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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

SEO in 2014: How you'll be affected

SEO is expected to continue to be a necessary practice if businesses want to rank highly in Google's search engine. Ranking highly in Google is especially important for getting potential customers to your website. Although SEO updates to the Google search algorithm such as Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird have had a harrowing affect on some business websites, the predictions for next year's algorithm updates are expected to be less drastic. In addition to the predicted SEO trends and algorithm updates in 2014, we'll provide a deeper look into the importance of social media and what you can do to increase your online presence in 2014. Start the New Year with a bang!

Predicted SEO trends in 2014


It’s predicted that SEO practices will continue to be the same in 2014 in respect to the importance of unique and relevant content with relevant back links. However, the current Google algorithm continues to allow certain websites to fall through the cracks.

For instance, the popularity of link buying may still work during the current updates of Google. However, Google is working hard to give credence only to links which are done in a natural manner. For instance, having 100 links with variations on the keyword "hair dye" as anchor text will be more effective than having 100 links which all contain the exact same keyword (known as exact match anchor text).

Although content and links will continue to be the main pillars of SEO success, social media has quickly become the third pillar which must be addressed in order to maintain and increase the ranking of your website.

Quickly following the importance of social media is the importance of multimedia in SEO tactics for 2014. Website content such as relevant images, videos, and audio should be encouraged in order to gain more visibility on Google's search engine.

Not only will the inclusion of multimedia possibly increase your Google ranking, but it will allow you to create synergy within your marketing campaign by integrating your brand, website, and social media presence: think viral marketing.

Expected Google algorithm updates


Google is no longer ranking pages for particular words. Rather, they are trying to find the best answer to users' queries. Hence, the new Google search engine is trying to be more conversational rather than informational.

This means that Google will ignore content that is too optimized for a particular word, and will instead try to gather the meaning of a particular page through the interrelationship of a variety of keywords and of media on a web page.

In short, they are trying to contextualize their search results. For businesses, this means that your content should answer questions by giving relevant answers. This will give your readers value which may get them back on your website and possibly make your company profitable in the long term.

The importance of Social Media: an SEO game changer


Google updates in 2014 seem to be instigating a global, online popularity contest in which the most socially popular websites will get the highest-ranking.


A company's Facebook likes, Google+ likes, and how socially active a company's profile is will factor heavily into a website's page ranking.


For businesses, this means that social media management has become a must. It is highly advisable that you hire a social media manager or commission an SEM/SMM agency to market your brand on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and other social media platforms.


In terms of new SEO practices, it's important to note that Google doesn't care what you say you do, rather it gives more status so what other people say you do. Meaning, that reviews, comments, likes, retweets and posts will weigh heavily on a website's PR. So now is the time to get those social media icons on your web site and start tweeting; it could be the difference between 1,000 visitors per month and 10,000 visitors per month.


Summarized trends for SEO in 2014:


1. Forget about just keywords, and focus on providing valuable answers to valuable questions.


2. Social media marketing: do it or die.


3. Integrate natural links and multimedia.


Now that you have an idea of where SEO is going in the future, you may wonder how you can use this to your advantage to grow your business by increasing your online audience. 


Here are 5 ways to make an impression on Google and on potential customers in 2014:


1. Make your website Mobile accessible


Google's release of Hummingbird was entirely geared towards optimizing their search results for mobile web users. This means that there is a growing trend towards mobile web use and it is highly advisable that businesses ensure their websites are optimized for mobile use to stay on-trend.


One easy way to achieve this is to increase the use of multimedia on your website. Mobile users are more likely to interact with photos, video, audio, and social media icons than they are to read long blocks of text when using their mobile devices. And of course it’s recommended that your website is a responsive website. 


Responsive websites are websites that adapt the layout to the viewing environment whether it be a 20” monitor, 11” widescreen laptop, iPad, iPad mini, other tablets, iPhones and other mobiles. Basically the purpose of responsive web design is to make websites that fit multiple screen sizes.


2. Get Reviewed


Reviews of your product/services will contextualize your company in the eyes of Google. Using reviews is the primary way that Google ascertains who you are, what you do, and how well you do it.


Because Google is concerned with giving users the best answer possible to the question typed into their search engine, it follows that companies with reviews within your industry will be ranked higher in the page results than companies with no reviews or poor reviews.


Reviews will also influence potential customers heavily because consumers are more likely to Google your company's products/services before making a purchase. So, make it easy for them to find you online by inspiring your current clientele to write about you.



3. Use content marketing techniques


Today's consumers are more highly educated and suspicious of traditional marketing tactics. This makes it harder to build trust with your potential market. A way in which you can do this is by offering them valuable content that puts your brand name in their good books. Although they may not make a purchase instantly, it helps you build and maintain goodwill: that is priceless.


More importantly, it gives people a reason to visit your site. Most people are entering a query into a search engine for a reason; they are trying to find the solution to a problem. If you can provide the solution to a problem in the form of a blog post, an FAQ page, a ‘how-to’ guide, or perhaps even a funny photo or video, you can gain their trust and their viewership.



4. Build a brand community


This takes time to do, but it could be the difference between success and failure. Think Facebook, Jeep, and Mac. What do all of them have in common besides being extremely successful companies? They all have passionate consumers who identify themselves with the product.


More importantly, they have opened up dialogue between the company and the consumers using social media platforms and other modes of online communication. An online presence can not only give your company publicity and create a brand identity, but it can allow others to make your brand culturally significant. This cultural significance makes it easier for people to identify with your company, products, and services.


Integrate social media into your website, but try to go above and beyond. By using multimedia platforms such as YouTube, Vine, and Pinterest, you can create a culturally stimulating marketing campaign that encourages your customers to interact and identify with your brand.



5. Get users back to your website


Ninety-five percent of people who come to your website will never return.
If you could get people back to your website by providing amazing content, or some other valuable incentive, you can increase the profitability of your website simply by getting more out of your regular clientele.


One very simple way to get repeat visitors is to use social media and continue to communicate with your fans/customers. The more you post on Twitter and Facebook, the more exposure your brand is getting, and the more likely someone is going to click, link, and share your website.

Although an increased online presence may not directly result in increased sales, it is definitely an important step in authenticating the quality of your products/services and is a cost effective method of generating brand awareness on a global stage.


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Sources:

Ball, Jon. “Local link building: an easy win.” Search Engine Watch. Inclusive Interactive Marketing, 14 June 2013.


DeMers, Jayson. “The top 7 social media marketing trends that will dominate 2014.” Forbes Magazine, online.  Forbes, 24 Sept 2013.


McCoy, Josh. “3 SEO success factors for 2014.” Search Engine Watch. Inclusive Interactive Marketing, 14 October 2013.


What’s the Future of Online Marketing in 2014? Predictions and Projections.” Syndacast, 25, Oct 2013. 


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