The Future of SEO for 2014
(A Comprehensive Guide) ::
Before we talk about what the future of seo looks like, lets talk about the past. I have been actively performing SEO and PPC management for the past ten years. In that time, I have seen thousands of algorithm changes affecting both paid and earned (organic) media. Whether it is Panda, the Venice update for local search or one of the many algo updates that have come since Google’s public launch in 1996, the future for search has never looked so bright or inviting. Based on the trends of the past 18 years and talking with a plethora of both online marketing mavericks and employees at the Big 3 Search Giants (Google, Bing and Yahoo), I have surmised a list of things to focus on as the Future of SEO takes hold.
Here is what will be covered:
- The Story of Search Engine Optimization
- Where SEO is headed?
- Are you mobile ready?
- How is your content marketing doing?
- How is your onsite SEO?
- Social vs. Link building (I think we have a winner!)
- Pain Points & Services our Clients Will Need
- Pay Per Click across the Web and its affect on Natural Search
The Story of Search Engine Optimization
SEO is the art of ranking for a keyword or key phrase in the organic listings of Search Engines like Bing, Yahoo and, of course, Google. For several years, SEO was contingent upon the amount of back links you have pointing to your site. It now also includes ranking on the internal search engines of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Now it is about:
- Onsite user experience, user interaction (event and goal completion)
- Semantic Mark up (Rich Snippets, Micro formats)
- Page Speed
- Engaging content surrounding your key topics / keywords
The Future of SEO for 2014
With the exciting presentations at SMX East 2014 in New York City, PubCon in Vegas along with several other conventions, case studies, forums, experiments, techniques and endless conversations, this is what I have learned to be the future of SEO:
- Vertical Search – This is getting your product or service listed in relevant directories, forums, groups and pages that are related to your service such as listing a contractor service on Angie’s List or Thomasnet.com.
- Video SEO – The Art of Ranking a video (preferably on Youtube) for your industries key terms by performing SEO on the landing page of your video and even embedding it on your web property.
- Bing – With a growing search market share and an ever-increasing budget to get new users, optimizing for Bing search through Bing Webmaster Tools is imperative to the success of your site.
- Semantic Google – From rich snippets on ecommerce sites to the way your page is structured, this is getting to be more and more important.
- Long Tail Queries – Remember to look at your Webmaster Tool Reports and Adwords Search Query Reports to find ideas about the longer tail (4 or more word queries) that users input to find products and/or services that you offer
- Webmaster Tools – Get you site verified through Google and Bing Webmaster Tools. Feel free to also use Yandex which gives great insight.
- Responsive Design – Mobile Friendly sites that have the same URL as their desktop counterpart. Google prefers responsive over any other type of mobile user experience (UX).
- Excellent User Experience (UX) – Keep your bounce rates less than 50%, track user engagement and goals. Do all that you can to show Google that your site is relevant to the users going to it.
- Perfect Onsite Optimization – Site Speed, Content, Meta tags, forms, internal linking, clean code, strong titles and headers…. It all adds up!
- Local SEO – Get your places verified through Google Places for business and Bing Places. Build citations and get reviews!
- Personalized Results – Build your Google + and Facebook fan base so that URL is suggested more often to those in your networks…
- Branding – Favicons, Logos and more. Look professional and you will be rewarded.
- Social SEO – Google and Bing love sites that have a strong social following.
Are you mobile ready?
20% of Internet Traffic is Mobile and growing at a rate of 1.5x per year! If we build websites, we need to have a mobile aspect to them. Here are 2 ways to go about this:
- Building a responsive site (for the entire site)- the best
- Make high trafficked pages responsive
**Google will start penalizing sites that have no mobile landing pages or counterpart in late 2014.
So how is your content marketing doing?
The best way to get and engage visitors to any site is to have a content strategy in place. The more fresh content you have, the more readers, social signals and natural links you will build to become an authoritative figure in your industry.
Here are 4 keys to Content Marketing Success in The Future of SEO:
- Identify personas for your target audience.
- Create a targeted and consistent blog and / or social media presence.
- Concentrate on engaging your audience.
- Create content about people not theories or things but real human experiences.
How is your onsite SEO?
From proper use of headers, alt tags, meta descriptions, 301 redirects, forms and w3c validation, top Search Engines want sites to be cleaner and have a better user experience no matter what device they are viewing it from. You can use Google Webmaster Tools, to view how sites get crawled an indexed. Here are the top onsite factors for determining ranking:
- Body Text
- Meta Description
- Page Load time
- Social Media Icons
Social vs. Link building (I think we have a winner!)
Link Building will never die but Google’s new Algorithm places more weight on links that are built naturally through social media.
Here are the top 5 social media channels to improve your ranking on Google and start building natural links through engagement.
- Google +
- Facebook Shares
- Youtube (engagement rules)
Pay Per Click across the Web and its (affect) on Natural Search
The more traffic you send to a page for a certain keyword in Google or Bing sends signals to that search engine that your page is relevant for that topic. The more conversions you receive from that topic and the better the UX, the higher you will move up in rankings organically. Although Google denies that there is any correlation between organic and paid search, almost every marketer I have spoken to that uses these 2 channels in tandem has had better results than using them alone or with conflicting methodologies. It is clear that the future SEO will use paid advertising as a way to get better insights as to what keywords help a site owner’s bottom line and how to inform Google that a site is relevant for a certain keyword.
For instance, PPC is a great way to see which keywords you should pursue when doing SEO.
- Take notes of what keywords lead to conversions for your site and take action.
- Pursue those keywords in your organic campaigns. Send your paid traffic to landing pages optimized for your keywords and watch your Quality Score go up and your cost per click go down.
As a side note, Bing, Yahoo, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook PPC is a lot cheaper than Google and sends great relevant traffic which keeps your site active.
Google loves active sites!
Summary about The Future of SEO
- Make the USER love the site.
- Keep the code clean.
- Engage visitors socially with great content.
- Track the channels that lead to your conversions and optimize them.
- Test and update constantly.
The Future of SEO for 2014 and beyond is moving toward usability, conversion optimization, social impact and relative onsite fresh content.
Spammy Link Building will not get you anywhere so stay away from it. Focus on reviews, citations (for local) and community engagement. Research your community and write for them.
The more organic your brand is online, the better the chance you will have to rule the Future of SEO!
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