These seven tips should help you pull ahead of the competition by modernizing your SEO and leading the push forward in 2013: [h=2]1. Create an Interactive, Engaging, User-Friendly Website With Minimal Load Time[/h] Before we talk about how to stay relevant in the search results, we should start by talking about how to make the most out of each visitor. That means boosting your conversion rate as much as possible with: Attractive site design Interactive elements that keep users from feeling passive ?Gamification,? by giving site visitors the ability to leave reviews, earn badges or points, participate in forums, start groups or ?pinterest? style collections, use wikis, and other community-building tools Keep page load time low so that users don?t bounce off the site before it even loads Remove clutter from the site so that users aren?t distracted or overwhelmed with choices and minutia Remove as many steps as possible from processes like signing up or making a purchase [h=2]2. Don?t Forget about Panda[/h] An eCommerce site is especially susceptible to updates like Panda because they are content-centric. In many ways, Panda treats the entire Web as though it consisted of blogs, videos, and content built to entertain and inform. Panda is designed to hit sites that don?t solve problems for users or focus too much on advertising. Ecommerce sites can suffer due to their commercial nature. They can easily resemble thin affiliate sites and can lose search impressions as a result. What can an eCommerce site do to prevent this: Don?t use template product descriptions, either provided by the manufacturer or developed in house. Each product should have its own unique content. This is where user generated content can be especially helpful. If creating unique content for every product isn?t possible, it?s a good idea to noindex your product pages and focus on creating unique and helpful content on your category pages instead. Consider starting a blog on your site. If the search results are moving in the direction of content, it might be better to go with the flow than to fight it. This can be a good way to attract links and build customer retention. [h=2]3. Don?t Get Excessive With Keywords[/h] If you want a page to rank for a particular keyword these days, all it really takes is making sure that the page is about the keyword, and the search engine has a decent amount of text to work with. If you stuff the keyword into your title, description, content, alt tag, and excessively interlink all of your pages, it becomes clear to Google that your site is built for search engines, not users. It is still good practice to get your keyword, or something similar to it, in your title tag, but beyond that it?s generally good practice to forget about the whole thing. Squeezing keywords into subheadings doesn?t appear to have any positive affect anymore, and keyword density is a thing of the past. As Google shifts away from links and keywords and towards statistical data and co-citation, site owners should focus on giving users as much helpful information as possible, rather than on using keywords. The search engines are increasingly good at sifting through this data to draw conclusions about the relevancy and legitimacy of pages on your site. [h=2]4. Go Mobile[/h] According to Forbes, more than 20 percent of online shopping sessions are now happening on mobile devices. At the same time, the vast majority of online stores simply aren?t optimized for use on mobile devices. They are difficult to read, the buttons are too small, and users are frustrated. Forbes estimates that within three years, half of all shopping sessions will be happening on mobile devices. Furthermore, CMS wire predicts that being compatible on mobile won?t be enough. Consumers expect unique capabilities from their mobile devices more suited for people who aren?t tethered to their desk. Gilt?s CEO expects mobile to be the important place for eCommerce sites to be next year, adding that online shoppers tend to be more wealthy. Online sales are expected to grow to 9 percent of all shopping next year, and Gilt says 60 percent of its traffic is coming from tablets and phones. [h=2]5. Leverage Social Media and Switch Toward Sites Like Pinterest[/h] According to social commerce firm 8thBridge, the eCommerce leaders over the past year have fallen into one of three categories: Those that have found a way to make their websites deeply social in a way that makes users want to engage with the site and share from it. ?In transition? sites that do well on all social platforms and use a variety of strategies. Companies that have a knack for going viral on social networks and drawing in referral traffic as a result. Success with social media is about more than putting up a social signpost. Successful strategies encourage reviews, community, and photo sharing.