It’s common for people and companies to look for a new direction as December turns into January of the New Year. When the search engines do it, however, most webmasters find themselves wondering, “Will my site be the next to be affected by Google or Bing’s latest algorithm change?” First there was Panda and then Penguin and finally Hummingbird. By the time you get used to one set of tried and true search engine optimization tactics, the major search engines switch algorithms and you’re forced to develop a brand new SEO strategy based on all new search rules. Instead of playing the guessing game and to keep from being penalized by any search engines in the future, learn the following SEO steps for 2014.
On Page SEO
The first SEO steps for 2014 include making sure your on page SEO is on point. Start with your site’s meta data – the title tag, description tag, heading tags, image tags and keywords tag. Your URL should be easy to read, as short as possible and clean. In other words, stay away from foreign characters like ampersands that make your site look a bit spammy.
Content Still Rules
Each of your website’s web pages should include unique content that is specific to each page. Your content should be of the highest quality and should be useful. Give visitors a reason to land on your page and provide them with all the information they may be looking for by clicking-through to your website. Use your keywords throughout your website copy, but don’t sacrifice SEO for quality. In other words write naturally and pepper your keywords throughout your pages, but don’t make it obvious that you’re optimizing for any keywords at all.
In following with the proper search engine optimization steps for the coming year, structure your website so that everything is easily findable within four or fewer clicks. Your menu items should be prominently listed and you should provide a search option for those visitors who want specific information quickly.
Social Integration, Sharing and Authority
Search engine optimization will rely on social proof for quite some time; it’s best to just get used to that fact. Instead of relying on webmasters to identify quality sites, the search engines are relying on the social networks to fill them in on what’s hot, popular and in the now. If a website gets passed around on Facebook and Google+, for instance, that website will attain more prominence in the search results than websites that don’t have any social media presence at all.
If you want to fall in line with these SEO steps for 2014, become active on all the current popular social networks. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are a must, but Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr wouldn’t hurt. Post social buttons on all blog posts and website pages and encourage sharing at every turn.
Google+ is a definitely inclusion, as Google has integrated its proprietary social network into its Google Authorship markup system. By implementing Google Authorship, your Google+ profile photo and circle relationship information will be posted along with your search listings. Authorship is terrific for search engine optimization, as it helps your listings stand out and authorship has also been shown to improve click-throughs immensely.
Be Versatile, Constant and Social
To remain in good standings with the search engines, strive to provide your main audience with that which they desire. If they are clicking-through to your site to learn more about heart surgery procedures, provide all visitors with just that information; but go a step further. Link to sites where visitors can learn more, provide them with a downloadable white paper or ebook or start a newsletter subscription program. Post blogs and create videos that are then uploaded to YouTube. Then use social media to keep in contact with and learn more about your audience. When social followers contact you, respond in kind and nurture relationships so that they convert into long-term customer relationships.
SEO steps for 2014 are all about being active on social media. You must show that you care about your customers and you must strive to always give them what they want. The search engines want nothing more than to provide their users with quality content – so become the prominent provider of quality content that website visitors covet when they search for a keyword term and then click on the most interesting or most viable links. With proper SEO, excellent content and an ongoing relationship with your audience via social media, 2014 should prove to be yet another very successful year.