FIVE HUNDRED times on average is the amount of times Google changes its algorithms annually, think about, that is more that is on average 1.3 times a day! As a business owner and online marketer various algorithm, design and programmatic updates and changes have an impact on you, and whilst no one actually knows what Google has in mind, you need to arm yourself and stay one-step ahead of the competition. We cannot predict what will happen, but based on Google’s acquisitions, patents, and more, but we can make assumptions. We at Big Web Media believe the following is important to know and if you are going to invest your time and money in SEO, social, etc. then you should pay attention to these.
1. SEO trends for 2014.
‘The three pillars of SEO’:Link, Content and Social Media
Links from quality websites will continue to play an important role, and we believe the old saying: location, location and location will remain true for 2014. However, without great content, you cannot gain valuable links and social shares, which means it’s time to take content marketing seriously! When you create content it should not only be informative, solve a problem and engage a person, it should ultimately deliver a profit-driven result to your business. You will more and more need to provide your readers with a reason to share it, which means engaging them on their territory. The end result you are after should not only be great content but increase the amount of ‘shares’ and reach you have on social media. The three will increasingly work alongside each other.
Having two websites: Mobile & Desktop
There will be an increase in the adaptability of websites that are built for smartphones, tablets and PCs. Instead of building an individual website optimised for desktops and pc you will need to build one that will accommodate viewing on all three devices. We firmly believe all business owners must consider Responsive Web Design which adapts according to a website’s size.
Mobile Optimization is a MUST for your SEO
It goes without saying that majority of people nowadays refer to their smartphones and tablets for search purposes, especially if they are searching for something local. The smart thing for any business to do would be to ensure they have an effective mobile presence complimented and backed up by a mobile only content strategy. Responsive Design will ensure that your customers have a great user experience and while short engaging mobile content must be produced according to the behaviour of mobile users, which is entirely different from that of desktop users.
Building a strong brand is better than winning links
Gone are the days of keyword optimisation, stuffing pages with glorified copy, building hundreds of low quality links and expecting a colourful website to build your “brand”, users and search engines alike have become smarter. Search and social has leveraged the playing field, which means even a small website can beat the big boys online. Google will continue to push Google Authorship, which connects your content to your profile, which will mean more time spent on engaging people, connecting them with you and your brand. Do it well and you’ll also have the title of ‘Thought Leader’ which gives credibility once again to search engines.
Google Local will still be crucial
Google and Bing will still provide localized results in order to make search more relevant and valuable to customers. Searchers will more and more be able to search for your business online and get localized results based on their physical location, which spells out ‘personalization’ of your local business profile.
Here are more trends to look out for in 2014…
2. Social Media
Mobile will continue to become one of the most important vessels for traffic of your website. Mobile users often engage in social media via their devices as these individuals are always ‘on the go’. Therefore you need to make sure that content is localized (just as search). And this once again points out how important it is to consider Google Local when compiling responsive content and design.
We don’t believe that blogs are dead, as some experts might say. The emphasis though will need to change, seek to inform, guide and provide support to your clients and users. What we do however see rising is the Bite sized content bits, content created on the go that will have only a handful of characters. Content that users can “get” in a few seconds, content that will grab their attention.
Things to consider will be well thought out FAQ’s, how to use video and images…. But beware don’t just create content to get shares, likes, pins, views. If done well it will have the added benefit of adding value to your website’s authority. But it doesn’t end there, content sharing through social signals also plays an important role in your link building efforts.
Content Marketing will become even more entrenched as a must do. It will become an even greater tool in acquiring customers while being relevant and informative at the same time. The main aim of content marketing is to have ‘a conversation’ with your customers and prospects without them feeling like they’re sitting through a sales pitch! The way to do it is to create simple, good content that engages your audience. Well thought out, researched pieces of content or articles will provide benefits to the reader.
3. Digital Marketing
First of all let us uncover what digital marketing is. Digital Marketing is any form of marketing which makes use of digital devices such a PCs, Smartphones, Cell phones, Tablets etc. So when referring to digital marketing think ‘mobile and desktop’.
Digital marketing trends for 2014 will look at going Simple Visually. The main thing here is to ensure that your website is simple enough for mobile navigation, which means less content as mobile searchers want their search results ‘here and now’. They don’t have the time to read endless content. And with Google Panda as an algorithm that is fiercely against thin content, where does this leave SEO in mobile marketing? Articles with a thousand words are the norm with Google.
This is another trend seen in SEO throughout 2013 now into 2014, Personas. Marketers and SEO practitioners must use personas as means to reach out to different individuals using different personality profiling. Personas can be created using someone’s behaviour and demographics. The challenge for marketers is how do they do SEO without creating 6000 different personas? To reach as many different people, SEO and will have to join forces to embrace more personas. This will be in line with a website’s digital marketing strategy as well as content strategy as a different content should be created for the different personas.
Another trend for digital marketing in 2014 will be that of Mobile Fragmentation. What this means is different mobile devices are used to access digital contents. This is due to the ever-increasing smartphone models and versions on the market .i.e. tablets.
The main thing here to do will be to adapt contents and technologies according to different screen sizes and to different features and abilities as well.
There are so many websites with beautiful designs and great animation! But when we scrape away all the images and ‘pretty features’ what do they have really to convince customers that in actual fact they have made the right choice by visiting their website? Sure, an image says a thousand words and it helps a lot in boosting sales. But it is rather useless to have more than 10 great images on your homepage that Google is not able to read. Wouldn’t you agree?
Let’s take you through 3 website trends that are currently ‘happening’ in 2014.
1 Page Websites
These type of websites usually look great visually but are risky when it comes to SEO. Keywords although not high on ranking with search engines, but still are a prerequisite for search engines. URLs for instance are important in search engine indexing, it becomes challenging for a one-page website to have different URLs as it only has one! The one way single-page sites keep ranking for SEO is by having a blog. What would then happen is within the blog keywords, anchor text, H1 headings, links etc… would be included in all the pages. Other SEO practises would also be put into place by using the blog.
In order for images to load faster websites are combining images with CSS sprites. Sprites combine all background images on a page into a single image. This helps reduce the time it takes to download images.
With regard to SEO and responsive design, in any other website’s case you can have the same URL for both mobile and desktop but if you do make use of the rel=’canonical’ function then search engines will divide the PageRank between the two pages. But you don’t have to worry about responsive design as you’d have the same URL for both mobile and the desktop.
If we can leave you with one all important tip or trend for 2014, it would be mobile. Websites are getting the fact that users are making use of ‘on the go search’ now more than ever and the need to adapt their mobile and content strategies accordingly is needed.
Secondly we believe that content marketing and SEO will become synonymous. Content is still king in SEO indexing, you can’t compromise quality content for more links or ‘likes’ on social media as content is the reason why these other SEO outcomes come about anyway. Therefore as long as you keep your content fresh and relevant, update it often and share it across all the digital marketing platforms you’ll have successful SEO results continuously.