Top 5 SEO Trends of 2014

There are plenty of opinions about SEO and increasing a website’s visibility online because these trends are always evolving. As we know, the majority of web traffic is driven by the major commercial search engines, Google, Bing and Yahoo!. If your site cannot be found by these search engines or your content cannot be put into their databases, then you lose out on incredible opportunities. Targeted visitors to a website provide publicity, revenue, and exposure, so investing in SEO can have an exceptional rate of return like no other channel of marketing.

The Dynamic Google Search

To give search engine users great results, Google does approximately two tweaks to their algorithm every day. It has released 25 updates since February 2011 that affect its website content quality algorithm known as Panda. Others include website layout and the devaluation of generic product or service keywords in the domain name known as the “EMD” (Exact Match Domain) update. In 2013, the Panda algorithm logic was merged with the main Google algorithm, so updates for the Panda algorithm have ceased. Penguin is applied about once a quarter to squash link building in cases where the intent of the link builder is to manipulate Google’s algorithm rather than add genuine value to users.

Content Marketing Strategy

It is believed that the latest Google algorithm update, Hummingbird, will drive SEO this year. It focuses on the necessity for web pages to be optimized so as to be read and understood by people, instead of search engines. In addition to the importance of keywords, your site should answer a need instead of directly pitching a product or service. Valuable and relevant content will keep the audience engaged.

Optimization for Mobile Friendly Websites

“Responsive web design” adjusts the layout or size of the website according to the screen or window size of the device or web browser being used to view it. So whether your website users are using an iPhone, Android, tablet or desktop PC, the HTML code used to render the page is the same for every URL, so that the main website is the mobile website as well. This draws all search engine ranking value to one URL, making it stronger.

HTML 5 Compatibility

HTML 5 is compatible across multiple devices, browsers and screens. Soon, the need to have multiple technologies such as FLASH for your company’s ads and creative on content will all merge into HTML 5, saving development cost and time to execution. If the trend is positive for HTML 5 on your website, it is well worth investing in workshops and training your in-house teams accordingly.

Authority, Authorship and Social Media

Earlier, inbound links were one of the most important factors behind a website’s visibility. While still important today, they are beginning to be replaced by social signals. Social media channels lead to better online exposure and encourage content sharing. The more people share your content, the more authoritative you become in the eyes of search engines, thus amplifying your reach to the masses. Social media sites like Facebook have added Graph Search, targeted ads, marketing segmentation, contextual suggestions and improved analytics functionalities for businesses using the platform. Google is already testing +Post ads and with the recent Facebook Feed Algorithm Changes, more and more businesses will be using paid ads on social network.

Individuals have been able to directly link the content that they create (or that is created for them) to their Google+ profile with the advent of Google Authorship. It defines which authors hold the most authority and promote those authority figures to the top of search results. Your Author Rank is also influenced by the number of people in your circles and your engagements.

Over the next year, the social media profiles taken into consideration by Google’s algorithms will more than likely become more intelligent and “socially sensitive.” Everything your audiences does to engage with you and your brand through the number of posts, likes, followers, comments and shares, will play a role in your business’s search engine ranking.

Hence, for this year and beyond, the steps that should be taken to expand your website’s horizon include linking your website to your updated Google+ profile, increasing your social media presence, and becoming more active on Google+ in particular.