SEO is still going strong – many had predicted it to be dead over the last 18 months, notably with the advent of Social & Online Reputation and the diminishing value of links into Google’s algorithm. Truth is that 2014 still sees a major need for page and website optimisation in order to rank well. What should be your focus in 2014?
Albeit it had been said numerous times SEO is a thing of the past, it actually is not the case. Yes, websites can rank with little to no on-page optimization but if you are aiming at that sweet first ranking spot, brush off your skills and focus on what works in 2014¹: a combination of technical brilliance, incredible content, top notch usability and first class branding.
- You need a responsive design – so your pages are perfectly visible on any support (phone, tablet). No need for a dedicated mobile website anymore (which solves potential issues of having multiple websites to update or to promote).
- Write around your business and be the expert in your industry! Bring insights, take a stance, solve problems – there are many ways to create great content online; something that will prove popular to your users and Search Engines alike. Don’t rehash last year’s data – create something new and unique that will make Google rank your website higher in the search results page.
- Forget about individual keywords to focus on – build your content around keyword clusters. Clusters are groups of keywords around a similar topic, including synonyms. Search Engines know about synonyms and they will assess which page of your site should rank for which key phrase.
- Review your website and make sure it’s perfectly clear for every user what you expect from them. Don’t sit on your pages: they have a purpose – craft them around it. Test and measure, refine and start again.
- Measure everything – using a tool like Google Analytics will allow you to gain incredible insights on how your website performs and how users interact with it. Implement A/B testing on your pages and see how they work for you.
First class branding:
- Where should your business be listed? And where does it have to be listed? The most valuable links will come from websites that show a relevant relationship with yours. The value and importance of the page on which the incoming link is posted matters tremendously.
- Links are important, and so is how your brand is perceived online. This will affect your visibility and your rankings. Monitor what’s being said and react – never take it personally. The sentiment around your brand is crucial to its online success – and is worthy of all your efforts
The key aspect here is value. Your website has a purpose – it has been built to convey a message, to convert users, to generate leads, and to drive brand awareness.
The following questions need to be asked when considering the Google ranking factors for 2014:
- What is its added value?
- How can you make sure your pages bring something to the Internet as a whole?
- Does your website solve problems?
- Is your brand trustable?
Optimise your website around your key strengths – this is how you will reap SEO benefits in 2014.
About Bernard Somja, seoWorks
Aside from developing a league of veteran snowboarders, Bernard is seoWorks’ Director of R&D & Training helping businesses in Europe, Asia, Australia, and the USA succeed online through the implementation of best practice Inbound Marketing.