What can we expect with search engine optimization heading into 2014? With Google still being the #1 search engine globally, it goes without saying that our strategy should preferentially target Google. That being said, the value of Bing and Yahoo should not be overlooked as they can add up to 30% more total searches to your search volume.
Of all the aspects of SEO in 2014, I believe the four topics of most value are your link profile, social media marketing, mobile compatibility and YouTube.
Link Profile – After the addition of Penguin updates, link profile is more important than ever. To put it simply, you must have relevant, high PR backlinks. That means that quality is much more important than quantity and even more, massive link building can get you sandboxed or worse. Check your link profile with tools like Majestic SEO and SEOquake. Then used the Disavow Tool in Google Webmaster Tools to periodically cull your worst links. Also as mentioned in the Penguin 2.1 Simplified article, you must vary your anchor text.
Social Media – Social media is the future of SEO. Get started using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram in your web marketing. It is clear that theses have a huge impact on your SEO efforts and this will only become more pronounced in the upcoming years. These markers indicate to Google that your site is gaining popularity and cannot be forgotten in your SEO plan. According to SearchMetrics, the top ranking factors in 2013 were:
- Google +1’s
- Facebook shares
- Facebook total
- Facebook comments
- Facebook likes
Mobile Compatibility – More people each day are using mobile devices (phones and tablets) to search the web. It is imperative that you accommodate these searchers to help them find what they are looking for. Google’s Hummingbird update has made semantic keywords more relevant in searches and it also seems to favor mobile optimization of sites. In essence, failure to fix annoying mobile experiences will soon hinder your ability to rank well for searches.
YouTube – Far and away, Youtube is appearing on more and more top searches. The reason for this (aside from Google owning YouTube) is that people love watching videos instead of reading. It appeals to the caveman inside all of us to sit around the tube instead of reading. Therefore, make sure you spend some time working on YouTube marketing as YouTube is now the (unsung) second largest search engine in the world.
Make sure you include these four areas in your SEO strategy for 2014 and you will see the best results possible.