The upcoming year is bound to be one that is full of challenges and opportunities for online marketers. To help our readers navigate throughout these treacherous waters, we asked some of our most popular contributors for their thoughts on what will be ahead throughout 2011 in a variety of different arenas — SEO, PPC, Conversion, Local Search, Email Marketing, and Social Media. Each week for the next six weeks, we will present their thoughts on one of each of those fields to help you get off on the right foot in the new year. First up is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
As we head into 2011, what will be important for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Andrew Bernero of Relevancy Media — “Pay close attention to what keywords Google Instant suggests when searching for your power terms and make sure that you have pages that are optimized based on those suggestions, whenever those keywords are relevant.”
Bill Slawski of SEOByTheSea – “I’m finally starting to see more people acknowledge how important the structure and taxonomy of a site is to SEO, from organizing the pages of a site in a manner that makes it as easy as possible for a search engine to crawl the pages of a site, to choosing the right words and phrases to label and organize that content, in as customer friendly manner as possible. As important as something like link building might be, a client-based information architecture and site structure adds value to a site in that it avoids duplicate content problems, makes it easier for visitors to find what they are looking for, helps inform search engines what the pages of a site are about, and enables important keywords and phrases to be used in an appropriate manner that can help pages rank well based upon their relevance to possible queries.”
Charles Nicholls of SeeWhy — “Both Google and Bing now include Facebook posts and tweets in their ranking algorithms. Getting messages to spread virally will be ever more important, as well as getting key influencers (socialites with authority) to use your content.”
David Chapman of Webrageous Studios — “Content is King! You can waste a lot of time making your keyword density and meta tags perfect. Your time is better spent adding lots of unique content to your site.”
Geno Prussakov of AMNavigator — “The shift towards the growing importance of social media to SEO will continue. One of the bigger news of the end of 2010 was that Twitter and Facebook signals were confirmed to influence search rankings both on Google and Bing. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Social is the new SEO, but it is hard to overestimate its importance. Facebook “likes” and Twitter mentions in tweets and retweets are quickly becoming the new links.”
Guy Hill of DroidINDUSTRIES — “I personally have a greater focus on SEM (paid search), but SEO remains top of the list for “must have” programs for marketing. When I work on my own projects, when it’s my money, SEO is top of mind. With clients, the slow pace and mysterious workings of SEO make it a challenge to sell and implement. In terms of what is important, I like content. Old or new, just so long as it has value. In advising clients I push them to identify high-value content that they already have, and get that in front of (more) customers (and spiders). Otherwise, anticipating content that will be important, and pushing out, to gather future attention, can be time well spent.”
Hallie Janssen of Anvil Media, Inc. — “Structured data in the form of rich snippets will take on a larger role in helping to connect users to relevant content based on the intent of their search query. Infographics have really picked up steam over the past year, and when done effectively can bring in tens of thousands of links deep into a site. This is a much more effective and scalable tactic to link building that has been made possible to reach millions through social media sharing behavior.
Jaimie Sirovich of SEOEgghead — Adequately addressing the long tail with the right technologies.
Jeff Quipp of Search Engine People – “Links (acquired via link building and the development of great content) will still account for the lion’s share of Google’s algorithm. As processing powers continue to increase however, Google will take into increasing account actual user behavior and interaction with sites appearing in the search results for specific keywords. Google will also continue to place more emphasis on personalization. As a result, SEO companies will have to rely more on reporting of actual traffic and cost per lead or cost per acquisition metrics, than actual rankings.
Joe Griffin of iAcquire — “Link building needs to stand alone in the SEO budget. It needs to be treated very seriously, and a holistic approach is required. It’s all about reaching out to relevant webmaster, modifying inadequate existing link text, building tools for link bait, etc. Anchor text usage, ramp up and ramp down all need to be carefully planned.”
Magnus Nilsson of BraveNewMe — “Deeper integration of social (e.g., Facebook likes and twitter updates) into the SERPs will continue to emphasize importance of social as part of the SEO strategy.”
Patrick Hare of Web.com Search Agency — “Anything that makes a site appear more legitimate to a search engine will be important for top rankings. Google is listing verified “places” results for local searches, and newer search engine models are using “curated” results in order to cut down on the indexing of spammy sites.”
Watch for next week’s entry which covers what is ahead for online marketers in 2011 as far as pay-per-click marketing is concerned.