It’s no secret that technology can change on a daily basis. What’s popular and effective one moment — especially as it pertains to online marketing strategies — may be dated and useless the next. As a professional, it’s important, even critical, to stay ahead of the trends to offer your clients the most valuable SEO services possible.
In order to keep your methods current, check out the following predicted SEO trends for 2014.
Voice Search Parameters
Search engines are changing regularly, and many are moving in the same direction. The major players have long since realized that computer usage has become a regular part of the lives of most people. This has lead to a new concept – that people type like they talk and think, not like robots.
With this in mind, search engines have created and released new algorithms, like Google’s Hummingbird, which produces search results based on what it believes the searcher meant, not what was typed into the query box. Based on this, SEO strategy must be modified to include long-tail keywords and a more natural feel.
Increase in Online PR Optimization
Inbound marketing has quickly taken the form of an online PR specialist in order to accommodate Google’s link building parameters. While only 42% of companies are currently using an agency’s online PR services, according to a report by Econsultancy, 33% of companies said they plan to use the service soon in the future.
Building links through getting placed online news articles may be more difficult. But the additional benefits, such as branding and reputation marketing on top of SEO, makes it an attractive option for companies.
Social Media Matters and Will Continue to Matter
The vast majority of individuals and brands have a social media presence of some sort. It’s where both people and companies go to make connections. In fact, it’s overtaken porn as the place that Internet users spend the majority of their time. The bottom line: if you’re trying to reach someone, social media is probably one of the best places to make a first impression.
It’s predicted that over the next year, social media marketing will be more critical than before and could be the most profitable strategy any marketer or SEO professional can utilize. Additionally, social media now factors into page ranks in search results. If a brand is looking to build credibility, social media engagement is a must.
Quality Content over Quantity
In the past, the popular idea was that the more frequently content was posted, the higher the search ranking could be. With the introduction of “smart” search engine crawlers, this has changed. To be recognized as valuable, content must be authoritative.
What does this mean? It means that all content should be well-researched and well-documented, that sources should be used wherever possible and that content cannot be pumped out quickly without regard to referencing source material. In 2014, we’ll see the trend of longer content blog posts that are packed with videos, images and graphics. These posts will be used as linkable assets.
Another aspect of authoritative content is now the writer. Google is now using rel=author as a form of ranking for articles in the search results. In 2014, we’ll see the number of pictures beside listings in the SERPs increase as more marketers realize the power of a Google+ Authorship.
While this is a basic overview of some of the changes to come in the next year, much remains to be seen. New releases in groundbreaking technology could change the online marketing landscape in an instant. To be the most effective marketer or SEO professional, it’s essential to stay abreast of current trends, to educate your staff if applicable, and, most importantly, to demonstrate the value of staying current to your clients. 2014 is approaching quickly; are you prepared?