Do you obsessively track you company’s page rank? Do you worry when your website falls from the top search result position? Take a deep breath and relax. Sustainable online success is achieved by building a brand for the future – not by achieving page rank for a temporary period. In 2013, resolve to think beyond SEO tricks and start focusing on what you can do to make your website successful.

Resolution #1: Create content for customers, not for search engines.
Yes, Google matters. However, crafting content to meet Google’s algorithm requirements can only take your website so far. As the panda and Penguin updates remind us, the algorithm changes. Even if you carefully follow Google’s “rules”, your web traffic can change at any moment for reasons out of your control. What if you rank #10 on search engine results – but the front page decides to only show the top 5 hits? Thinking beyond page rank means to focus on quality content, sociability, interactivity and relevance. What does your company do that’s unique? How does your product resonate with customers? The answers to these questions should drive your content creation. Focus on creating quality content for customers, rather than for Google.

Resolution #2: Stop the SEO tricks – and learn what the metrics really mean.
For years, so-called SEO “experts” peddled smoke and mirror tricks to land a top page rank. “Achieve an optimal keyword density!” “Meta tags matter!” “Pay for reciprocal back links!” These tricks do little to improve search engine rank – and in most cases, they actually hurt it. SEO is not about tricks – it is about concrete analytics and research. If you are serious about improving your company’s page rank, don’t outsource your SEO to a company that promises a quick fix. Instead, start by looking at the data. What are your current conversion rates? What pages have a high bounce rate? What pages are rarely visited? Make sure you understand the link metrics that matter. Remove the links, called pruning, that you bought in the past from shady vendors. Understand your current analytic problems and develop informed solutions.

Resolution #3: Diversify web marketing: think beyond Google.
Page rank can only take your business so far; a diversified web marketing strategy must integrate meaningful social media interaction with quality content creation and customer relations. Depending on your business, this may include pay-per-click advertising, a strong social media presence, a blog, and an email newsletter. A diversified approach to web marketing will integrate quality content creation with social media marketing for enhanced SEO and improved conversion rates.

Resolution #4: Don’t try to look real: be real.
What does it mean to be real rather than trying to “look” real? It means to stop thinking about keywords when writing content and instead to focus on themes and relevancy. It means to stop worrying about paid back links and instead focus on creating sharable content for organic links. When your website is a real reflection of your business, it will organically be successful in search engine results. Customers will naturally share your content. In short, you’ll be building long-term sustainably and a powerful online brand — rather than grasping for fleeting search engine success.

A “New Way” of SEO

These four resolutions are a starting point for changing outdated thinking about SEO, page rank and website performance. Think of these resolutions as your guide to the “New Rules of SEO”.

Even in today’s data drive world, first-person consumer relationships are still paramount. These relationships drive long-term business sustainability in the digital marketplace. Our four SEO resolutions respect the business-consumer-product relationship, rather than relying on cheap tricks in an effort to “beat” an algorithm.

Gaming the system does not work. Period. Instead, embrace the new rules of SEO and position your business for success in 2013.