SEO has undergone significant change since the advent of Hummingbird. The following years have witnessed the challenges faced by businesses, strategies that went obsolete and those that gained priority. Tracking back into yester years throws insight into what we could expect to trend in the years coming ahead, in particular for 2014.
Role of Social Media
Social media have occupied a major place in the SEO arena. Unlike earlier years, it’s no longer sufficient to be active on Facebook and Twitter alone. Search engines are coming better at relying on social signals and this makes it imperative to focus on the overall social media marketing position.
Google Plus makes a solid contribution to the ranking factors. A major focus area will be to establish Google Authorship of the content you own. 2014 will witness its influence in the SERPs and its role in strengthening your Author Rank. +1s, shares etc. are expected to count for in the year coming ahead. Facebook on the other hand is unlikely to make any major contribution with respect to search ranking influences, except for its own Graph Search, that most brick and mortar stores will benefit from.
Google has always been trying to give the most relevant data to its users. With users searching with more semantic queries, Google’s Hummingbird was intended to generalize specific content to semantic search. This also means the diminishing value of long tail keywords.
What remains good is Google’s recommendation to focus on quality over quantity of content. It’s also important to go beyond words and incorporate charts, pictures and infographics into content strategy, that will aid social traffic. With the Hummingbird update, it is observed that the top listings in SERPs were found to be those that had the highest number of linking sites than those that were keyword relevant. What this simply means is to use a strategic content for the target audience, and to reiterate, focus on the quality.
Link building is a vital strategy in SEO. Apart from relevant, contextual and quality content being the focus on content strategy, what it must also reinforce is the utility of the content. Focus on textually created links is no longer the game. Link building is more of a ‘contextual’ factor and this could include images just as well. In 2014, this will also include attention into the Google Plus and being active on the platform. Creating content that interest the target audience will not only spike social interactions but also help generate links. And for the aforementioned reasons, Google Plus is worth dedicating the resources to for a long term SEO strategy that is expected to witness all the goodness in 2014.
These are some of the major trends evolving around the most critical factors in SEO, and how you could prepare to face the challenges. What challenges do you foresee?