#SEO #seoin2013 #digitalmarketing #onlinemarketing #Googleupdates #Googlesearch #2013ataglance
Today is the last day of 2013, at the moment we need to think for a moment how SEO industry has been changed this year. Search become more accurate, dependency on social media has been increased, Google offered a feature ‘Google Authorship’ to claim your written content and lot more..
Let’s see how digital marketing has changed in 2013.
As the year 2013 quietly breathes its last, it leaves behind many things to ponder. 2013 was ‘The Year of the Snake’ according to Chinese mythology and favored people who were smart and quick in their thinking. Even the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) space was abuzz with lot of action that brought about rapid changes. Google continued to lead the search engine pack with new updates and SEO guidelines. Let us go back into time and look at a few events that shaped the SEO industry in 2013.
A year of Google updates
Google offers an insight into its way of thinking with its updates. SEO and digital marketing experts are constantly waiting for these updates to fine tune their efforts. 2013 saw various updates from Google that aimed to improve the quality of search. Let’s have a look at a few important updates from Google:
The Hummingbird Update
The first in the series was the ‘Hummingbird’ update launched on 20th August, 2013. It aims at improving the semantics involved in search and considers the whole sentence instead of individual words. The update focuses on ‘Conversational’ search and helps visitors to have a dialogue with Google.
The Penguin 2.1 Update
Google launched the updated version of the Penguin update on 4th October, 2013. The update aims to discourage spamming by penalizing sites that have purchased paid back links. The update further highlights Google’s commitment towards ‘White Hat’ SEO methods.
The Zebra Update
Nothing has been confirmed by Google yet on the Zebra and it’s only the rumor mongers doing the round. But, Google has sent out a strong signal to e-commerce sites to get their home in order with the Zebra. Only 2014 will tell us if the Zebra will actually breathe.
Search gets more scientific
Google is a dynamic company and always looking at new ways to improve the search process. 2013 witnessed two major drifts in the search process that forced SEO pundits to put on their thinking hats and redraw their strategy. Let us understand these two approaches in further details:
The ‘Not Provided’ data compiled by Google has made it difficult for companies to track their visitors by using keywords. It marks a shift towards ‘Secure Search’ by Google and promises to change the way companies interpret web analytics. Google reinstated its focus on customer delight through this effort. The following quote by Matt Cutts of Google highlights this point:
“Succeeding in SEO will be the same as it’s always been if you’re doing it right – give the users a great experience.”
Hash tag Search
It is a novel effort by Google to offer an integrated marketing approach by including hash tags feed on Twitter and Facebook on Google+. It is a distinct opportunity for companies to capture the attention of their customers across various digital platforms.
You Tube gets in the green
Google purchased ‘You Tube’ in 2006 for $1.65 bn with an aim to create syndicate content and video for its users. Over the last 7 years Google has poured in a lot of money and research into You Tube and the results are finally showing in 2013. You Tube generated advertising revenues of $5bn in 2013 and the VoD (Video on Demand) feature has also gained in popularity. We will witness a lot of action in 2014 in this space with companies launching their dedicated video channels on You Tube. Also prepare yourself to see more ads on You Tube. Don’t worry! You always have the ‘Skip Ad’ option.
Google makes another strategic acquisition
Google made another smart purchase by acquiring Waze, the Israeli social traffic service. Google acquired the website for $1 Bn. Google aims to integrate Waze with its local search app ‘Google Now’ and offer real time traffic information to users. The integration will also provide information related to local events. The acquisition highlights Google’s focus on ‘Local Searches’. Here is a snapshot of Waze.
Android signals a paradigm change
Google witnessed another high in the year 2013 with the sale of its Android handsets overtaking iPhone. In 2013, 70% of sales were of Android handsets. The rapid growth in this segment also marks a paradigm shift in SEO as responsive websites become the toast of the day. Companies are already redesigning their SEO strategies to suit the mobile environment and 2014 will see even more action in this space. The graph below depicts the growth in the mobile transaction volumes. The figures on the left are in billion dollars.
Content stamps its authority again
The year 2013 witnessed an increased emphasis on content once again. But, this year there were better defined rules and a definite structure around content management. Google displayed its unconditional love for well researched content with the ‘In-Depth’ Articles feature. It is an attempt by Google to deliver high quality and well researched content to its users. These articles explore a subject in great depth and include insights from experts. Here is a brief snapshot of ‘In Depth’ articles:
Google Authorship also laid an emphasis on high quality content by providing content writers with an identity and giving higher ranks to articles written by a known author. Google will continue to shower its blessings on semantically relevant and well written articles in 2014. Here is a brief snapshot of ‘Google Authorship’
Google + finally starts taking shape
Google+ always felt like a neglected child ever since Google launched it in 2011. It was unable to position itself in a category and was left wandering alone. But, 2013 brought in better times for Google +, especially after its integration with tools like ‘Authorship’. Google has also included a few SEO elements into Google+ such as display of personalized results. 2013 is surely a harbinger of good times to come for Google+.
There is a pinch of salt too!
It was not completely a smooth drive for SEO in 2013 as there were many road bumps too. The biggest blot on Google was of course the acquisition of failing to prevent privacy of its users. The Snowden leak in 2013 highlighted the fact Google allowed NSA to access the encrypted information of its users. These accusations have come as blot on Google’s image and only 2014 will reveal how Google is able to counter them.
The death penalty awarded by Google to ‘Google Reader’ also didn’t go down well with the users. It was a RSS Feed Reader that allowed users to organize their news and sift through it in a simple manner. However, people were not ready to give in without a fight and around
1,50,000 people signed a petition to oppose the decision. Loyalties at work!
2013 was a milestone year for SEO industry. There were a lot of learning and a clear message from Google to focus on quality rather than traffic. The companies that are able to take these learning in their stride and redesign their strategy will emerge victorious in the years to come. So, let’s bid adieu to the year and gear up for bright beginnings in #2014!
Read More #3