Well, here it is, December 31st, 2013, the evening is drawing to a close. Still a few hours until the ball drops in New York City’s Times Square. Around this time I am always thinking of Times Square, the original(?) place where it all happens. But, maybe because I’m from the New York area, and am used to always staying up to watch the ball drop.
This past year has been quite interesting, and personally I’m very happy to get on with 2014. Not that 2013 was a bad year, or that it was actually an odd (unlucky 13) year. But to be honest with you, a lot of good happened for me, and a lot of not – so – good things happened. Let’s start with the ‘not so good’. Probably the biggest most memorable blog moment for me? A post that I ultimately removed. Have you ever written what you thought was a really good blog post, not because of the writing (yeah, my writing is always good, huh?). But because of the subject matter. The topic. What you “found” and what you felt was a really big issue that had to be dealt with. And boy did I deal with it:
My most memorable (at least for me) blog post of 2013 was one of those. One of those posts that impacted quite a few people. It stirred up the pot, and was, in fact, quite a controversial subject. Needless to say, there were a few comments posted and a few responses that were posted here on my blog. But that’s not where it blew up. It blew up in a private forum so to speak, a place where the general public (and the search engine crawlers) didn’t have access to: Facebook.
That’s actually kind of ironic, I guess, and probably (ultimately) a good thing. A lot of people impacted by one blog post of mine said a lot of things that the probably now regret saying. Or maybe not. But it was in a private venue, a private forum, where only a select few (a few hundred?) people actually knew what was being talked about.
So in 2013, I saw a big change. Where, say, 10 or even 5 years ago these sorts of public outcries over what was a seemingly innocent blog post, that ended up causing quite a stir, played out on Facebook. And not in public, where others’ comments were not so public. Did this have an effect on what was said? You bet. I believe that people in this exchange over 1 measly blog post (that I wrote) said things that they would not have said if they knew they were saying these things for the public to see. Again, there were public comments made on the blog post: but they weren’t as harsh as what was said on Facebook.
So, looking back at 2013, it was the year that the SEO community, as well as quite a lot of others, finally fully showed that they embrace Facebook as a means of communication. Prior to this past year, if there were blog posts like the one that I ultimately removed from my blog, people would have written blog posts and made public responses. Not anymore, though.
And then there was a terrible incident that occurred to one of our beloved, respected, members of the SEO community. This person was hospitalized, and (thank goodness) is making progress towards her recovery. In 2013, when this happened, the SEO community used Facebook as a means of communicating. 5 years ago, this might have played out in a more public way, in a place other than on Facebook.
Then there were the updates. In 2013, Google really turned Search Engine Optimization on its head and ‘shook really hard’ so to speak. I can honestly say that the way I have done business in the past (promoting my own and my client websites through SEO techniques) has changed dramatically in 2013. I will always remember 2013 as the year when I spent cleaning up after bad SEOs and bad SEO techniques. There certainly is no automated, cheap, link building anymore. At least that’s not recommended anymore. 2014 is now the beginning of Link Earning. And we’ll only see link earning (not link building) be more powerful and more respected in the future.
2013 probably is going to be the year that we see a lot of SEO firms go out of business: or start to go out of business in the beginning of 2014. I suspect that at the end of 2014. we will see a lot of SEO-related domain names suddenly become available. Some, perhaps with a lot of bad links pointing to them. But there may be even more with a lot of their former clients’ sites linking to them, as well. So, if you’re enterprising, you may want to start watching the SEO domain names during 2014, I bet there will be quite a few that become available on the domain auction circuit or just drop entirely. And, as well, in 2015.
I’ve already offered up some of my predictions for SEO in 2014, so I won’t dive into that right now. Especially since that posts seems to already be doing quite well.
So, what did I start doing in 2013 that seems to be making a difference when it comes to SEO and rankings? Here are a few things that one could call “SEO tips” that are worth investigating. Pay attention, because I normally don’t give out info like this. Really! Here’s what I think is worth mentioning:
- Pay attention to Google Plus. Work towards being an influencer there. Don’t just get followers. Don’t just follow people. When you post, make sure you get +1s and shares. It makes a huge difference. You don’t have to have thousands of followers (although that helps). But when you post, make sure it is noticed.
- Pay attention to Twitter. If you have a blog, make sure your blog post URL is tweeted and retweeted. Not just once, but more than that. If you’re not popular, and not an influencer, then there are other ways to get people to tweet and retweet stuff for you. Yeah, I just said that.
- On Twitter, look at how many people you’re following. Look at how many people are following you. Fix your following to follower ratio. Following 2500 people? Then make sure you have more than 2500 following you. If 2500 are following you, then only follow 10 percent of that, which would be around 250 people.
- Facebook. Yeah, Facebook can send a lot of traffic to a site, especially to blog posts. Get yourself a public biz page if you don’t have one. Those are crawled. Work on getting Likes on your page. Have a blog post? Post it on your Facebook page and pay to promote it. Even $20 can go a long way.
- Title tags. Title tags still count. Write awesome headlines. Headlines always have (even since 1997) always gotten people’s attention, and will get people to click on through to a site.
- Got a blog? Think like a journalist. Uncover something in your industry. Post often. Even if you “see something” peculiar or something that’s changed, don’t forget to write about it. Honestly, some of my best blog posts have been “trivial” to me, and I really didn’t think people care about the topic I was writing about. But believe-you-me, those are the posts that end up going viral.
So, goodbye 2013. The old-ball, ‘unlucky’ 2013. And hello 2014. I have a feeling 2014 is going to be hone heck of a year. Besides, I’m already set for four huge conferences in the first 3 months of this year, which is going to be a record year for me.
Post often, and stay thirsty for content, my friends.