My Top Posts for 2013

2013 was a big year for the industry, as well as for Stone Temple Consulting, and me personally. So much happening so fast, and it looks like the pace will only accelerate going forward. With this post, I want to take a moment and review the top posts (based on total social media “events”), that I put out in 2013. Each of these posts received at least 1,000:

1. Link Building is Not Illegal (or Inherently Bad) With Matt Cutts

The Synergy We Are Looking For

Publication Date: 7/10/2013
Tweets: 1497
Google Plus: 1452
Facebook: 771
Buffer: N/A
LinkedIn: 383
Total Social Events: 4103

This was the fifth time I have had the privilege of interviewing Matt Cutts. This interview focused on link building practices that are “OK” with Google. If you read this closely, you will realize that it is a blueprint for many of the major components that can go into a content marketing strategy. Put all of these elements together and you will find yourself 100% natural and organic links by the bushelful.

2. 6 Major Changes Reveal the Future of SEO

Pictures of Fenway Park

Publication Date: 10/20/2013
Tweets: 1666
Google Plus: 1100
Facebook: 618
Buffer: N/A
LinkedIn: N/A
Total Social Events: 3384

So much changed in the 2nd half of 2013 and I felt I had to step back and try to find deeper meaning in all of it. We saw (not provided), PageRank temporarily being broken, the advent of Hummingbird, the growing influence of Google Plus, the looming influence of Authorship, and the advent of in-depth articles. Four and five in this list are not knew, but they interact with the others. Net-net, Google is forcing a holistic approach to SEO down the industry’s throat – and that is not a bad thing.

3. Why Google’s New Hummingbird Algorithm is Good News for Serious Content Creators

Pomegranate Juice vs Cranberry Juice

Publication Date: 10/21/2013
Tweets: 1500
Google Plus: 781
Facebook: 577
Buffer: N/A
LinkedIn: 451
Total Social Events: 3309

The Hummingbird release was a funny event. It was live for 3 months or so and almost no one noticed, but it was a platform change, and this is a BIG deal. It’s just that we won’t see the real impact until 2014 and beyond. Basically, Google set themselves up to do a far better job of processing different types of signals, including social signals and authorship signals. Bottom line is that serious content developers hvae a really great opportunity emerging for them in the coming year.

4. 99 Zingers that Will Challenge Your Sigital Marketing Beliefs

Link Juice Relevance Chain

Publication Date: 12/9/2013
Tweets: 852
Google Plus: 1300
Facebook: 207
Buffer: 214
LinkedIn: 223
Total Social Events: 2796

This post was both fun to write and a TON of work. Tons of people have done these posts with lots of tips and they are not always popular. Sometimes it just gets too much for readers to take in. I tried to make this one a bit different by coming up with true one line zingers. They were meant to be posts where a single sentence couild change your perception of some aspect of digital marketing.

5. How Google Plus Impacts SEO

Google Plus Shares Pass Link Juice

Publication Date: 11/17/2013
Tweets: 1291
Google Plus: 943
Facebook: 526
Buffer: N/A
LinkedIn: N/A
Total Social Events: 2760

Google Plus is coming into its own, and this post was designed to expose to the “non-Google Plus fan-boy/girl” world just how powerful its impact on SEO has become. If you are not tuned into this, you might want to read this article now!

6. Penguin 2.0 Forwarning: The Google Perspective on Links

Google Now Walks the Walk

Publication Date: 4/7/2013
Tweets: 1407
Google Plus: 710
Facebook: 401
Buffer: N/A
LinkedIn: N/A
Total Social Events: 2518

I wrote this prior to the Google Penguin 2.0 release. It was pretty bold of me to presume that I could discuss Google policy in this manner, but I guess I was pretty much on the mark as Matt Cutts tweeted“Google Article by Eric Enge”.

7. 21 Reasons You Must Become an Expert

small-21-reasons

Publication Date: 6/6/2013
Tweets: 1000
Google Plus: 415
Facebook: 313
Buffer: N/A
LinkedIn: 364
Total Social Events: 2092

This is a big theme of mine. In fact, I advise people “be an expert of go home”. In today’s web, if you don’t have something very special to offer you are not going to win in the long term.

8. Want to Rank in Google? Build Your AuthorRank Now

The Value of AuthorRank

Publication Date: 3/10/2013
Tweets: 1270
Google Plus: 384
Facebook: 342
Buffer: N/A
LinkedIn: N/A
Total Social Events: 1996

Early in the year I wrote about the importance of building your Author Authority. I still stand by this advice, and it relates closely to the notion of “being an expert”. AuthorRank does not appear to be here yet, but it seems increasingly likely that it will be used by Google in the future. Matt Cutts reaffirmed the likelihood of this on December 4, 2013. If you have not started building your author authority yet, get on this program now!

9. SEO Revelations for 2013

Rel Author Delayed Result

Publication Date: 1/13/2013
Tweets: 1267
Google Plus: 355
Facebook: 281
Buffer: N/A
LinkedIn: N/A
Total Social Events: 1903

Even earlier in 2013 I published my predictions for the year. Looking back on what I said, I would say that I have scored on 4 of these 6 predictions already, and that the other 2 still seem likely to happen in the future. I feel pretty good about it, and I plan to do a similar post in the beginning of 2014.

10. What Everybody Missed About Hummingbird: Social Signals

Danny Sullivan on Social Signals

Publication Date: 11/11/2013
Tweets: 837
Google Plus: 444
Facebook: 194
Buffer: 162
LinkedIn: 236
Total Social Events: 1873

This one is extracted from having Danny Sullivan join me for The Digital Marketing Excellence Show to discuss Hummingbird. What I learned during the show is that Google did much more than enable natural language as everybody thought. Hummingbird is a major platform change, and one of the major parts of the release was to enable Google to process social signals (for non-personalized results). This is a big deal that I think the industry still overlooks – partly because too many people believe that Google is using social signals as a ranking signal already.

Here is a 4 minute-ish video sliced out of the interview with Danny Sullivan that focuses just on the social signals part of the discussion:

Thanks to Scott Scowcroft for producing this video nugget (aka “The Scott Treatment”).

11. From Old School to New School: SEO in Transition

The Dark Side of the Web

Publication Date: 12/16/2013
Tweets: 904
Google Plus: 498
Facebook: 235
Buffer: N/A
LinkedIn: N/A
Total Social Events: 1637

The SEO industry is in a huge transition phase. No, SEO is not dead. not will it die soon, but it IS changing. You now need to view it as part of a broader marketing strategy, and there are plenty of times where conventional SEO advice is not the best overall marketing advice. Time to get with the program and go holistic, and this post maps out some of the changes that have already happened.

12. Study Shows No Clear Impact that Google Plus Drives Ranking

small-tne-test-many-terms

Publication Date: 9/17/2013
Tweets: 711
Google Plus: 276
Facebook: 171
Buffer: 106
LinkedIn: 148
Total Social Events: 1412

For me, this one of my top posts of the year. The post publishes the results of our study to directly measure the impact of Google+ on SEO. Unlike the (very valuable) correlation studies that Moz and Searchmetrics have done, we measured the lack of actual impact on rankings of sharing links to pages in Google+ posts. However, the social results were a major disappointment. Frankly, this one should have been a major groundbreaking study, but the problem is that people have seen too much on this topic already. Bummer.

13. Is AuthorRank Here?

A Snooker Scoreboard (Ranking)

Publication Date: 8/28/2013
Tweets: 721
Google Plus: 339
Facebook: 187
Buffer: N/A
LinkedIn: 161
Total Social Events: 1408

Once in-depth articles came out speculation quickly followed on whether or not AuthorRank had been born. Truth be told, that was my kneejerk reaction as well. But, a closer look at the truth of in-depth articles shows no indication of AuthorRank, but appears to show something more like a PublisherRank influence.

14. SEO Opportunities Begin Well Before New Website Development

Example of Bad Search Query Mix

Publication Date: 3/25/2013
Tweets: 846
Google Plus: 129
Facebook: 117
Buffer: 21
LinkedIn: 167
Total Social Events: 1280

This post focuses on the challenges of internal selling. In most organizations of any complexity there are going to be real issues getting buy-in to do the right things with the web site to support SEO. By the time site development has begun it is already too late. You need to get the process going long before site development starts, or else you will end up with a ton of problems to fix.

15. Long Tail Content For SEO — 2013 & Beyond

Mortgage Tips Search Results

Publication Date: 7/22/2013
Tweets: 596
Google Plus: 195
Facebook: 196
Buffer: 95
LinkedIn: 163
Total Social Events: 1245

For many businesses the long tail was the king of SEO, and that can still be the case if you do it properly. It is no longer about spewing pages out with keyword rich title tags though. Unless the pages have realy value, or you are a true authority site, that option is not open to you. You are going to have to take a different approach to your long tail SEO then you would have 3 years ago.

16. Why Enterprises Cannot Ignore Deep Link Building

Google Algo Update Frequency

Publication Date: 1/28/2013
Tweets: 700
Google Plus: 110
Facebook: 65
Buffer: 35
LinkedIn: 210
Total Social Events: 1120

I wrote this one early in the year, but I still like it. If you have a large complex site, you are going to have to figure out how to attract attention to pages other than the home page. This can be quite challenging, but major marketing challenges often are!

17. How to Shift From Guest Posting to Content Marketing in 6 Basic Steps

NY Times Accepts Guest Posts

Publication Date: 5/5/2013
Tweets: 783
Google Plus: 144
Facebook: 144
Buffer: N/A
LinkedIn: N/A
Total Social Events: 1071

So many SEOs became guest posting centric. Done the right way, guest posting is a perfectly fine tactic, but to many it was still about “getting links” rather than building authority. Publishers need to shift to a content marketing mindset and this post lays it out in 6 steps.

18. 10 Common Link Building Problems

Doorway Page Illustration

Publication Date: 2/10/2013
Tweets: 718
Google Plus: 137
Facebook: 210
Buffer: N/A
LinkedIn: N/A
Total Social Events: 1065

This post predated the one I did in April on the “Google perspective on links” and laid out a number of specific areas that I was asserting that Google did not like. Nearly all of these items are publicly confirmed now.

19. How to Determine the Potential Size of Your Content Marketing Opportunity

Google Bing Search Result Comparison

Publication Date: 1/22/2013
Tweets: 762
Google Plus: 90
Facebook: 93
Buffer: N/A
LinkedIn: 111
Total Social Events: 1056

A big key to getting a company to invest in content marketing is to convince the execs in your company that there will be a good ROI. The first step in that is sizing the opportunity, and I used this Copyblogger post to lay out how to come up with that number.

20. Content Curation & SEO: A Bad Match?

The Content Curation Spectrum

Publication Date: 8/25/2013
Tweets: 643
Google Plus: 184
Facebook: 173
Buffer: N/A
LinkedIn: N/A
Total Social Events: 1000

This one caused some controversy, but I still stand by it. Curated links are bad news for your web site. I know, I know, there is no reason that a legit publisher can’t actually add value via curating the best sites on the web for some topic, but that is not the point. Google has found through their testing that lowering sites that publish a lot of curated links pages improves their results. That is all there is to it. It has nothing to do with the quality of your set of links.

Comments

  1. says

    Great post, Thanks for sharing this very informative list about how SEO should be done. Definitely worth sharing to others.

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