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It’s that time of the year again where every blogger, marketer, and interested bystander start making lists that either look back and review some of the great things that happened over the year or look forward and predict (with hit-or-miss accuracy) what we can expect in the next 12 months.

Who are we to buck the trend?

Now, there are a lot of ways an online marketing company could validly rate its best blogs of the years. Page views. Tweets. Comments. Opportunities for self promotion. (I tried but couldn’t justify including some of my own on this list.) In this case, though, I’ve collected our 13 Best Blogs of 2013 based on a combination of all those factors (minus the opportunity for self promotion).

So, I present for your consideration:

1. Is Instagram a Valid Marketing Tool?

Can Instagram be more than an extensive stream of selfies and out-of-focus action shots? According to the current trends, there’s a lot of opportunity here for it to be much more. Just like any other social network, it requires some extensive community building efforts and recognizable branding, but with more than 150 million users sharing 16 billion photos, it will be worth it.

2. How To Write Compelling Content For A Boring Industry

As a writer at an SEO company, I’ve created content about cloud computing, bathroom tiles, wooden hangers, and concrete walls. Yup. Walls. You try and write 600 words about walls and see how much better you do.

The simple fact is that there are some industries that don’t seem to lend themselves to a compelling content strategy. With a little thought and creativity, though, you can still find ways to engage your customers and build an audience.

3. The Ten Commandments Of Pinterest

In the last year, Pinterest has solidified its position as one of the most important social media networks for online marketers. Many websites are showing huge traffic increases from their efforts on Pinterest, and it is proving to be very valuable.

Of course, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything. In this post we look at some of the “Thou Shalts” and “Thou Shalt Nots” of using Pinterest effectively.

4. 10 Keys To A Successful Content Marketing Campaign

2013 was the year that “Content Marketing” became the go-to strategy for online marketers. The theories behind it are sound, and when it’s done right, it will have a much better chance of weathering the search engine algorithm changes.

Content marketing is something large and small companies can do. It’s a great way to build trust and establish a brand. Take a look at this post to discover the elements of the most successful campaigns.

5. Online Marketing for Black Friday – The Ultimate Guide

This is technically a very seasonal post that shouldn’t have a lot of value beyond the holiday shopping season… right? Not necessarily. This post takes a look at what is required to run successful, seasonal campaigns. You could just as easily apply this information to summertime products, Valentine’s campaigns, or anything else throughout the year.

6. 29 Free Resources for Creating Online Visual Content

Not everyone has the time, money, or staff to produce the visual assets that are such an important part of modern content marketing strategies. In this post we’ve collected 29 tools and resources that are (generally) easy to use and, more importantly, free. Some of them may have a bit of a learning curve, but they all provide a great opportunity to augment your online marketing efforts.

7. 11 Amazing Tools For Generating Blog Topic Ideas

Whether you’re working in a “boring” industry or not, there comes a time when you just can’t think of anything else to write. A time when the thought of writing about the same old cloud computing or concrete walls just one more time may lead to internal hemorrhaging of some kind.

It doesn’t have to be like that, though. If you’re looking for ways to generate some new ideas – to find a new angle on old content – then check out this list of great tools.

8. How To Create Killer Pinterest Graphics With PowerPoint

In this list, we’ve already talked about how important Pinterest is, and we’ve shown you a lot of free tools to make great graphics (something that is a little necessary for getting noticed on Pinterest). Now consider one other option for creating simple but shareable graphics: PowerPoint. Most of us already have it on our computers and have some experience with it. Check out this post and learn how to quickly generate some eye-catching content.

9. 5 Creative Ways to Promote Your Blog Posts

It’s not enough to post a blog and hope for the best. It’s also not enough to use the same, tried-and-true methods to promote the post. It may be a good start, but you’ll find that it soon plateaus and won’t send any new traffic your way. Take a look at these five methods for creatively spread the word about your latest blog.

10. Anchor Text Isn’t Dead, But It’s On A Feeding Tube

Pandas, penguins, and hummingbirds all had their way with a lot of websites this year. Some of it wasn’t pretty, but a lot of it was necessary. There were a lot common practices out there that were muddying the search results, and Google came down hard on them, handing out penalties like they were going out of style.

One such penalty was for “over optimization,” or too much exact match anchor text pointing the same way. Many SEOs took the reactionary approach, and tried to eliminate everything that even resembled exact match anchor text. However, this may not have been necessary. We just had to start looking at linking differently.

11. 102 Things I’ve Learned About Internet Marketing

102 things? Yup. That’s long. Take a look at them, though. There will be a test later.

12. How To Make Authorship Part Of Your Content Marketing Strategy

Authorship is becoming more important every day. Is it part of your marketing strategy? Google is pushing this hard right now, because they want to be able to tie specific content to specific people. They want to show that someone real is behind the post and want to rank a trusted author higher than anyone else. Take a look at the information contained here and make sure you’re set up to build your authorship ranking.

13. 71 Chrome Extensions for Blogging & SEO

This post was actually a revised and updated version of one that was posted a couple years ago. Why? Because there is a constant flow of new or improved Chrome extensions that can help with your SEO efforts. Expect to see another update from us in the future. Check out this list and see which tools will help improve your online marketing campaign.

Great Things on the Horizon

2013 was a pretty crazy year with huge updates happening to the search engines and marketing trends changing to something more involved and complex, but far more sustainable. We’re expecting no less from 2014, and as our company continues to evolve we’ll share everything we learn right here. Stay tuned for more great stuff next year.