In 2013, Google made drastic changes to its algorithms and content marketing no longer remained the same. Now, content marketers need to have new tricks up their sleeves, or else they can kiss their high search engine rankings goodbye. It’s true, folks—the days of tricking search engines and having the best keyword usage is G-O-N-E! The secret is offering readers unique information. Because content marketers will be more focused on providing quality information to their target audiences, which is why 2014 will be the year of the informer for online content.

Let’s put this in plain English: if your content does not contain quality information, your blog or website will not rank.

2013: The Year of the Hummingbird

Most webmasters and bloggers will never forget the release of Google’s Hummingbird. With the release of the Hummingbird, Google was basically saying “If you do not have useful content, do not bother publishing it, or else it’s going to end up at the nosebleed section of the rankings!” Google basically put its foot down hard and declared war against useless website content and blog posts packed with fluff.

News Flash! More changes will be made and content marketers who are not one step ahead will see their rankings suffer a slow and agonizing descent to the dark abyss of cyber space. In this post, you will be armed with the information that will help you get on board the informer train, so that you can churn out content that will rank.

Creating Quality Content – A Must!  

Google has always valued quality and with the release of Hummingbird, content markers have no choice but to create quality content. In 2014, Google will ONLY choose websites that have quality content and not just lengthy content. Do not bother to stuff your content with relevant keywords or key phrases, instead provide your target readers with accurate and well-written answers to their questions and you will make Google happy.

With Google, it is no longer about having lengthy content so that your website can rank high. It is about providing content with a lot of value. Google will not be interested in knowing whether you post content daily, Google will be more interested in seeing that you post quality, informative content. Of course keywords will be relevant, but Google prefers that you use keywords while providing well-written, informative content that flows naturally. There are so many reasons why keywords should not be your focus; when you focus on creating quality content, the SEO aspect will take care of itself.

What About Guest Blogging? That Ought to Get Google’s Attention –Not!!!

Okay, back in 2013, guest blogging was the trend. However, guest blogging will take the back burner in 2014. Experts like Matt Cutts, have stated that guest blogging will be more effective when used in moderation. With Google, a website’s reputation is actually what matters; thankfully, there are other things a website owner or blogger can do to boost their reputation. Yes, making use of guest blogging in moderation can prove effective, but do not go all “Rambo” with guest blogging in 2014!

If you are guilty of using keywords that rank high and back them with content that is one step above blah, then it is time to turn over a new leaf. The future of content is headed towards relevancy and not keywords, lengthy texts, and fancy images. Believe it or not, but Google’s new algorithms know exactly how to fish out sites with relevant content, So if you want your website to make the cut,  create content that your target audiences will find informative.

Content with an Authoritative Voice will be Top on the List

In 2014, it would be impossible to see poor content receiving top billing on Google search results. Google and online users will only be interested in reading content that is well researched, and written by experts in their niche – in order words, people who know exactly what they are talking about.  Not people who write content that reads like something written by a fifth grader.  Half of the world’s population has access to the Internet, building a rock-solid online reputation will drive traffic to your website. Linking back top quality content to your Google+ page will help you to boost your online credibility among millions and millions of online authors.

Boring Content will be Avoided Like the Plague

No one wants to read a content that will make them take a left turn to Snooze-Ville. Yes, content in 2014 will be informative but not boring!  Content in 2014 will be more interesting and will arrest the attention of target audiences. Why? The average Internet user gets bored to tears easily and will be eager to read interesting content.

You will need to create content that speaks to the readers and makes it impossible to not read the content to the last word. No profanities please! Use your personal writing style to make your personal brand standout – in order words, your readers should be able to recognize your unique writing style and want to read your posts. If it means you have to write (relevant) personal stories to get the attention of readers, then by all means do it. For example, if you are private investigator and you are providing tips on your blog on how to watch out for signs of a cheating spouse or partner. Your readers will be interested in reading a story of how a cheating husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend got busted.

People enjoy reading conversational content from an author who knows exactly what he/she is talking about. Let’s face it, some people cannot create interesting content to save their life. If you are one of those people, then all you need to do is to contact a professional web content writer to get the job done.

Social Media Will Have a Strong Influence

There is definitely no doubt that social media has strong influences on both the youths, and the matured individuals. Social media is where people search for the newest trends. According to Google, social status and quality content go together. If you create content that is not only unique, but also offers valuable information, at least one reader will share it on a social media platform such as Facebook or Twitter.  Most people will ONLY share good quality content, something that is thought provoking, funny, interesting, and helps them learn something new.

Think of the content that you have shared to others, now think of the type of content you want to create – will readers be compelled enough to share it with their friends, family and co-workers?  Smart webmasters and bloggers will share their own articles on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. The content will need to be resourceful, fun, engaging and worthy to be shared with others.  In 2014, websites have a higher chance of increasing their page ranking with the more +1’s they have on their Google+. Companies and website owners have found Twitter to be quite valuable to their business.

For those who do not have a Twitter account, the best time to sign up for one is NOW.

Content will Go Mobile

2014 is truly the year of the informer and mobile users will want to read their content on the go.  Personal Computers are now a small percentage and mobile users will triple in 2014. Mobile is the new PC, so make your peace with that. Your content HAS to be mobile ready so that your target audiences (who are mobile users) can get access to quality information on the go.

The average mobile user does not have the time or patience to sift through several pages to find the information they are looking for.  They will simply choose from the first five pages that come up on the search results. Remember, you are not the only bar in town, if your content is not mobile-ready, you could lose thousands or millions of potential visitors to your web page.

If the content on your website is top notch, and the navigation system is poor, then you are unwittingly driving your readers away and they will not hesitate to visit the webpage of a webmaster who is smart enough to prepare his/her website for mobile users. Webpages that are optimized for mobile device users should be easy to navigate, simple and very relevant.

Content is Lengthier (to Provide In-Depth Information)

Writing short and sweet 250-word posts is definitely not going to cut it if you want your website to rank high.  When it comes to an effective content marketing strategy, long form content is the way to go in 2014. There will always be topics that require fewer words to get the point(s) across, but there are topics that must provide in-depth information for readers to derive value from the content.  Google will feature content that are well written and in-depth.

FYI: in-depth articles are well over 500 and 1000 words. When you spend time creating long form content, Google will crown your efforts with better ranking.

It is important to know that creating an excuse for long content will actually pull down your hard earned ranking. Google is not interested in seeing 2000+ words of fluff, they want content with some substance.  So, you will need to spend some time doing research and create content that readers can learn from. Use simple grammar, and make the content interesting to read.

When creating content, you will need to:

  • Have a purpose – what do you hope to achieve? Do you want your readers to learn something new, laugh, and be entertained?
  • Make your posts easy to read – no one will be tempted to read a block of 2000 words. Break down the content in easy-to-read sections
  • Use keywords and key phrases naturally in your content to make it searchable
  • Write it to be as long as it needs to be. There is no point creating 2000+ words for a subject that can be explained perfectly with less than 500 words
  • Add some videos or images to make the content easy to break up into easy-to-read texts
  • Make your content share-worthy – think about it, will you want to share the content with others?

What Would a Smart Website Owner or Blogger Do?

A smart blogger or website owner will understand what makes 2014 the year of the informer and will take advantage of the information in the post to come up with a brilliant content strategy for the New Year.

Okay, let’s recap:

  • Content writers are expected to create quality content packed with valuable information.
  • Google and online users expect to read content written by an industry professional. As an industry expert, you are expected to write on topics that you know. When you share your expertise, you will walk right down the yellow brick road to high ranking.
  • Boring content will be shoved to the back of the search rankings (yippee!) Online content is expected to be conversational, fun, engaging and most importantly, informative.
  • Social media platforms will help influence the rankings of websites. So, if you have not signed up with a social media platform like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn, then you need to do so ASAP!
  • The number of mobile users will triple in 2014 and beyond, so preparing your website or blog posts for mobile users is not something you should think about doing – you MUST do it!
  • Google will rank in-depth content higher.

In the past, some people have tried to market content generation software to content marketers. The idea of content generation software is a joke! Google is on a mission to rid the internet of low quality content. Seriously, the Google team will have a big belly laugh at the thought of ranking content put together haphazardly by a bot!

Now you know why the year 2014 will be the year of the informer and why you ought to get on the train of providing quality content or be left behind, literally.