2013 was very intense for SEO – industry: Google surprised us with Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates. And, of course, the big news of the outgoing year is the new approach to the encoding of search queries, making them inaccessible to web analytics programs. All this intensified the new wave of talk about the end of SEO, and the statements like “SEO is dead” increasingly began to appear on the pages of blogs about internet marketing. My opinion is less pessimistic. Google has made big changes to their algorithm to control spam and low-quality content that just moved SEO another level.
At the same time the need of web presence for businesses has never been so important, and the competition so high. Returns (ROI) from a successful internet marketing is forcing companies to invest in this area. Another change of the year was the reduction in the effectiveness of SEO “gray practices” that requires new approaches that are more complex and time consuming.
We can say that the industry is moving from tactics to strategy: the best players will try to predict the development of Google algorithms and be proactive.
In this article I want to share my vision of where the SEO industry is moving and what is important to consider when building a strategy for 2014.
Tactics you used in 2013 still work with slight changes
I do not think it is news that the new Panda and Penguin updates continue their struggle with poor content and link schemes. What can we do? It is important to analyze the sites that were hit by Google penalties, including penalties for link schemes, content , internal optimization. This kind of analysis should help you avoid repeating the mistakes made by other websites. It is also important to do link profile audit from time to time using Disavow tool to minimize the risk of penalties.
SEO- strategy for 2014 should be based on a clear understanding of exactly what changes were brought in 2013 and what these changes mean in the context of strategy and tactics.
Content marketing has never been more important
Content marketing has evolved to be the route to success. From SEO point of view, Google will reward sites that offer useful content to users.
* quality content attracts the target audience of your business;
* users share interesting materials in social networks;
* quality content improves behavioral factors;
* content that is regularly published on the site, confirms that the site is “live” and developing;
* useful texts raise site credibility as a leader in the industry.
Changes to be made in your 2014 SEO strategy largely depend on at what stage is your content strategy at. Even companies with active content strategy may need to make some adjustments taking into consideration the increasing role of mobile devices.
If you are just starting to take the first steps toward content marketing, then now is the best time to make it work for your business.
Social networking is getting more and more important in the world of SEO
Social networks were important players in the world of Internet marketing in recent year. In the past, we have seen the rapid growth of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and others. Trend of the past two years – the development of Pinterest and Instagram – makes us rethink and plan better strategy in social networks.
Diversification becomes a major trend. Regardless of who your audience is, it is no longer enough to be represented in only one social network. Content marketing Institute published a study, according to which the most successful B2B companies are active in an average of 6 social networks.
“Social media platforms that had the biggest increase in use from last year to this year are SlideShare, Google+, and Instagram.”
Subsequent Google algorithm updates will increasingly rely on signals of social networks, which increasingly characterize the quality of the content.
New opportunities of Google+
Google+In should be taken into account when developing a social media strategy. Recent studies of MOZ confirm that Google+ is increasing its stake as one of the factors that is taken into account in the ranking algorithm.
“The look Moz took at social signals and its correlation with ranking factors is important. Google +1’s came out ahead of Facebook shares and tweets for correlated factors, although the surveyed SEOs did not believe that social signals are very important to Google search algorithm.”
However, we must remember that including a mechanism for Google Authorship to pages of the website you allow all content to be associated with the author and thus take advantage of Author Rank. We don’t know a lot about Author Rank for now, but we can assume that with time it will play an important role in the ranking factors.
Hummingbird and mobile SEO
2014th year will be the year of mobile SEO, and hummingbird is only a small part of a huge iceberg of changes that Google is trying to implement in response to the rapid growth of the search with tablets and smartphones. According to statistics every second citizen in the U.S. owns a smartphone, and every third a tablet.
Thus the state of your mobile site will directly affect its ranking. If your site is not optimized for mobile devices, it should be a priority in 2014.
“A Mashable survey in August 2013 revealed that 17.4 percent of global web traffic comes from mobile compared to 11.1 percent in the previous year. As more and more people will start accessing the Internet through their mobile devices, demand for mobile-optimized content will increase.”
Most of the changes that have been introduced by the algorithm Hummingbird, including semantic search and Knowledge Graph, will continue to evolve. Practically this is what prepares the search engines for the changes that we talked about above – increased voice searches from mobile devices.
Guest blogging is one of the most effective SEO tactics
Guest blogging has grown substantially over the past few years and continues to be one of the main tools getting quality links, traffic and brand promotion. But be aware that this method requires investment in the creation of quality content and a careful selection of sites where materials will be posted.
In other words, you need to make the same effort in guest blogging, just as in all other areas of SEO- strategy.