In all honesty, SEO will not change a great deal in 2014, but there are some fundamental basics that need to be approached slightly differently if you want to stand yourself in good stead for the year ahead. The Google Hummingbird algorithm launched in August this year has evolved search to a new level and underlined the need for quality content.
The Google landscape has changed dramatically in recent years, but it’s fair to say that search engine technology is improving all the time. But that means SEO companies and webmasters in general need to consistently adopt different strategies to make the most of the latest algorithms. In 2014, your SEO strategy should be content focused.
What to do with keywords
It used to be the case that keywords were essential to your page rank, but have taken a back seat now Hummingbird is able to understand search queries semantically. That doesn´t mean that keywords are not required, as search engines still use them to index a web page in the correct category.
Keywords should still be used in the title of an article and throughout the article. Hummingbird has changed the way we use keywords very little except they no longer need to be placed in the strategic positions of opening line and last line of the opening paragraph and the final line of the article.
The idea behind the new algorithm is to encourage better quality content rather than having to read an awkward sentence because it had a specific keyword rammed in it. The new algorithm is able to understand the context of written content so use plenty of words synonymous with the subject you are talking about.
UPDATE: Read our January 2014 update on Guest Posting.
Guest blogging is a great way to build up incoming links and have your work read by people visiting other sites. It helps to raise your online profile and marks you up as an authority in your area of expertise. If you are not already you should be guest blogging.
Link building however does carry a threat of a penalty, so if you do start an outreach program be careful how you lay your back links. You want to be attracting links for sites with some authority, most notably web magazines that allow you to publish the article under your own name and link the article back to your site in the author bio.
Publishing an article in an ezine is not always easy, especially if you are not familiar with the way editors work. Always read the writers guidelines before you pitch your article. If you do not feel confident writing yourself, hire a professional content writer. They may also be able to get you better links.
Ideally, you want to be invited to write for an industry magazine on a regular basis so that you can demonstrate you are a reliable and trustworthy source with authority in your field. You will be able to write under your own name and get a link back to your website in the author bio. When Google Author Rank kicks in, your guest writing should be taken into account with a better SERPs position.
Social media frenzy
If you do not have a social media account by now you need slapping around the face with a wet fish! Social media is one of the most important aspects of your SEO strategy and platforms such as Facebook and Google+ will take digital marketing to another level in 2014.
We have known for some time that social media was going to play a vitally important role in online marketing and now Google are awarding webmasters better page ranks when their content is shared through social media. In 2014, you should be putting a strong emphasis on engaging your followers and encouraging them to share your content.
Sharing your content through various social media networks will attract new visitors and customers to your website. You can also analyse Facebook and Google+ to get to know your audience better. Identify conversation trends you can use for inspiration on your next marketing campaign and send unique special offers to valued customers.
The number of people using their portable handsets to shop is the fastest growing business ever and is estimated to grow further in 2014. It is therefore vital that you gear your website up to be compatible with all sizes of smartphone screens.
This can be achieved by having a site that uses responsive web design and these should be optimised to ensure that the mobile experience is slightly different to the desktop. Ensure that different landing pages are used for mobile and that each device is only served the content it needs in order to perform at its best. When approached a new design, talk it over with your web developer to gain the best approach. Think mobile first and you won’t go too far wrong in 2014.
According to a study conducted by Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly, forty per cent of consumers browse two or three websites before they decide which one to purchase from. Customer reviews also carry a lot of weight so it is a good idea to encourage customers to leave reviews.
Plan your mobile marketing strategy skilfully and you will improve your sales. You need to keep on top of mobile marketing, assess the competitions special offers and react quickly to queries from prospects.
With Hummingbird producing better quality results and webmasters producing better quality content, 2014 promises to be a big year for search engines, SEO companies and webmaster everywhere. Make sure that your site gets it right.