The SEO industry is constantly changing and evolving. New platforms, devices and ways to share information all have a big implication on how we will continue to optimize sites in the future in the never-ending effort to win Google over. The basic fundamentals – creating useful, relevant, high-quality content as well as acquiring quality links will still be the main focus. I’ve read some great articles that forecast changes in the SEO industry for 2014, and I’ve boiled down what I think will be the 3 of the most important aspects of SEO for 2014.
1. Social media, especially Google+: It’s important to have a uniform presence on all social media platforms — even if certain ones are not really relevant to your business, it does not hurt you to be there and occasionally update it. Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr and many more are all part of the conversation. If you don’t have the time or personnel to maintain a constant presence on social media, Hootsuite is a great tool you can use to schedule automatic posts.
It’s no secret that Google puts a lot of importance on Google+ as well as their other products. While +1s aren’t proven to improve rank, I think combined with other factors, they definitely help. Linking your Google+ Local page to your Google Places for business page is something you should do if you can. I still get a bit confused about the difference between Google+ Local vs. Google Places for Business, if you are too, Amanda DiSilvestro wrote an article Google Places for Business vs. Google+ Local that does a good job of breaking down the differences. Google+ allows you to build your brand, create a community and all the while, drive traffic to your site. Another thing to note is that Google can customize search results depending on who you have in your Google+ circles. In 2014, it will be imperative to have a presence on Google+ if you want to be successful on the web.
2. Quality Content: After the Panda and Penguin updates from Google, several traditional SEO techniques and practices are no longer relevant. Content has been and will continue to be king. With Google’s emphasized focus on quality content that answers questions, businesses will need to continually re-evaluate and update their content marketing strategy in order to keep up.
3. New Devices: It’s important to note that mobile device usage is growing at a tremendous rate. According to this Mobile Growth Statistics infographic from The Digital Buzz Blog 50% of average global mobile web users use mobile as either their primary or exclusive means of going online. I think virtually everyone can benefit from having a mobile-optimized version of their website. I think it is also a good idea to consider creating a mobile app for your business, even if it is a simplified version of what you have on your website. Think about what your customers want to be doing when searching for your business online — maybe its an easy way to pull up driving directions or request to schedule an appointment. Whatever the case may be, mobile sites and mobile optimization is going to be big in 2014.