As Google continues to innovate and evolve, SEO best practices are constantly changing. Frequent algorithm updates have kept search marketers on their toes as they shift and revise their strategy to fit Google’s misty criterion for a quality site. Tactics once widely utilized to score a high page rank are now entirely extinct, and after Google’s most recent update, Hummingbird, more traditional SEO practices might fall by the wayside.
Despite the constant changes, managing your website’s SEO and ranking on search isn’t actually that difficult. In fact, it might be more simple in 2014 than ever before.
1. Link building is out and content is in.
This isn’t exactly a revelation for most search marketers, but it is a trend that will only grow more important in 2014. Google Hummingbird put the proverbial nail-in-the-coffin for link farms and link networks who once earned high page ranks. Hummingbird is the most sophisticated yet at detecting bad link patterns and reward authentic value. In 2014, the most effective way to impress Google is creating original, relevant, quality content. However, links are not entirely useless. Links from related sites, especially authoritative sites, will certainly boost rank.
2. Focus on page, not keywords.
Search today is about so much more than ranking keywords. New school SEO is page-centric. “Make pages the center of your SEO world,” said Jim Yu of Search Engine Watch. Focus on designing pages for optimum user experience, including quality content; measure traffic, conversions, and revenue at a page level.
3. Get on Google+.
google’s authorship system enables authors to build trust based on their content. This trust is quantified by Author Rank, a metric comparable to Page Rank and correlated to social shares, +1’s and other signals. Experts forecast in 2014, Author Rank will start to significantly impact Google’s evaluation of sites. Focus on Author Rank and the Page Rank will follow.
4. Location, Location Location.
20% of searches on Google are related to location and 56% of mobile users use their device for local searches. It is more important than ever to optimize for local search, and new Google fears like Google Plus Local and google Carousel make it clear local is everything. If you are a local business, create a clean citation on Google Plus Local, advises Social Media Today, and be sure to localize content, social and rich snippets.
5. Search is now semantic.
Another product of the Hummingbird update is that search is now semantic. Google’s algorithm is now equipped to respond conversational queries and understand meaning of search in context. No longer should keywords rule SEO and content creation, but the actual everyday language people use to find something on the web.