It's Not Where They Link, It's How They Link
Ryan Draving, CEO of CompeteLeap, stresses that machine-generated writing and "spinning" (rewriting or slightly changing someone else's content to look original) will become useless or even detrimental to your website, adding, "Search results will begin to shift more and more toward brands, and away from websites built purely for SEO. Brands typically invest in the kind of quality content that generates strong links from, and engagement with, bloggers, other websites, and users on social media networks."
Those incoming links are still critical, but Draving notes that over-reliance on exact keyword phrases coming into your site (like "Chicago emergency plumber") will penalize you. Says Draving, "Keep less than 11 percent of external links coming to your website via exact keyword phrases. Google expects to see either your URL or your company name as the link text for the majority of your inbound links. So instead of asking every website to link to you with your favorite keywords ('DIY Internet Marketing'), allow them to use the text they want."
Don't Discount Yahoo
It's long been a habit for website operators to forget about Yahoo, even though Yahoo and Bing combined still have nearly a 30 percent market share. But what happens now in the Marissa Mayer era? Will Yahoo rise again as a search leader? Kaysha Kalkofen, co-founder of tSunela, says, "Keep an eye on Yahoo's relationship with Bing, especially in the paid search space. If that evolves, the paid search market will open up again."
Take the Credit
Have you ever done a Google search and noticed head shots next to a few of the posts at the top of the results? This is part of an experimental program within Google designed to link authors with published content, regardless of where that content lives.
Jon Payne, President and Founder of Ephricon Web Marketing, explains how "AuthorRank" works: "It's generally the case that most significant websites have many different authors that contribute to their content. Google is looking at how to trust links from one author versus another, and weight them differently. We see AuthorRank replacing PageRank most likely in the latter half of 2013. Businesses must set up the ability to claim authorship of their content, but the process is pretty easy and (not surprisingly) is mostly handled within Google+." To get started with the process, get your Google+ profile up to snuff (you must have a recognizable face-shot photo as your profile picture) and check out plus.google.com/authorship.
Next page: More essential SEO tips.
Seek Out Snippets
In related news, you may also notice that when you search Google, little tidbits of information float up to the top: Search for a baseball team, for example, and their current record and recent games will appear first. These are called "rich snippets," a form of structured information that can get your content to the top of search results.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.