I will remember 2012 as the year when SEO took a giant leap forward.

It was the year when it became evident –among other things due to the diverse Google updates (Pandas and Penguins)– that if we looked to achieve consistent SEO growth over time we should definitely rely less time trying to trick search engines and short-term tactics that will be more difficult to scale and to focus more on doing #RCS.

It was also the year when content strategy became the sector trend and we at last started to seriously take into consideration content creation thinking more on connecting with audiences and not only search engines.

And the year when the strong emergence of Mobile and consolidation of Social made impossible to not take them into consideration as platforms and channels to maximize our online visibility.

Because all of this it has become more and more evident the multidisciplinary nature of SEO -one of the reasons because some of the sector leaders look to adopt a more inclusive brand for our work, as Inbound marketers- and despite some still existing misconception about our work we have had the chance to clarify and advocate about the real meaning and value of SEO, as happened a few days ago in Smashing Magazine, where many SEOs had the chance to share what “really” SEO is and I especially enjoyed the way Will Critchlow defined SEO in one of his comments:

… I would *define* SEO as being about those things (great developer, great content, great promotion – for the right definition of “great”) …

As an SEO I find myself recommending and supporting sites owners, marketers, copywriters, community managers and developers to improve their site architecture to become search engine friendly, to create relevant, compelling content to connect with their audience and to promote the content to get the desired visibility from their audience.

Since you cannot possibly create value for something you don’t know I have only one wish for 2013 in SEO: To get to know.

This is about getting to know (or know more) about the different aspects and elements of our work to be able to make better decisions, provide more effective recommendations and create much more value for our clients. It’s getting to know about:

The business:
What’s their Unique Selling Proposition? Where do they stand in their sector? What’s their company vision and philosophy? What’s a conversion for them? What are their current and planned marketing campaigns and online investments? Who are their competitors and what are they doing? If you still haven’t, this is the time to start talking and understanding your client about business to be able to identify those opportunities to maximize their visibility in a consistent way with their company goals.
The site:
How are they built? What are they lacking from? How they can be improved from a technical and content perspective? This is the foundation of our work. What we need to maximize. It’s time to start having a more fluid conversation with developers, copywriters and product managers if you haven’t. It’s time to become a technical marketer if you still are not one. It’s time to learn HTML and if you already know HTML to learn how to code. And if you don’t know what is content marketing this is the time to start.
The audience:
Who are them? What motivates them? What are they looking for? Where are they located? How are they converting? Start talking with the marketing team, community managers and the PR team if you haven’t. You need to identify and understand them to be able to connect with them.
Knowledge is power, in this case, the power to help our clients consistently in 2013. To get this knowledge we need to research, analyze, test and validate and above all, have access to trustworthy data. Pretty easy right?

Unfortunately it’s not all in our hands anymore, since getting to know many of the above-mentioned aspects can be challenging if data is obfuscated or simply, not provided.

What are we going to do as a sector to overcome this? We need to get to know and 2013 will be the year of this challenge.