What is your SEO game plan for 2014?

What is your SEO game plan for 2014?

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,

Guest posting

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.

relevance and authenticity

Guest posting

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.

Keywords have become less important

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?

Find out which keywords Google wants you to rank for

Find out which keywords Google wants you to rank for2

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:

varying screen sizes

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

  1. Freshness by inception date
  2. Document changes- large change/small change
  3. Rate of document change
  4. New page creation
  5. Rate of new link accrual
  6. Where links come from, links from sites with related content and fresh
  7. User behavior/bounce rate

Social signals

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
  • Backlinks
  • Facebook total
  • Facebook comments
  • Facebook likes
  • Pinterest
  • Tweets

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.

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  1. Mohit says

    Lot to learn from this post Jane..I got to know that SEO strategies should be different for the year 2014…We no longer need to target keywords..We just need to write good content and do social promotion in right way..In the future we will be required to bring more changes to the SEO game plans that we are adopting for bringing traffic….
    Mohit recently posted..5 Reasons Making People Attracted to Buy Moto GMy Profile

  2. Kushendra pratap says

    I must Jane you are doing nice work , the above information is really showing the true research regarding the Seo which affect the SRPS. Specially the about keyword using by Google to give the rank is very much understading. very agree with the social sharings point written here, One more thing is that Google is keeping semantic keywords for ranking a website.
    Kushendra pratap recently posted..How To Grasp The Prosper Blog Post IdeasMy Profile

  3. Siya says

    All I could say is WOW! The article flows nicely! Just need to re-read it and hop to some of the “tool kits” mentioned. Great post George, and thanks to the host, -Jane.

  4. Nikhil says

    Hi Jane,

    Great post. Your SEO game plan for 2014 is amazing. All guest blogging in-depth article and social signal are very important to drive organic traffic in 2014. We must have to focus on all your given point because it is a feature of SEO for 2014.

    Thank you for sharing this great and wonderful post with us.
    have a great day. :)
    Nikhil recently posted..30 Most Useful WordPress Plugins For Your WebsiteMy Profile

  5. Kostas says

    Great article George. I totally agree with your points about relevance. Guest blogging is far from dead, it just needs to be approached from the right angle. We need to focus on quality and steer clear of just doing it for the links. You have demonstrated a fairly good plan for the coming year here.

    • george says

      Well even Matt Cutts says that but one has to read between the lines. Thanks for the appreciation, I really love the fact that guys appreciate the effort.

  6. Max says

    In 2015 I feel Google will not give any weight to links that have no relevant to the article content. So that means we will seeing an end to companies trying to guest post on our blog to gain the edge. I would say making friends in your niche will be much better and provide better leads and traffic.

    • George says

      Can’t say for sure how it would play out. Relevancy does count but I would never base an entire strategy on that. Social signals show correlation data play a vital role

  7. Rajesh Kumar says

    That’s a lot of data to learn from, Though I’m still unable to completely understand why Google is doing so many updates, big updates, It has ruled out almost all the activities SEO guys used to do in the near past and using for the years?

    And, Big brands can do anything, they can publish duplicate content, they can buy links, they can exchange traffis, what the hell?

    What do you say friends?

  8. Vikas Yadav says

    A Great post covering nearly all the features of SEO. I spent nearly30+ minutes daily for each my blog posts to find the relevant keywords for my new posts. But, after reading this articles, I know that Keyword search is no longer remains perfect for getting better ranking. Thanks a lot i learn new concepts after reading this articles.

  9. ShaileshShailesh says

    Hi, Nice article posted here. We would like to go with Guest Blogging or Keyword Research for getting more n more exposure on the google search engine. Mostly, we need to do Keyword Research, On the basis of that keyword research, we write some good, unique and relevant content for the blog. It’s main priority of every blogger in this new year. Blogger should try to do this things first and then try to others.

    Thanks for sharing this info with us.

  10. Kaloyan Banev says

    A little bit of everything. SEO have always been about strategy leverrage and diversified link building. There are is a lot misinformation online. All strategies are working, as soon as strategy is executed properly.

  11. Atinder says

    I think SEO Value is Going Down as Google Introduced Hummingbird Algorithm. Now Having Top Quality Content and Constant Blog Updating is Key.
    So I think Instead of Giving SEO to much of Time we can crate a Good content and Give SEO a Little Time once we have Good Quality Content on our Blogs and Websites.
    M I Right?

  12. ShanjeiShanjei says

    Skipped Guest posting last year and even this year till now.. Have to do that. They say that its really effective. sold a blog and made another and now I think its right time for this :)

  13. Christi HumstoeChristi Humstoe says

    Keyword research and Unique Content which should be Interesting for visitors not only for Search engine. that strategy will boost the SEO ranking of any site.

    Thanks to share the great tips Jane

  14. Samir says

    Wonderful post, I’ve learned lot of new things today from this post and I guess I’m gonna implement the same on my blog. You’ve shared really great tips regarding the new SEO game plan.


  15. Luana Spinetti says

    That’s right, George — guest posts and social shares make for a blogger’s reputation and their value goes beyond SEO. Guest posting should have never been done for links — links are a consequence, not the goal. Like writing for a magazine is about earning a niche clip, not just about seeing your name in print (which is nice, but not a primary goal).

    Keyword research may have lost importance from a strictly SEO viewpoint, but it’s still important to find out what topics are trending and what are the questions you user/reader base needs answered. You can provide that answer. :)


    “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.”

    This is a bitter line in your optimist artile, George. Those who resist Google changes are not doomed, because they may have just switched from a Google-oriented marketing strategy to other tools, methods, outlets.

    I’m one of these people. I’m an “SEO rebel” and a proud one. :) There was no Google in my online life when I began making websites and writing content and I’ve fared pretty well. I could do better, if I manage to overcome most of my personal issues and engage more with my readership (and fix my sites, heh).

    All in all, I loved your guest post. :) Bet Jane did, too. Ready to hop on *your* blog; I’m curious.

    – Luana S.

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