Even if you have already implemented great optimisation on your website, the ever-changing landscape of SEO means it’s important not to become too complacent. To survive and thrive in 2014 and beyond, you need to be aware of new SEO trends and strategize accordingly.
Having said that, however, the top priorities remain pretty much the same. No matter the latest trends or what your goals and strategies are, you still need to produce high-quality, expert content that provides useful and relevant information for your audience or target market. This of course goes along with providing top-quality business services – which in turn should result in good feedback and reviews, and help you grow your audience and your business in the process.
Current and future SEO trends
SEO has really ‘matured’ over the years and is continuing to do so. Recent trends revolve largely around providing better quality information and more in-depth and relevant results for users. They include the following:
- Google algorithm developments – such as Panda and Penguin – which penalise low-quality sites and sites using questionable tactics with lower rankings on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
- The recent development of the Hummingbird algorithm – designed to go beyond simple keyword matching and assist Google to manage complex searches that are more along conversational lines. Also known as semantic search, this is done by attempting to understand the meaning and context of the words entered, as well as those within web pages and sites.
- Knowledge Graph – this has been developed as part of semantic search and has altered the way information is displayed on the SERP. Knowledge Graph provides filtered information from a number of sources, giving the user options for selecting the most relevant information, sites and pages.
- Social signals – which means that your influence and reputation on social media sites such as Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter impact to some degree web rankings. Facebook Graph Search for instance allows users to check out various interests through connections and friends.
- Google secure search – this is designed to provide more privacy for users, which could also reduce keyword information you get from Google. This may mean finding other means of measuring traffic – such as page performance reporting and analytics.
- Mobile-use increase – which means small businesses need to consider how they can optimise their sites for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
What you need to do
- Always know your audience well – this should enable you to work out the best strategies for connecting with them and providing what they are looking for.
- Produce great quality content – as mentioned above, this remains a top priority. By doing so you should be better placed to connect with your audience and improve your long-term business outcomes.
- Take a broad view when it comes to keyword optimisation – such as optimising for a broad range of keywords, user intent, topics, synonyms and long tail phrases. Keywords and phrases should occur ‘naturally’ within the context of written content, and not appear artificially placed in order to boost rankings. In other words, they should make sense rather than being squeezed in!
- Optimise for mobile – check out this starter guide for building websites for smartphones.
- Optimise for different search engines – Google accounts for about seventy per cent of searches, with Bing and Yahoo covering nearly thirty per cent and slowly growing.
- Use structured data to describe your site pages – this provides Google with greater detail about your website and enables them to communicate ‘rich snippets’ to your audience about it.
- Social media – engaging in social media sites such as Google +, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is having more and more impact on SEO ranking.
- User experience – ensure your website offers an enhanced user experience in terms of ease of use, content, and navigation.
- Create a buzz – determine strategies that get your business positively talked about on the Web and social networks.
- Content sharing – similarly, determine strategies that get your site content re-shared across social networks.
Essentially, there are no new ‘magic tricks’ for improving your SEO for 2014, it’s more about keeping abreast of SEO trends and creating strategies to benefit from them. If you already provide great quality content, engage with your audience and influencers on social media, and you have optimised your site for a great user experience for both desktop and mobile use, then you are already likely to be on the right SEO track.