8 Things That Didn’t Happen in SEO in 2013 (But Could Have)

SEO 2013 in review

OK, it’s that time of the year I guess.

Time for predictions.



But also a time to reflect and understand the 12 months now gone, especially the turmoil that 2013 brought to the industry. Perhaps to see some logic behind it all and to foretell what the coming year might hold in store for us.

But, in spite of the so many things that happened in the Search industry in 2013, there were also things that, in spite of heavy anticipation just didn’t, for one reason or another.

Now, not everything can happen (and as it often is in life, most of the stuff that does isn’t what we would really wish for) but judging by the general wishes of many SEOs, some of these things many of us would still like to see happening. Well, we might still have to wait for them.

For now though, let’s look at what didn’t happen in 2013 in the industry…

1. No Real Competitor Challenged Google 

Yes, I know, Bing’s market share grew. Nonetheless, there is still no serious competitor to challenge Google.

Even though both Bing and Yahoo account for approx. 29.3% (December comScore stats) of search market and are growing steadily (or rather Bing is since Yahoo only uses its search), I believe they still have a log way to go before they will be able to challenge the Google domination.

Moreover, it’s worth to note that Google does not just control search but an operating system of many of mobile devices, giving them the ability to reach every customer you might wish, something that further expands their market share ahead of competitors.

As for other search engines, neither Blekko nor DuckDuckGo delivered much, and that’s despite promising starts whereas Yandex.com was still beta (without telling us so).

2. Google+ Didn’t Really Go Anywhere

In spite of Google claiming 300 million active G+ users, and the fact that at some point it seemed to outpaced Twitter, it doesn’t seem that Google+ really went anywhere beyond the numbers in 2013.

Activities on the network still seem far behind their main competitors. Things are naturally far better than they were in 2011 but the network still doesn’t look too, well, social.

And, in spite of high hopes, there is also no evidence of Google+ adoption helping with achieving higher rankings in any way.

So, where does the massive growth (in numbers) come from then? Perhaps it’s Googles effort to tie all their services together. Simply, log into one, and you are now logged into all…cheeky, no?

3. Black Hats Didn’t Completely Disappear from the Picture

Google has clearly upped their game in fighting black hat techniques, there is no denial. It seems though that in spite of their efforts, some black hat techniques still work.

Sure, the search community has become more vigilant towards spammy SEO techniques (which might be considered Google’s biggest win of the year) but overall, there are areas in which black hats might still be winning.

Check out our post here outlining techniques black hats use to outrank quality sites.

4. Links Are Still A Ranking Factor

There’s been a lot of discussion about this one. And, in spite of some signals, predictions and general guesses of the opposite, links remained a ranking factor. Perhaps their role might have diminished slightly in favour of other factors but overall, they still work. This has been further confirmed by Matt Cutt’s two statements:”Not all link building is bad” and that “links still have many good years ahead of them”.

5. We Didn’t Get Our Keywords Back

Cheeky I know but hey, who secretly didn’t wish for this one? Actually many still do but instead of bringing our keywords back, Google has taken most of them away from us. In fact, according to our (not provided) report, currently over 82% searches in the US are being blocked by Google. And, the number’s still growing…

6. Authorship Didn’t Influence Rankings

Many of us had high hopes for Authorship. OK OK, at least I did. After all, it seemed like a brilliant idea to not only fight low quality content but also, influence your rankings depending on how authoritative you are in your field. Well, as of today, there doesn’t seem to be any indication that authorship helps in rankings in any way. Furthermore, Google seems to have found it to be easily manipulative, and removed 15% of it from search last month to only show more authoritative authors.

7. Neither Did Social Media

There were hopes for that too, especially when it comes to Google+ of course. Yet, once again, social media does not help with rankings (or at least there doesn’t seem to be any indication of that fact.). All in all though, the importance of it grew last year, with many marketers using their social reach to drive more non-search traffic to their sites and build up a brand. And from that point of view, win.

8. Oh And Lastly, In Spite Of So Many Claims, Seo Hasn’t Died (Hey, It’s Not Even Terminally Ill!)

OK, I admit I initially didn’t even want to include this one on the list. Yet, there were so many proclamations of the demise of our industry in 2013 that in spite of “SEO is dead” slogan turning into such a cliche that most of us don’t want to hear it anymore, it just had to make it to the list.

The good news is, the industry is doing well. Pat on the back to us all for keeping it that way!

What Else Would You Add to the List?

What else you think didn’t happen in 2013 (but was highly anticipated by the industry)? I am sure there is more than the above 7 so let us know of anything else in comments below.

2 responses to “8 Things That Didn’t Happen in SEO in 2013 (But Could Have)

  1. Even if social media doesn’t directly influence ranking, the activity there is still important for all brands and business. I mean you get down to talking to your customers. Where they can listen, where you become more than just a product, a store , a brand. You become part of their life and a way of expressing their personality. It’s exposure.

    1. I’ve worked on ecommerce sites where 100% of the traffic came from social. Those sites were profitable without paying 1 iota of attention to SEO.

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