Marketing experts have been shouting for a while now that SEO is dead.
The efforts by Google, BING, and other popular search engines to thwart link farming attempts and create search engine results which are of real value to users have made it abundantly clear that SEO for the sole purpose of getting poor content a high SERP will no longer be tolerated.
Practices employed by SEO experts to get low quality websites to the top of Google results have led to this change. Google has once again clarified its stance and declared that its search engine services are meant to help users find what they are looking for, and not for what marketers want to sell.
Google updated its search engine algorithm to Hummingbird and has started focusing on natural search results which deliver greater value to the billion users who use the search engine to look for everything from TV show listings to medical emergency centres.
The goal is not to give up on SEO, and onsite optimization will still be a good idea. SEO helps websites inform search engines what they are about, and anything you do to make the search engine’s job easier will only benefit you in the end. If you have good content and then optimize it, Google and other search engines cannot punish your for it.
People will benefit from your content and that is the ultimate aim of these search engines. SEO will however undergo a major transformation in 2014. The method of optimization will surely change and the focus will shift from content optimization to design and website optimization.
Google in particular rewards websites that maintain a certain page size and are quick to load.
#1. Make mobile your first priority
As of today less than 25% businesses in the world have a web presence that offers a customized experience to mobile users. In 2014, focus will be on making websites and the content they hold more mobile friendly. Search engines have noticed the rise in use of smart phone and tablets for accessing internet instead of laptops and computers.
These handheld devices are now capable of rendering heavy and data intensive websites just as easily as laptops, but the smaller screen size limits the way people can surf websites. Responsive websites try to solve this problem by creating an evolving website that renders a different version of the website depending on the device that it is loading on.
#2. The importance of being social
Social media has played a key role in internet marketing in 2013.
Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ allow companies to directly connect with their customers. Major brands have millions of fans on these services and every time the company pushes out an update, it is shared by the fans to their immediate friends and family.
The viral nature of these updates make them a very powerful tool for promoting web services and creating high quality links that lead to your business.
#3. Becoming more credible
One noticeable difference that has been noticed in the search engine results of websites is the use of authorship tools to verify the identity of the person who creates the content.
The most popular authorship tool is Google+ which is preferred for identity verification because of the no pseudonym or fake personality allowed guidelines that Google has adopted for this service. Twitter and Facebook can also be used for authorship verification and this tool makes websites more credible and trustworthy.
#4. Long tail keywords are the future
SEO professionals have been focusing on short keywords for years because most people look for specific keywords when they search for something. The ability to predict the exact phrase person might use for looking for something is also extremely difficult and will not get too much useful traffic.
However, with the Hummingbird update, Google has created a service which understands natural language a lot better and will be able to give better results for long tail searches.
#5. Technical SEO will become important again
With link building and other poplar SEO techniques becoming almost useless, technical SEO will become critical to the success of a website. Lazy programming will no longer be an option, and websites with improper design and code structure will get penalized. Care will have to be taken that the website is designed properly and follows all W3C guidelines.
A well-built website will get a higher SERP, and this will be incentive enough for businesses to finally invest in good development services.