SEO is as consistent as the river. What you consider today as a white hat, a harmless technique may tomorrow turn out to be something that lands your site into a penalty. But you need to rank your site, right? Even though some people don’t like to focus on SEO, link building and generally just rely on only content, say if you’re running an e commerce site or have started a new company you need to do something so that it gains traction.
There is a lot of investment going on and just hoping that Google would rank you may not be the best thing to do. Again there are niche affiliate sites where you’ve poured a lot of time and effort to get ranked.
So in 2014 what is your game plan for SEO?
I would say,
Matt Cutts’ in his recent blog post bashed guest posting for SEO. He bashed guest posting that was done for just the sake of links. There are aspects of guest blogging where it can be a tool to reach a wider audience, to spread info about a product.
The next question is how Google will be able to judge a guest blogger’s intentions. There is no way that the webspam team would just know. Furthermore in each of the algorithmic penalties, the observers always saw a pattern- too many links from non relevant domains- penalty, thin content-penalty, too many links of the same kind- penalty.
Here are the two relevant videos where Matt Cutts discusses about spammy guest blogging:
It is here where relevance comes into play.
Don’t just cut all the links below a certain PR, a low PR website is not necessarily bad, the relevance of the topic of the website and above all, its authenticity are much more important than just the PR.”- Andre Weyher, webspam team.
Its emails like this that you need to be wary of. An innocent looking infographic that linked to a site that’s in no way relevant to my blog.
While I would not go the extent of accepting posts from only people whom I can vouch for I will certainly make sure that my guest posts are not linking to some payday loan scam nor has content that my readers won’t love.
Guest blogging just for the sake of guest blogging may land you in trouble. I’ve had many people in the finance niche requesting guest posts on a blog about blogging or SEO. It doesn’t make any sense to me.
How on earth will it make sense to Google? Sooner or later either both or one of us will be penalized. Guest blogging on authority sites in your niche, in sites which have long established themselves and constantly produce outstanding content will definitely boost your rankings and your standing amongst people.
Keywords have become less important
Two changes rocked the SEO industry in the recent months. The first one was the elusive “not provided” list in Google analytics and the second was the “Hummingbird update”.
While the first one said that don’t plan your content for keywords, the second one did away with the favoring of keywords and rather put content on spotlight. Now Google wanted to show the results for what exactly people were searching for.
There’s a context behind this.
There are more smartphones today than there are PCs and Intel is on another round of job cuts this New Year because of falling chip demand. More smartphones imply that people are going to use services like SIRI to voice search on Google. Voice searches would lead to longer search queries. Merely long tail keywords won’t do. Now, the content has to be in-depth. Google’s mobile revenues were up 25% and you may see that the revenues would cross 50% of their total revenues in the coming years.
Hummingbird is the beacon of the future.
There’re lots of changes in the way Google is displaying results these days. You can make use of the Social SEO Booster to mark up your articles.
In-depth article markup
Google’s new feature, in-depth articles have recently started sharing space in the SERPs.
Facebook and Twitter markup
If your content has video in it, then you should be adding Facebook and Twitter tags for it. Adding the right tags will enable them to play in Facebook newsfeed itself.
Find out which keywords Google wants you to rank for
Here is a trick to find out what Google wants you to rank for?
The above keywords are some of the keywords that Google thinks is relevant for ProBlogging Success. Does Jane know about them?
Make your website mobile friendly
As more and more smartphones are entering the space, making your website adjust to the varying screen sizes is of critical importance to drive conversions.
If that doesn’t drive home the point here’s some data:
Finally have some data with you. The “not provided” update is a pain in the right places.
Here’s a toolkit that you can use and here a hack to get some of the not provided data back.
Glen Allsopp at Viperchill published a case study where he showed that sites are ranking for hot keywords just because they change their dates. Freshness taken too far!
Anyway if your site has content on a daily basis or regular basis I guess it would only do you good.
Google scores fresh content on the basis of the following factors
- Freshness by inception date
- Document changes- large change/small change
- Rate of document change
- New page creation
- Rate of new link accrual
- Where links come from, links from sites with related content and fresh
- User behavior/bounce rate
Tweets influence rankings and facebook likes, google plus ones and re pins are all but the sweet additions to Search algorithms which make ranking easier.
Search Metrics monitored over 10,000 keywords, tracked 5,300,000,000 backlinks & 19,044,500,000 social signals across 2013.
Using the Spearman Correlation model they were able to determine the top rankings factors in 2013 were-
- Google +1′s
- Facebook shares
- Facebook total
- Facebook comments
- Facebook likes
If you still insist on resisting the change then you will die out like the rest of the marketers who never shook out of their shell. It’s actually easier to rank today than it was before with all these changes and the social factors influencing SERPs.
George works at Linkody, a tool that tracks, analyses and tells you the quality of your links.