The World of SEO In 2014
In the world of website and search engine optimization (SEO), content social media marketing, and Social Media Optimization (SMO), the last few weeks have been major turning point. It’s starting to look like SEO in 2014 will need to be very socially optimized.
Google has quietly, yet significantly, revealed the future of search engine optimization by making 6 major changes to it’s search engine algorithm as identified by Eric Enge in his post on Search Engine Watch.
Eric states “Google is doing a brilliant job of pushing people away from tactical SEO behaviour and toward a more strategic approach. You could argue that “tactical SEO is dead”, but that’s not quite right. And don’t run around saying “SEO is dead” because that is far from the truth, and I might just scream at you.”
Use A Strategic Approach to SEO
Believe it or not, Google does not want you to focus your optimization efforts on keywords and metadata alone.
While those types of fundamental basic SEO tactics are necessary, if your company or website business wants to remain competitive in your niche and rank high in search engine results for your targeted keywords, you need to look beyond keywords and metadata.
6 Recent Major Google Changes
Over the last few weeks, the following major developments have emerged from Google. They all point to Google’s complicated, multi-pronged, long term strategy.
1. ‘(not provided)’
Google has now made all organic searches secure as of September 23. SEO’s and website owners have now lost the ability to view and track the keywords that brought users to their website. Fear not, there are a few ways to get around this, which I will discuss in an upcoming article.
2. No Page Rank Update Since February
Google usually updates PageRank numbers every 3 months or so. To date there the last update was in February 2013. Matt Cutts, Google’s head of web spam, has said that PageRank won’t be updated again this year. Many think PageRank is going away. It likely is due to Google’s new focus.
3. Hummingbird – The New Algorithm
Hummingbird is built so Google can understand more complicated search queries and better understand long tail keyword searches. Google is ready for more of a conversational search future. All digital marketers should be as well.
I understand this isn’t new but it’s ‘new’ for some people and this is why you shouldn’t ignore the SEO value of G+.
Sharing from Google+ should be a given for any content publisher, blogger, or website owner. This recent infographic shows that Google+ shares are #1 on the list of top search engine ranking factors.
5. Google Authorship
Yes, this one isn’t new either. But I know many content creators and website owners who still haven’t got around to setting up their authorship. Google uses this info to associate new pieces of content with the person who wrote it. Giving that person instant credibility in search rankings – especially with a thumbnail photo identifying you with the highly ranked content.
6. In-Depth Articles
In early August Google announced a new feature they call “in-depth articles”. The advantage to this feature is that it’s a completely new way to rank in search results.
Optimize For The User Not For Google
You must focus on the optimizing for the user not the search engine. It’s critical businesses identify with and understand their targeted customer. Websites must be regularly publishing quality and relevant content and sharing the content daily through company social networks.
Publishing great content not only establishes the author as having authority in that subject matter but it wail also drive traffic to your website especially if your content is being shared by your fans and followers to their friends in their networks.
You must ensure your website is up to par to make it easy for not only users but for search engines to understand the structure and content on your site. The user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) will prove to become important factors for SEO in 2014. Google wants to send users to useful, relevant, well organized websites.
Using schema and other related markup language is important as well as Local SEO. If you’re a local business or retailer, Local SEO strategies and tactics should be very important to you.
SEO in 2014
Google wants us to be less obsessive over keywords, metadata, PageRank. They will continually be tweaking their search algorithms rewarding websites and content creators/authors who publish regular content that is relevant and useful to their niche.
If this content is well optimized (SEO and SMO) and begins to be shared through social networks, these shares will produce valuable social signals to search engines, which in turn ranks your website content higher and help you achieve your digital marketing goals.
What are you doing to prepare for SEO in 2014?