Once upon a time, SEO was a fairly easy concept; optimize your meta tags, page titles, and content body with key terms and phrases, and obtain as many backlinks as possible. The Internet has become a highly competitive landscape since then, which means achieving a high ranking takes considerably more effort. You can achieve success with your SEO efforts in 2014 if you know what is required to outrank your competition.
In a nutshell, here’s what you need to succeed with SEO in the coming year and beyond:
. Images and Video
. Content Marketing
. Social Media
This looks fairly straightforward, but let’s expand on all five in order to have a clear understanding of what will be required to reach your desired level of success:
Keywords. Yes, keywords are just as important today as they were a decade ago; the key is not to stuff your content, pages, meta tags, or URL for the sake of search engines. Keywords should flow naturally throughout your content without being obvious to the reader. When you are writing with the reader in mind, keywords will naturally fall where they should, so don’t focus on keyword density. Ultimately it’s important to keep in mind that it isn’t the search engines you want to read your website’s pages, it’s real people.
Video and images. One factor Google uses to determine a website’s rank is how long visitors remain on its pages. Video and images help engage and entertain your readers, even preventing the boredom that can come from reading page after page of content. Videos and images help break up what could become monotonous, and should further inform your visitors.
Links. Unlike years ago when most websites had a “links” page filled with links obtained via link exchange, today’s links should be of value to your visitor. Search engines favor on-page links which link out to valuable information on trusted, authority websites. Inbound links or backlinks should be obtained naturally, coming from relevant sites because of the value or usefulness of your content. These are often obtained through blogging and sharing new posts or articles via social media. It is also important to include internal links, those within your website that link to other relevant pages on your site.
Content marketing. Robust content is bigger than ever when it comes to success on the Internet. A good content strategy includes providing useful, informative content targeted at your audience on a regular basis. This content helps increase your company’s authority, and signals search engines that your website is alive and growing. Sharing your content via social media and engaging with fans/followers increases social signals, a vital factor in website ranking today. Commit to creating fresh, quality content on a weekly or even daily basis.
Social media. Are Facebook and Twitter enough? Today, many experts agree it is good idea to diversify your efforts when it comes to social media. Most B2B marketers who are successful use on average seven networks to share and engage, according to the results of a study released recently by The Content Marketing Institute. Most importantly, be sure you are active on the networks that matter to your customers and your industry. Keep in mind that while promoting your company, products, and services is key, it is also essential to join in the conversation and answer questions – be involved on a human level.
Considering all of the changes in SEO over the past couple of years, even contemplating the strategies you will use in 2014 can be almost frightening. Thankfully, all of the Google Penguin and Panda updates have made it clear what tactics to avoid such as keyword spam, over-optimizing pages, and devious backlink strategies. We’ve also learned that when it comes to effective search engine optimization, great content is what it’s all about! Practice the above in your future SEO efforts, and achieve a much greater level of success in 2014.