As the year comes to a close, I'd like to review my two 2013 predictions and see if they came true or not.
1. I predicted that the H1 tag would become more active again in search engine optimization, and they would be used correctly.
As part of that prediction, I stated that you can't overload your headlines with keywords any more. You need to go back to using the header of your web pages as the headline topic of the page. Prior to 2012, the header was being abused by SEO firms who were just listing phrases like "Engagement Rings" in their H1 tags.
I looked back over a few 2013 surveys and found many people who stated that H1 tags are not an important SEO ranking factor any more. This might be true, but I've found that they are still valuable if you avoid keyword stuffing.
So did this prediction come true? Yes, website owners started using the H1 tag for what it was supposed to be used for. This result is an easier to use web.
2. My prediction that keyword ranking would not matter anymore could not be more true!
In 2011, Google started to obfuscate keyword information, and the amount of information they hid in 2012 seemed to hint at a much greater goal. From August to September 2013, they almost 100% blocked keyword information and forced all SEM Pros to rethink how to rank websites.
In my prediction, I suggested that website ranking would be based on "full website pages or blog posts." Throughout 2013, without realizing it, I started referring to this as ranking for "topics."
Honestly, I hate it that this prediction came true because it makes the job of an SEM Professional harder, but it really does make the web a better place for users.
3. In early 2013, I said that you needed to share content to LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google Currents, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and Stumble Upon to get visitors to your site.
After a year of watching these how shared content drives people back to a website, I know that the worth wile efforts include Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and Twitter, in that order. I didn't even mention Pinterest last year. Tumblr didn't attract interest of jewelers; Google Currents didn't perform as well as hoped and was phased out. Although Stumble Upon still exists it isn't mentioned much by the SEM Professionals I associate with.
Sharing content is still important, perhaps the lesson here is to pay attention to the trends and always share to the most networks that have a strong foothold as well as the trending new ones.
4. I also suspected that Google would put a stronger value on website authority and authorship.
I was both right and wrong with this one. Early in 2013, Google was giving a lot of ranking weight to websites that were using by-lines and authorship.
Setting up authorship requires a Google+ account and to use your real name. I view this as Google's way to convince more people to use Google+ even though there are plenty of other more compelling reasons to use it.
As usual, many people thought authorship alone was a quick way to improve their website ranking, and they were right. For a while Google was more highly ranking any web page that used authorship, but towards the end of 2013 they changed that to only benefit pages with quality, original content.
5. In August 2013, I predicted that we would see a mobile usage spike up to 40% during the 2013 holiday season.
It turns out that this prediction was an underestimation. My measurements through the holiday season actually saw a sustained 41.1% mobile usage. That's quite considerable and it shows how important mobile website design is for users.
2013 was a year of big change in the way the internet works. Google, Facebook, Bing, Apple, and even Microsoft all introduced new website technology, new digital technology, and changed the way we view the world through that technology.
This was a year of big change, the likes of which we probably won't see for a few more years.
If you work in the jewelry industry, you can stay tuned here to keep up to date with how all these changes in technology affect your business.