It has been an incredibly eventful year in terms of updates from Google. Major 2013 changes included further releases of Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird which has provided a definite shift towards higher quality content and less spam.
At the same time, the need for an online presence has never been stronger, while the landscape has never been more competitive. To rank well for dental and treatment related keywords for your location is paramount for any dentist who wants to attract new patients. To achieve this is now much harder, but the rewards are greater.
Have a look at the follow article which speculates what we can expect from SEO in 2014 and what strategies we must adopt in order to rank well….
When you look closely at the targets of the 2013 updates (ie, websites that cheat their way to the top of the rankings or provide no value to visitors), I anticipate seeing these carried forward throughout 2014. We can continue to expect micro adjustments to Panda and Penguin that continue to target both link quality and content quality.
Smart marketers will benefit from keeping a close eye on their link profiles, and performing periodic audits to identify and remove inbound links built unnaturally. High quality content investments will remain critical.
A solid SEO performance in 2014 is going to be built on a foundation of really understanding what happened in 2013, and what these changes mean both strategically and tactically for SEO. SEO really has changed in critical ways.
Content marketing will move from buzzword to mature marketing movement in 2014. From an SEO perspective, Google will be looking at companies that have robust content marketing efforts as a sign that they’re the kind of business Google wants to support.
Think of all the advantages of a good content strategy:
Sound familiar? It’s the very approach to SEO that all of Google’s recent updates have been designed to shape.
What changes you need to make in 2014 depends largely on where your company stands now in relation to an active content marketing strategy. Companies with existing content strategies will need to assess the role of mobile, specifically.
If you’ve just begun to move in the direction of content marketing, it’s time to really commit and diversify. If you haven’t started yet, it’s time to take the plunge.
Social media has been a major player in the digital marketing landscape for the last few years. First we saw the rise of mega platforms like Facebook and Twitter. In the last couple of years, visual content from networks like Pinterest, Instagram, and various micro-video services haa swept through.
Today, diversification is a major trend: depending on who you’re targeting, it’s no longer enough to be active on a single network. In fact, The Content Marketing Institute recently released a study that the most successful B2B marketers are active on an average of seven networks. Companies and SEO professionals will need to be asking the following questions in the year ahead:
Google’s updates are likely to increasingly rely on social signals as active human curation of good content.
In addition to strengthening your overall social media marketing position, it’s going to be absolutely critical that you are investing in your Google+ presence.
Moz’s most recent study of ranking factors confirms that Google+ is playing an increasingly significant role in a solid SEO ranking. The immediate areas to focus on include:
2014 will be the year of mobile SEO. Hummingbird was just the very small visible tip of a very large iceberg as Google struggles to respond to the rapidly shifting landscape where half of all Americans own smartphones and at least one-third own tablets. Those statistics will probably shift upward, maybe dramatically, after the 2013 holiday season.
As a result, your site’s mobile performance matters to your SEO rankings. Properties that you’re trying to rank need to be designed first for mobile and then scaled up for the big screen. If you don’t have a mobile-optimized website, this needs to be your top priority in terms of SEO and design investments for 2014.
Some underlying changes that happened with Hummingbird, including the increasing importance of both semantic search and Knowledge Graph, will continue to grow in influence. Practically speaking, this is to help prepare the search engine for the rise of voice search associated with mobile. But it also has direct implications (which we’re still learning about) for broader SEO. This is one area that you should pay close attention to, from how you structure your content to what content you choose to put out.
Which is better, long content or short content? The answer depends on who is creating the content, who is reading it, what it’s about, in what context it’s being consumed, and how you define “better.”
For the purposes of this argument, which form of content will help you best prepare to rank well in 2014? Frustratingly for some, the answer is more “both/and” than “or.”
Vocus recently cited a study that showed that the top 10 results for a specific keyword search tended to be more than 2,000 words in length. The validity of that study has been debated, but it’s probably fair to say that length is a proxy for depth of expertise and value delivered to the reader.
Google values both expertise and value. As a result, we’ve seen a trend where the “minimum desirable length” for text-based content has shifted from something in the range of 550 words to articles in the range of 1000-plus words.
Yet we’re also confronted with the reality of the mobile device: if I’m reading about something I’m only moderately interested in, there’s a high probability that I won’t want to scroll through 2,000 words on my iPhone. That leaves content marketers faced with the challenge of producing mobile-friendly content, which tends to be (in a sweeping generality) much, much shorter.
Proposed solutions have run the gamut from content mixes to site architectures that allow you to point readers to specific versions of content based on their devices. This is great for the user experience, but where it all comes out on the SEO algorithm front remains to be seen. For now, I’ll just acknowledge that it’s an area of concern that will continue to evolve and that it’s something you should keep your eye on.
Since Google made the decision to encrypt the vast majority of its searches, our ability to access keyword data for research purposes has been restricted. However, there’s a loophole. Keyword data is still available for advertisers using PPC on Google’s platform.
More SEO budgets may be driven toward PPC simply because access to the data may otherwise be restricted. It’s also possible that we’ll see the release of a premium Google product to give us access to that data through another channel from Google in the year ahead.
Guest blogging has exploded in the past year, and it’s going to remain one of the most effective means of building quality inbound links, traffic, and branding exposure in 2014. However, it’s absolutely critical that you’re creating high quality content, and using extremely stringent criteria when selecting your target sites.
In other words, you need to apply the same high ethos approach to guest blogging that you do to the rest of your SEO efforts. If you dip a toe into spammy waters where guest blogging is essentially scattershot article marketing with a 2014 update, you’re likely to be penalized in a future Penguin update.