Wednesday, 26 February 2014

7 Things You Need To Know About SEO In 2014

SEO in 2014
Are your traffic numbers dropping? You may be a victim of the dreaded Hummingbird. Google's sweeping 2013 algorithm change is still leaving a lot of website owners scratching their heads, and many are scrambling just to reverse the damage.

As opposed to the Panda and Penguin algorithm updates, which only modified the existing construct, Hummingbird represents an entirely new stage in Google's evolution. If you're still confused, don't worry. You can still thrive in the SEO arena, but you may need to shift your strategy a bit. Here are seven things you need to know:

  1. Content is king. If you take nothing else away from this article, remember this. If you want to rank in the search engines, you need high-quality content that is unique and noteworthy. In fact, content production should serve as the cornerstone of your SEO campaign, and it should consume the majority of your time and resources.

  2. Keywords are evolving. Today, more and more people are using their smartphones - and specifically speech recognition - to search online. As a result, we're seeing fewer searches for phrases like "Los Angeles restaurants" and more searches for phrases like "Find me a good restaurant in Los Angeles." As a result, Google is now using a process called "semantic search" to provide more relevant search results for complex queries. What does this mean for you? It means that keyword stuffing is absolutely useless. Rather than using the same keywords 8 times on a single page, try diversifying your keywords and using a variety of synonyms for greater search relevance.

  3. Bounce rate matters. This goes hand in hand with #1 (content is king), but it's worth noting that if your content is just generally uninteresting or irrelevant to readers, it will hurt your rankings in the long run. If people frequently hit the Back button upon reaching your landing page, Google concludes that you're just not giving visitors what they're looking for. You can say goodbye to those front-page rankings. Always emphasize quality, and try to keep your bounce rate as low as possible.

  4. Don't underestimate the power of social media. Unless you've been living in a cave for the past few years, your website probably has at least a modest social media presence. Greater social media integration can dramatically boost your site's SEO value, so take advantage of as many social networks as possible; Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram...But don't just register and then toss up the occasional token status update. Be active, build your circles, and make social media a part of your daily routine. It really will make a difference.

  5. There are more important things than anchor text. Anchor text links still carry some value (assuming they don't come from bad link partners), but they don't hold a fraction of the weight that they once did. At best, the occasional anchor text link is useful for diversifying your link profile, but overall, your time is better spent on content creation.

  6. Don't neglect your back end. It's easy to get carried away with the visual aspects of SEO, while forgetting about the technical essentials: XML sitemap, HTML sitemap, robots.txt file, page speed, 404 optimization...These components are extremely important as well.

  7. Verified authorship is more than just a good idea. If you don't have your web pages linked to a fully optimized Google Plus account, you'll never reach your full SEO potential. Make sure to set up your verified authorship.

If you find yourself falling short in any of these categories, don't waste another moment. Get your website back on track, and achieve the traffic you rightfully deserve. SEO isn't dead; it's just changing with the times. Don't get left behind.

About The Author: C.M. Scalise is a professional freelance writer and the content manager. He holds a Bachelor of English degree from University of California Riverside, and in his spare time he enjoys recording music and catching all the latest films.

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Until my next post on Friday on why content is still king in 2014, enjoy the rest of the week! See you back here on Friday!

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