SEO Trends to Take Note of in 2014
It’s trite and cliche by now, but it’s still true: The SEO industry moves at a breakneck pace. What worked last year might not work this year — or worse, might actually harm you, as we saw with Penguin/Panda and link-building.
That’s why it’s crucial to keep an eye on the horizon to see what changes are bearing down on you and try to anticipate what to do about them.
How Search Is Changing
First, let’s take a look at search engine algorithm developments to see what we can discern.
For starters, algorithms are getting smart. Really smart. They’re getting good at figuring out user intent, they’re getting good at returning relevant non-text results like video, infographics and other media, and they’re integrating heavily with social media signals.
This is good for users, and to a certain extent it’s good for us, but in terms of figuring out precisely which move to choose, it’s like chasing a Russian submarine in The Hunt For Red October. The brew is too murky to make out what ingredients went into the secret sauce in what proportions.
That’s why smart SEOs read and rely on amalgamated data reports from places like Moz.com. We can’t get our hands on enough data ourselves to get a proper sense of correlation and causation, but we can carefully examine the raw data from industry reports and use it to refine our insights.
Social Sharing Is Still Important
Although social sharing doesn’t appear to cause higher SERPs, it’s still correlated with it. And more to the point, it’s good for your brand engagement to have one of your articles passed around or “Liked.” So keep up with Facebook, and if you’re not already there, get actively engaged on Google Plus. One less well-known traits of articles shared on Google Plus is that it gets its own canonical URL that gives a little authority to your site. And authority is definitely going to be one of the currencies of 2014.
The Stakes For The Content Game Have Been Raised
The new semantic search algorithm, Hummingbird, is getting a lot of attention in SEO circles, and rightfully so. It’s gotten painfully precise in returning results exactly like what the user asked for. That means the “shotgun approach” to keywords is officially dead.
On the other hand, that makes it easier than ever to be useful to users, provided you can figure out what it is that they want. But, in answering their questions, Google wants you to be thorough and authoritative. This includes long-form content, graphs, charts, videos, images and infographics.
Is your online marketing strategy ever-evolving? Come talk to our team to get insight and stay on top of changing trends.