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January 28, 2014

SEO Lessons I Learned in 2013

I’ve been into Internet marketing for the past four years, but all this experience doesn’t mean that I am a ‘guru,’ nor do I have all the answers. I have made a ton of mistakes in these four years and each year I’ve learned from these mistakes and tried my best not to repeat them.

One of my favourite quotes that applies to all of life, not just Internet marketing, is: “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

2013 was a year in which we saw many developments; laborious SEO tactics that were once effective became deprecated. Google updated its algorithms over and over to make search results better. Many link-building techniques were penalized, many big brands and newspapers were penalized and we also entered the era of the disavow.

Most recently, sites that used Anglo Rank were penalized.

“There are absolutely NO footprints linking the websites together” Oh, Anglo Rank.

— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) December 6, 2013

Each year, my exploration in SEO taught me many lessons; 2013 was no different. It taught me the importance of being creative, coming up with out-of-the-box strategies, the importance of relationship building and much more.

I would like to share a presentation that represents what many SEOs did in 2013 and the lessons which I learned.

The plan which I now follow:

Lessons I learned in 2013

1. “The objective is not to make your links appear natural … the objective is that your links are natural”  — Matt Cutts

The year 2013 taught me that, instead of building links, we should earn links. Earning links is not at all easy. One has to work hard and build reputation. Yes, it’s time consuming, so be patient.

Matt Cutts and his Web spam team were furiously busy in 2013 compared to previous years. We saw many updates to identify and penalize sites that used “clichéd” link building techniques.

Directory sites, articles sites, paid links, and link networks were penalized in 2013. Old-school tactics like forum posting, signature links, open comments are now outdated and have been cast aside. Now you have to be real. You have to participate authentically and be active on forums in such a way that other members will notice you and then link to you organically.

2. A successful search engine marketing strategy needs a process

Defining a process will ensure the success of a campaign. The SEO process is not all about chasing the Google algorithm, it’s about understanding the business/audience and to give the users what they want.

3. Talk to your clients and strengthen relationships

In my client management experience, I have learned that this is one of the best ways to smoothen a client relationship.

4. Try new things

Be adventurous. Experiment with new content or approaches.

5. Diversify everything you do

This should be mainly considered while link building. Google devalues your backlink profile if all your links are similar. Diversifying your link building efforts will ensure natural search performance and a reduced susceptibility to current and future search engine penalties.

6. SEO is evolving with marketing

7. Give yourself a break 

Don’t make yourself miserable by focusing on the daunting obstacles your job brings.

8. (Not provided) Not a problem

The true measure of success is neither the rankings, nor the traffic, but by conversion rates and quality of your leads.

9. Learn from your competition.

Try to understand and identify the strategies used by your competitor and try implementing those strategies for your site.

10. Give away everything you know

11. Teach as many as possible to help grow your network

12. There is no replacement for unique content

13. SEO is never-ending

14. Internet marketing never dies

Click the link to view an interesting infographic from Forbes.

15. You’ll probably never outsmart Google


Christy Kunjumon is an inbound marketer at TechWyse with more than three years of experience. He primarily focuses on analytics, CRO, SMM, local SEO and link earning. You can follow him on Twitter @christykunjumon to get his latest insights.