And the most significant developments for SEO in 2013 were….

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It was another busy year for search. The role of the SEO changed again mainly thanks to Google, so we discuss the most significant changes for SEO in 2013.


Where do we start? First off Google released Penguin 2.0 and then sneakily released the Hummingbird update without as much as a hint and the removal of the keyword referral data that helped SEOs track organic traffic.

So lets start with Penguin 2.0. Google rolled it out on the 22 May 2013 as the next generation to the Penguin webspam algorithm. Predominantly it was dedicated to target sites using Black Hat webspam and penalise them accordingly while rewarding sites using the ethical White Hat techniques offering visitors a good experience. It was far more comprehensive than Penguin 1.0 and made a lot more impact on the SERPs, as it was designed to go further into finding the sites that had been doing dubious activities such as buying mass links, spamming low quality directories with your links, or paying people to leave hundreds of comments on blogs. If you carried out any of these unethical techniques, chances are your site was affected by it badly.

On the other hand, businesses who concentrated on developing quality content for their onsite SEO, built high quality ethical back links and generally didn’t use any naughty methods to achieve better short term results, should have found themselves with a boost in their overall search rankings.

And then along came Hummingbird. Google kept this one quiet, rolling it out without so much of a hint. Hummingbird was a huge change to Google’s core search technology designed to handle more complex searches and as a result, it affected essentially 90 percent of searches worldwide.

Google’s senior VP Amit Singhal, announced Hummingbird one day before Google officially celebrated its 15th birthday at a special press event at the garage that Larry Page and Sergey Brin rented from Susan Wojcicki all those years ago when they started Google in Menlo Park, California.

Essentially it was designed to keep giving people the relevant results they required and to be able to answer more complex questions than it had been able to do previously. It allows Google to quickly parse longer questions instead of having to search word by word in order to identify and rank the answers questions correctly to the content they’ve already indexed.

‘(Not Provided)’, the two words that have frustrated many an SEO. Google decided in September to make all organic searches secure which meant we’ve all lost the ability to get the relevant keyword data for users arriving on our pages from organic Google searches.

This poses a problem for many SEOs, as we are losing a valuable amount of raw data to determine what is bringing the high quality traffic to the sites and as a result, understanding the intent of the users searching. Overall this makes tactical SEO much harder when the keyword data is not readily available to hand like before. It doesn’t mean it’s a case of guess work, it is still possible to get hold of this information but it’s just going to take more effort than normal to do so!

If you would like to get in touch with us to see how we can help your site gain momentum using ethical SEO techniques, you can call us on 01526 354 259 or alternatively use our contact form and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

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