The field of marketing, specifically search engine optimization (SEO), is always changing and evolving. The fact is that marketing is focused on conversions, and conversions are all about the people. When the people change, marketing changes. This goes with any marketing (more or less).
SEO is defined as “the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine”. What isn’t included in the definition is HOW to actually ensure that someone’s website appears on the first page (preferably at the top) of Google or Bing. The reason for this is because the formulas, algorithms, and practices are constantly being changed and evolved.
Let’s take a look at the dos and don’ts of SEO in 2014.
In 2014, more and more social media platforms are gravitating towards providing users with analytics, and more companies (such as Buffer and Bitly) are making tools that are specifically designed for tracking social metrics. The bottom line is that social media strengthens brand awareness, and people love it. You want your company to be where your potential customers are, and they are all over social media.
The most important social network when it comes to SEO is Google+. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the social network that is made and managed by Google (the largest search engine) has the most impact on search results. Some people have proved that +1’s and shares can have an impact on your overall social score, and therefore impact where you appear in the search rankings.
On Page Optimization
There are some people that might tell you that on page optimization doesn’t work, but it’s probably just because they are too lazy to do it. The fact is that on page optimization still has an impact on your rankings and how all major search engines crawl your website.
The most important parts of each page that you should optimize are the meta description, title tag, image alt tags, header tags, and within the body of the page. Many people have noted that meta tags aren’t nearly as important as they once were, and many have said that they do more harm than they do good for a website.
Schema markup is the code that allows search engines to show your image, date, profession, and more along the search results. The statistics show that people are much more attracted to images than they are to words, so if you have an image and more structured information next to your search result, people will most likely click through to your website.
Schema tags are evolving, and there are a lot more options today. Some things that we recommend wrapping in schema code are the street address, state, city, phone number, author, and publisher.
If you have a local-business, it’s vital that you start optimizing everything for local. Once you start doing this you will notice that the traffic you get to your website will be a lot more focused, and you will be seeing a lot more conversions (both online and offline).
An example of local optimization would be targeting the keyword “Website Design in Seattle” instead of just saying “Website Design”. Of course, the most important part of this is to make sure the content flows well and you aren’t just stuffing keywords into the content.
Its 2014 – STOP buying links. There have been plenty of examples of websites who have gotten penalized by Google for buying links – enough that you should be convinced it doesn’t work. This tactic used to work back in the black-hat days, but it is dead today.
Most people that have been at the top of Google because of bought links have regretted it because they can never get back up in the rankings after Google hits them with a penalty. We know it sounds nice, but trust us – it doesn’t work.
Keyword stuffing should not be a part of your SEO strategy today. If it is, you should stop. The fact of the matter is that in 2014 it’s all about content, and if your content is a bunch of horrible content stuffed with keywords, no one is going to read it. If no one reads it, no one is going to share it. If no one shares it, why would Google rank it higher in the rankings?
Remember that Google’s main goal is to connect users with answers with as little clicks as possible. If you are just trying to manipulate the search engine but you are manipulating the end user at the same time, it won’t’ end well.
Use Exact Keyword Match In Anchor Text
There have been many studies done that show how much more value a link brings when the keyword that you are targeting for isn’t isolated in the anchor text. This goes back to manipulation. In most cases, a link that isolates the keyword won’t benefit the user, so search engine algorithms have evolved to understand this.
Instead of using the exact keyword match in the anchor text, let it come naturally. Your link should be put in an area that makes sense, not in an area that would be better for ranking.