What SEOs Need to Know in 2014
:: By Manas Kumar, www.1seoin.com ::
The search engine optimization world is evolving continuously, and those responsible for improving their company's position in the search engine result pages (SERPs) must change with it. The past year has seen Google update their algorithms to make it more "user-search" friendly and to stop fraud contents from getting relevance. The important encryption changes are the inculcation of Hummingbird, Panda and Penguin with which keyword piling will no longer work. The days of ranking a keyword are gone with Google taking stern steps to stop spam, forcing SEO firms to take up new strategies to survive.
What lies in the future for SEO
SEO firms can no longer rely solely on ranking keywords in search results; instead they have to shift their collective attention to proximity of keywords and content, like user reviews. Google will no longer propel any keyword strategy, and you have to get attention from social, content-focused efforts. Google is making every effort to bring everything together through systematic improvement and local tie-ins to develop conversational search, which is used, in mobile technology. One has to concentrate on local-social integration to gain prominence, as unique intuitive content, proper link building and local listings will depend more deeply on user-generated content (like the previously mentioned reviews).
• Proper, useful contents should be given importance.
• Businesses should be left to building a local presence rather than just creating a local listing.
• Building brands is no longer the objective. Instead, a community that keeps audiences in tune with products and services with proper communication will get more preference.
• Giving a better user experience to site is more viable than just optimizing a site.
How Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird will impact SEO
The three updates made by Google will fight spam and enhance the need for quality content. Both Penguin and Panda have stressed the importance of quality content, so one can see only the best written and researched content on the top pages of Google while the poorly written or supported material will be pushed down. With the Hummingbird update, SEO experts should not adopt any strategy to fill the contents with keywords, irrelevant keywords and phrases, as these "strategies" will not work anymore. Instead, relevant good and unique content will be the winners. SEO experts have to provide authentic credible contents as sites providing good, helpful material that keep the audience engaged (as seen through time-on-site, average number of pages visited, etc.) on a regular basis will only get customers naturally.
Big role of social media in SEO
This year will see social media taking an important role in digital marketing strategy of SEO. Having social media profiles, however, is not enough. Successful companies will be those that are active in, around, seven networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, LinkedIn, etc.). The same content on every network is not going to give fruitful results either; some sites give more preference to visual content while some social media sites give more importance to longer contents. The social media sites are going to be the main base for customer relationships, so marketers or customer service representatives need to get in the habit of responding to customers' queries as they come up. As SEOs build their social strategy, they should keep in mind that Google + is backed by the leading search engine and promoting businesses through the site should be more beneficial.
It should be noted, however, that Google’s Matt Cutts came out to “debunk” Moz's claim that +1s (equivalent to Facebook's "likes") are more highly correlated with search rankings than any other factor, stating “If you make compelling content, people will link to it, like it, share it on Facebook, +1 it, etc. But that doesn't mean that Google is using those signals in our ranking. Rather than chasing +1s of content, your time is much better spent making great content.” Regardless, using the Google-owned social media network is an essential part of a business promotion strategy that SEO experts have to make use of.
Other strategies that an SEO should follow
Link earning is the latest link building technique that makes for a successful SEO campaign. The idea is to build assets that customers want to link to, and it can take any form like images, videos, story, apps, things that make people encouraged to link to a company (in other words, content marketing). Links with real value that can truly benefit a customer will get more preference.
Additionally, mobile technologies, from smartphones to tablets are on the rise and will overtake desktops soon. SEO experts should concentrate on mobile search to get more attention. Sites have to optimize for mobile devices, as sites that are not will lose prominence. SEO experts have to see that sites are not loaded with flash as they do not work on most devices.
The year 2014 will see the increase of better content, social media marketing and mobile search optimization to gain prominence in the SEO world. The idea is to focus on customers more than a brand to stay on the search results pages of search engines.