The world of digital marketing and SEO strategy is always changing and 2013 was an eventful year. In 2013 there were many articles written about the death of SEO. Was 2013 the year that SEO died?
The short answer is no, SEO isn’t dead, it’s just evolving.
The reality is that as Google updates its algorithms to weed out fraud and make search results more relevant to users. As a result, some less credible SEO tactics that used to work will fail in the future, and digital marketers along with successful SEO experts will need to continue to focus on new, innovative ways to rocket up the rankings.
Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird: The Future of Search
In 2013 Google gave us updates Panda to Penguin and introduced Hummingbird; three updates intended to help fight spam, push quality content and make results more relevant.
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Panda and Penguin are both about making high-quality content worth the effort, and pushing low-quality posts into the past. No longer will short and poor-quality posts and links be worth it, even in the short term. In fact, Google has announced that it is going after black-hat link services, with several networks already being penalized.
The Hummingbird updated caused a lot of anxiety in the world of SEO, but according to ZOG Digital’s Jason Squardo, it hasn’t really affected SEO professionals at all. “Essentially, the Hummingbird change helps weed out irrelevant phrases. If your strategy is to bloat content with keywords, you might see some changes; but our strategy involves relevant, quality content.”
In essence, Google is weeding out marketers trying to “trick” or take shortcuts for high rankings, and supporting those who provide quality content. We should expect to see updates to Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird in 2014 as Google attempts to improve on its algorithms. Smart marketers are looking ahead to the next round of changes instead of looking back.
Authorship and authentic, credible content
Successful marketers have been preaching that content is king for a while now, and for good reason. Promoting quality content on a regular basis is not only going to help with your SEO ranking, it’s also going to help bring in new customers organically.
Producing quality content shows potential customers that keeping your audience informed and engaged is a priority. By being relevant in the social space, brands can increase their audience engagement as well as build themselves as a reputable name in their industry. Quality content will be shared naturally, allowing fans to do your marketing for brands, and reaching a bigger audience than a marketer could reach alone.
Social Media Takes a Leading Role
Social media is not just a trend; and heading into 2014, it is a must when it comes to digital marketing and SEO strategy. As we look to 2014 and beyond, we can say with certainty that simply being on Facebook or Twitter is not enough to yield results. According to the Content Marketing Institute, the most successful B2B marketers are active on an average of seven networks.
Social networks should be utilized for more than a landing page if marketers want them to see them impact search results and drive conversions. While content is king, the same content isn’t always going to work on every social media outlet. Some sites, like Pinterest, are best for visuals, while others might work better with long-form content. Social media pages are also the future of customer relations, so marketers need to actively responding to customer’s comments and elicit ways to improve.
When it comes to social SEO authority, Google+ has the world’s largest search engine backing it up. While Google says +1s on Google+ don’t directly affect rankings, businesses pages are indexed more accurately and effectively if they’re on Google+. Of course, the benefits for businesses extend far past being found and shared. Google reports that search ads using Google+ average 5 to 10 percent more clicks.
The utilization of social media will be essential for businesses in 2014, but it won’t work unless a business has developed a strategy to take advantage of what each social network brings to the table.
As the mobile market continues to grow in 2014, so will the importance of a mobile SEO strategy. Mobile use is already huge:
- 91 percent of American adults own a mobile phone
- 56 percent of American adults own a smartphone
- 63 percent of mobile phone owners use their phones to access the Internet
- Amazon, Wikipedia, and Facebook all see about 20 percent mobile traffic
- 77 percent of mobile searches take place at home or at work
If brands want people to find them on the growing mobile market, optimizing websites for mobile and tablets is an absolute must. Going forward, brands need to design their digital offerings for mobile first and the big screen last. Companies are losing potential customers if they don’t realize the importance of mobile in meeting consumer demand.
As we turn the calendar from 2013 to 2014, ZOG Digital is confident that SEO is far from dead; but it is changing and evolving to put more emphasis on relevancy and authenticity. As Google continues to update its algorithms, the importance of quality content, social media and mobile only grows. If marketers continue to focus on customers, their products and content, they can continue to stay on top of the game and the rankings.