SEO Changed Forever In 2013. How To Adjust And Thrive In 2014

If there’s ever been any question that SEO marketers need to put user needs first, 2013 was the year the search engines made it clear.

Nearly every innovation in search — algorithm updates like Google Hummingbird, SERP enhancements, social integrations — was aimed at creating a better experience for the searcher.

These innovations require SEO marketers to think more closely about the value their content creates for users and to take the technical steps that communicate that value to the search engines. Additionally, with an increasing shift toward mobile, it’s even more important that searchers can quickly find what they are looking for.

Google is leading the way in putting more information on the SERP, better organizing results, and adapting to spoken language. At the same time, Bing has been making innovations in its ability to provide accurate results to users, give more information to webmasters, and optimize for the Windows 8.1 environment.

Here are the key innovations in search for 2013 and how to stay ahead of the game as an SEO marketer.

Google Algorithm Updates Promote Better Content

Below is a review of the ways Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird affect SEO and what you can do for better performance.

Panda And Penguin: Fighting Spam For The Greater Good

After 25 tracked encounters with the content-spam-fighting Panda, Google said in March that it would no longer announce Panda updates. Then in May, Google announced the Panda Dance: monthly updates rolled out over a 10-day period. With unannounced updates, it’s harder to tell if you’ve been affected by Panda. Low quality content is no longer worth the trouble, even for short-term gain.

The 4th and 5th rounds of the Penguin update took its penalization of linking schemes deeper into the site, addressing more types of links. With Penguin, Google is saying the same thing for links as it is for content: they need to have value, a reason to exist other than to inflate rankings.

Google’s ever-broadening definition of spam is beneficial not only for searchers looking for information; it’s beneficial for SEO marketers focused on white-hat tactics and quality content, since it means their sites will rank higher as more spam gets filtered out.

Hummingbird: Semantic Search For The Masses

The rise in mobile, the increasing use of voice search, and the arrival of a new generation of young searchers untrained to search in keywords (partly due to the proliferation of tablets) could be some of the factors leading to Google’s most significant algorithm upgrade to date.

While most SEO marketers didn’t see an impact from the Hummingbird updates that were rolled out over a month before the late September announcement, Google’s new ability to effectively address conversational queries and match content based on synonyms further solidified the audience-centric content imperative. Danny Sullivan reported that there’s nothing SEOs need to do differently for Hummingbird: just continue focusing on high-quality content.

Creating high-quality content that meets user needs and optimizing it as you go makes SEO a more integral part of a holistic marketing process. To ensure your site doesn’t get hit by a black and white beast or a tiny bird in search of nectar, try these tactics:

  • Think about topics rather than keywords when considering content creation. What questions does the page answer? Are there synonyms for the topic that can be used on the page?
  • Seek out high-quality partners for linking. Make sure the link is placed in a context that is congruent with the topic.
  • Try to get bad links to your site removed. If that’s not possible, use the Google links disavow tool.
  • Hire qualified, capable partners for both writing and SEO. Just because someone is good at SEO doesn’t mean they can write copy that is clear and compelling, and most writers aren’t trained to do SEO. Ideally, content can be optimized as it’s being created from within the CMS.

Foster a teamwork culture for content strategy. Conceptualizing, writing, and placing quality content on Web pages that drive revenue is a team effort.

Source: http://electmedia.com/seo-in/seo-changed-forever-in-2013-how-to-adjust-and-thrive-in-2014/

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