2013 was a significant year for search engine optimization (SEO) professionals, with one of the largest algorithm changes made by Google in nearly a decade. Some predicted SEO was all but dead. Fear not. SEO is not dead, but it is once again evolving; and with these changes it is best to have diversified sources of traffic because organic SEO is going to get more difficult. Going forward in 2014, much of what you learned in 2013 is still going to be relevant. However, there are definitely several key things you should keep in mind with respect to search engine optimization this year:
1. Content marketing is going to be more important than ever. According to one study, the most effective B2B marketers allocate 39% of their budget on it. This same 2014 study also shows that 78% of these marketers are planning to create more content this year over the prior year. However, providing just any content is not sufficient. Rather than rankings, a focus on the addressing the topic at hand in-depth and clearly will be given priority by Google. Short and poor-quality posts are going to be pushed aside. Offering regular, quality, helpful content not only keeps current readers engaged, but it will be shared naturally, and bring in new readers as well. The fact is, by writing for the audience you are trying to attract, you are also writing in a way preferred by Google which can only help your SEO ranking.
2. Authorship is becoming more important too. Google is going to look at your entire portfolio of work across the net and assign an “author rank” if you will. Exactly how this is being measured is unknown, but they can potentially measure the responses to an author’s work via sharing, links, posted comments, etc. Being relevant and in tune with your customers not only on your site, but in the social space as well can help build your reputation within an industry. Furthermore, by building a community within the social space, you can keep your audience engaged, and up-to-date about your brand.
3. Speaking of social media, it should be a required part of your search engine optimization strategy. Ask yourself; are you active on all the social networks that matter to your customers? If the answer is no, begin fixing it immediately. According to one study, successful BSB marketers were linked up to an average of seven social media networks. Organic SEO goes in hand with social media with users sharing content. Just remember that while content is king, the same content will not work across all networks equally well. Some platforms, for example, are more suited for visuals than written content. Don’t forget to enable an easy way for people to share your content across these social networks.
4. It is truly a mobile world we live in. 91 percent of American adults own a cell phone, with 56 percent of them owning a smart phone. 61 percent already access the Internet via their phone. As the mobile market continues to grow, so will the importance of a mobile search engine optimization strategy in 2014. Optimizing your website for mobile phones and tablets is an absolute must as part of that strategy.
If this seems overwhelming, just remember Google’s search engine objective: to retain and add new users, encourage its users to utilize the search engine frequently, and of course click on their ads. To do this, they diligently work to remove black-hat techniques and seek out real, quality results for a search. So, as long as you continue to focus on the customer, and on offering content which speaks to them, you can remain on top of the rankings game.