Author : Bharati Ahuja
The Year 2013 has given the most shaking algo shocks to the SEO industry…. Courtesy Google….
But, despite all the shocks and after-shocks of the Panda and Penguin updates the SEO industry is still positive (at least I am and am not going to say ‘I Quit’ for a long time to come) . SEO is still alive with more energy and synergy with the web and the search engines.
In fact as I had mentioned in one of my blog posts in 2011 Why the changes made by Google meant good news for the SEO industry . This was at a time when the whole SEO industry was against the changes being made especially when Google introduced Encrypted Search and the keyword data got taken away from us. http://www.seocopywriting.com/content-marketing/why-googles-recent-changes-mean-good-news-for-the-seo-industry/
In December 2013 we had mentioned the following points to be focused upon for SEO which will be applicable in 2014 too:-
- On Page optimization as per the W3C standards
- Have a web presence on various platforms
- Update your blog regularly
- Co relate web presence with fresh content by blogging, commenting, discussing, sharing links on social media from your own site and blog plus from other authority sites of your industry.
- Have a YouTube video channel and share videos and embed them on site or blog.
- Google+ as of now may not be the most widely used social media platform but it as major Google products in some way or the other converge on Google+ your Google+ account has the potential of becoming your passport to your online identity hence ignoring this platform or not having a presence on Google+ is like applying for a VISA without a passport .
- Submit XML sitemaps for site, blog and video XML sitemaps for videos embedded on site or blog.
- Apply for Twitter Cards and integrate them with your blog once the application is approved by Twitter.
- Integrate FB Open Graph on blogs.
- Integrate Authorship Markup on the blog to co relate your content with your online persona which can lead you to be a thought leader of your industry which in the long run can add to the trust factor.
- Focus on ‘Less Is More’ instead of having 5 posts a week publish 2 posts per week but of relevant in depth information in all forms i.e text, video, infographics, podcast,etc. It’s the quality that counts not the quantity.
- If you cannot create content regularly then curate content.
- Use Schemas for addresses, events, people, recipes, books, ebooks,video, etc.
- Focus on building a community and retaining their trust as your community can play a major role in helping your content go viral.
- As in real life you are known by the friends you keep , in the online world you are known by the people that follow you and the people that you follow.
- In the real world you are what your thoughts are and in the online world you are what you publish and share.
- The above points help you earn links. Let the inbound links get built as a result of quality web presence rather than running after them.
- All the above points have a direct impact on the off page optimization giving a boost to the search presence .
- Focus on the technical SEO by working on XML sitemaps, by monitoring Google WMT , canonicalization issues, HTTP headers, rich snippets in search results which are achieved by using schemas and microformats , customized error pages, robots.txt, improving the site speed, etc.
- Local search is as important as global search hence cannot be ignored.
- Follow the path of hard work to develop this overall presence gradually rather than following the short cut of buying fake likes , followers and +1s . The short cuts followed today will become a penalty in future once Google upgrades its algorithm for detecting it like the Penguin Update for spammy links which made all the link builders undertake the task of undoing those same links which they ran after once.
- Go mobile and check the accessibility of your site on hand held devices else develop Mobile Apps. For widely used services of the site.
- Help Google to give quality search results to the users and Google will help you in return by giving you the search presence you deserve.
- Focus on the metrics that matter in Google Analytics according to what goals and priorities you have set for yourself to improve search presence.
- Do not put all the eggs in one basket. Have a Bing WMT account too and monitor the search presence on Bing too.
All these points are very much applicable in 2014 too. In addition to that what needs to focused on is the approach, strategy and the monitoring of each short term goal to achieve the long term goal of quality and prominent search presence.
Approach, strategy and monitoring has always been a part and parcel of an SEO campaign but in the coming year these need to be given more importance because without a proper strategy and listing out the immediate targets to achieve will only delay the SEO success.
In continuation of the above points we add the following points to be focused in 2014.
26. The approach to SEO should be like the one you have when you plant a tree in your garden. You know that if you nurture it and add the necessary nutrients at the right time regularly the tree will grow and bear fruit one day. Nurture it regularly and wait patiently for the fruit. Similarly, focus on quality web presence and take care of the technical, on-page , off-page SEO and social media and wait for the search presence to improve gradually.
27. Work out immediate goals to be achieved and work out a strategy to achieve them. Ask yourself:
- Where did you start?
- Where have you reached?
- Where you would like to reach?
- How will you reach there?
- Implement the plan.
- Monitor and create a plan
- Implement the updated plan > Repeat
Work this out yourself with your SEO team if you have an in-house SEO team or take active part in the discussions with your SEO if you have outsourced the SEO campaign.
28. Accept the fact that your SEO Agency cannot do much without your involvement and participation. Accept the fact that after all the digital footprints which are being created as a part of the SEO campaign are the company’s digital assets and you need to be aware about them and its high time the company takes ownership about these digital assets.
29. Every site is different and your competitor in real time may not be your online competitor hence evaluate online competition differently from real time competition as the 10 blue links on the search results page are a result of the data in the search engine index and your real time competitor may or may not have the high quality web presence like he has in the real world.
30. If you have an ecommerce site and you want it to grow then, only SEO is not enough . Be aware that the online competition is growing tremendously and your ecommerce site is a full-fledged business and you need to have staff and the expertise to manage online customers and also have a complete integrated marketing mix to promote it and help it get the right WOM online.
31. If your site does not sell anything online then content strategies become more important as only content and the social media presence will help you establish the thought leadership online which in the bargain give the necessary quality signals to the site.
32. Winning the online trust is one of the major goals of any SEO campaign. Trust is the end result of the authority and the thought leadership you establish online. Trust is the emotional and logical aspect of the users decision to refer and recommend the site and content if he has been getting valuable information from the site.
34. Do not go for cheap SEO Packages as SEO is not free or cheap. It requires expertise and effort and any company offering services which offer genuine long term, futuristic search presence will charge a reasonable amount.
35. SEO is a necessity, social media is the channel and the content creation strategy determines your online brand identity.
36. Today the challenge for the website owner is how to keep these activities coordinated and connected and make each task benefit from the other and get an overall boost to the online presence by capitalizing on the digital assets created thereby. It becomes more challenging if these tasks are performed by different services providers. http://www.webpro.in/the-digital-world-challenge-faced-by-the-chief-marketing-officers-cmos-in-2013/
37. SEO is not limited only to the SEO team but each and every team member needs to be aware of how social media , content and SEO are integrated . SEO is not a onetime process, hence SEO has to be an ongoing process and has to be integrated in the whole marketing mix.
38. SEO is less about bots but more about people. Customers will love the company only if the employees love it first. Hence, educating the whole team about SEO should be an on going process and the SEO should include training the client about the new developments as a part of the SEO project.
39. SEO should not only limit itself to perform only repair functions on the site to get into search results but just like a good engineer applies scientific, economic, social, and practical knowledge in order to design, build, and maintain structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes. A good SEO needs to apply technical specifications that define and describe aspects of the World Wide Web which directly or indirectly affect the development and administration of web sites and consider include the interoperability, accessibility and usability of web pages and web sites from the WWW perspective. Instead of dissecting the algorithms we need to understand the standard norms of web design and development which will make the web a better place and websites robust technically.
40. The SEO industry is at that point of the graph where it is going to scale new heights and emerge as more meaningful and essential for website owners and search engines as well. Content and quality have always been king since the first web page was published but Google has been successful in penalizing the low quality content and help clear the content clutter and the linked clutter on the web with its algorithmic updates just recently.
As the web evolved the search engines evolved and only when the SEO mindset will also evolve side by side the status and the reputation of the SEO industry will achieve the due respect and importance in the coming years.
Last 3 year-end SEO posts of our blog: