active forum within your niche to start contributing and building profiles.
- Find two targeted blogs. Comment where you can add value and subscribe or follow them and their key writers on Twitter.
- Take photos of your office or store and upload a minimum of 6 high-quality photos to help your local listing stand out.
- Make sure that all of your company addresses are registered and up to date on Google+ Local.
- Design business cards that encourage customers review your brand on Google, TripAdvisor, Yelp!, etc. Also offer them a next-time discount incentive.
- Create landing pages with local intent. If you have multiple addresses, submit them to Google Local.
- Go to your local library and dig deep into historical information about your town or city. You may find a diamond in the rough that hasn’t been written about online yet. This is great for picking up local citations and links.
- Create a list of power reviewers in your local sector and see how you can get onto their radar.
- Ensure that you are listed on key local providers such as Yell, ThomsonLocal, ReachLocal, etc.
- Find two of the most authoritative and well-respected bloggers in your niche and see how you can connect with them. They have probably added how to do this in their “About” page.
- Pick up the phone and talk to top influencers.
- Hire writers within your niche and take advantage of their contacts for outreach.
- Spend your hour carefully creating a terrific content pitch. Make it personal and original.
- Give bloggers and journalists a product they can use or test in exchange for a review.
- Write for authority sites within your niche. Build strong relationships and strengthen your reputation by taking advantage of the audiences of well-respected industry blogs.
- Have your clients create a company email address for you with their domain so that it is clearer when you’re sending emails out on their behalf.
Penguin and Panda Penalty Review
- Perform a content performance ratio analysis to find out how much content you need to clean up.
- Create a list of sites you want to remove links from.
- Clean up your own internal anchor text from over-optimization.
- Reduce cross-linking from other sites you own. Link from partner pages, not site wide.
- Clean up any links from your special profiles and author bios.
- Prioritize a list of key actions and assign responsibilities and deadlines.
- Install SEO WordPress plugins to optimize your blog.
- Optimize page title tags. This is the oldest quick SEO fix in the book, but it still works.
- Test pay-per-click (PPC) and copy as title/meta description to increase organic click-through rates.
- Review navigation structure such as breadcrumbs and internal linking.
- Use tools. There is a ton of them, so make sure you figure out which two or three that will make you more efficient. Then really get to know them and learn how to use them.
- Document your delivery process. This will save you tons of time in the future when you are training your team.
- Conduct a knowledge share session with your internal team and/or client. Let them know what you do so you don’t have to do it all by yourself.
- Analyze your backlinks to find off-topic or poor anchor text links.
- Analyze the market to find the percentage of exact-match anchor text for key competitors.
- Clean up any obvious paid or over-optimized links.
- Google your brand name and a key person within your organization, much like this “Brand Name” “Key Person’s Name”. Then ask to be credited with a link within each article if not already given.
- Google Image search for your infographics and/or photos. Ask for link credits where they are not given.
- Find broken links pointing out of site with this tool. This is another easy fix to clean up and also makes your site look much better.
- Research competitors’ top pages to get content ideas.
- Review brand traffic history in analytics to measure the impact of offline brand signals.
- Think of creative ways you can get more people searching for your brand by joining up with offline marketing.
- Bring your PR and social teams together to understand what they are doing and how they can help each other by working closer together.
- Sign up for PR service HARO (help a reporter out) to become a link source for news articles.
- Build a list of key journalists and media contacts you want to influence.
- Enter relevant industry and local awards competitions.
- Brainstorm ideas to connect offline with online strategies. Ask yourself, “How can I get more people searching for me and my company?”
- Create and submit an XML sitemap to keep this up to date in Google Webmaster Tools.
- Check up on how your website displays on mobile and tablet devices. Plan to create platform-specific sites if you don’t already have them.
- Fix duplicate content homepage: www vs. non-www.
- Check for external duplicate content.
- Make sure the geo-targeting for your international site (if you have one) is set up correctly in Google Webmaster Tools.
- Optimize your site for mobile. Do it in less than an hour with a plugin
Analytics and Measurement
- Develop a strategy around your top 20 PPC spend/converting keywords.
- Find your top converting landing pages. Optimize them and update the content to attract new links.
- Talk to your clients and learn about their main business.
- Talk to your clients and learn about their main business.
- Spend your hour writing a report making a business case for the value of SEO to get extra resources allocated, because, let’s be honest, one hour is just not enough.
(Information pulled from seomoz.org)
Certified Inbound Marketing Strategist | Content Marketing Specialist | Social Media Strategist | SEO