Search engine optimization is continuing to evolve in all sorts of ways. Last year, 2012, was one of the most significant years in search engine optimization history. The way that search engine optimization is conducted was altered by a multitude of search engine algorithm updates.
The way search engine optimization is in 2013 is similar to search engine optimization in 2012, but we can already see important changes. Basic search engine optimization tactics no longer apply. Practicing basic search engine optimization tactics such as optimizing content are not only out of date, but they may also hurt your search engine rank.
Still, finding success in search engine optimization comes down to the one thing it always did; content. Your content, not unlike before, must be of high quality and must be relevant. Optimize for your visitors first then for the search engines if you ever want to find success in search engine optimization. Content needs to be your focus as far as search engine optimization goes in 2013.
In 2012 Google released its Google Penguin update. This knocked out thousands upon thousands of low quality websites from search engine results. Your website will not be affected if you provide quality content on your websites. Your website needs to add value, not just content that you created for search engine optimization purposes.
Besides content, you need to continue to build backlinks to your website. Unlike before though, you need to stay away from things like link exchanges. You can continue to do them but I only recommend doing them for traffic purposes. This means that you need to avoid doing link exchanges with websites that offer dofollow links. Even though Google and search engines look at both the amount of links a website has and the quality of links the website has, never forget that it is always going to be "quality over quantity". Gaining ten high quality backlinks to your website will be more valuable to you than gaining one hundred low quality backlinks to your website. The more high quality links you have, the better your visibility in the search engines will be.
All in all, search engine optimization hasn't changed much in 2013 but you do need to focus your attention on the little things you didn't before. Don't concentrate only on search engine optimization though. Make sure that your website is optimized for mobile devices as well, make sure your website is crawlable by the search engine robots, and make sure your website is technically sound.