Thursday, January 2, 2014

Thinking Ahead to 2014, Part II - Preparing Your SEO Tactics and Strategizing for the Coming Year

This week, we've got part two in our series of articles looking at how we can prepare and plan our SEO tactics for the coming year. We started looking specifically at content creation and how it will have a significant influence upon SEO strategies in the coming months.

Authorship: You already know that the social interaction and human activity your content generates can impact your ratings with the search engines. The next step to ensuring your profile on line is notices is to establish a firm footing online as the author of your work. Authoring your work makes you visible to Google Author Rank so that all your content is noticed, not just because of the user interaction with it, but because Google can see who wrote it. This is vital, particularly when you are working toward building a reputation as an expert in your field. Do your best to get your content out there as much as possible, but in a natural way. In addition to your own blog and news, add a variety of different content posts to your weekly list of new content. It sounds like a lot of hard work but it will pay off tremendously.Go easy with the guest posting however. We are expecting Google will be paying much more attention to guest blog posts in the very near future - and there are a number of experts who agree with us. By all means share your content with more and varied audiences but be very careful about entering into old fashioned back-link building by posting guest blogs full of meaningless, keyword loaded drivel; it won't help you at all.

Blanket link building won't work anymore: Google will be continuing to fine tune their algorithms so they can measure the quality and natural growth of links to and from a website. It is going to make link building much harder. The old, traditional methods of back-link building are just not effective any ore and they will be even less so in the coming months. Google has waged war against spam advertising and 'fake' activity in all its forms. The algorithms are looking for patterns which reveal real relationships and high levels of human activity. We're not saying stop creating links; we're saying create opportunities for links and encourage them with your content. Building links is going to involve much more careful thought, planning and execution.

Choose your text and keywords carefully: Penguin is also on the look-out for websites which look 'too' optimized; more than 30% of the text was identical with unnatural repetition of key phrases. It looks awful, unprofessional and definitely puts real customers off. (Sadly, there are so many businesses out there that have paid good money to have their website content SEO optimized, and have instead ended up with an adverse effect because the levels of anchor text were so high. Penguin can spot the fakes! There are a lot of cowboys out there claiming to know what they are doing, and in fact, they have caused damage. Be very careful and only talk to real experts who understand how much the world of SEO is changing.) The key here is to create your content carefully, choosing your keywords and text wisely and creating links which will be organic in their growth.

Don't underestimate the importance of looking good: We've already mentioned on many occasions that enhancing the user experience is how to raise your profile online. Design is a vital part of this. The first impression you give to visitors when they find you is critical to inviting them to stay for a while. While this may sound ridiculously obvious, and it is, in practice we are still seeing countless businesses having less than attractive websites built. Not everyone has an eye for design, not all businesses understand the importance of design to build a brand identity. If you really want to succeed online and attract people, design has to be part of your focus. Make re-vamping and re-designing your website part of your SEO strategy for the coming year.

Be Welcoming: it will help you build relationships and trust - to build your brand. It is a powerful way to project a way of life, an aspiration and a mood to your users. While this may all sound very jargon and as though we've just swallowed a marketing handbook, it is a fact. Good design attracts customers, points them in the right direction and encourages them to relate to you, read your content, share it and interact. It also helps you to look like a real professional in your field and increases the perceived value of your content. Your online (brand) identity must be created using design, content and multimedia so that it will generate natural, organic activity - the stuff Penguin loves!

What this means for website owners is the need for high quality in all content. If your websites are not designed, written and created beautifully, then it will absolutely have an adverse effect on your rankings.

The idea here is to attract real people by making them really interested in real information. PageRank, Author Rank, Penguin - all they are looking for is where the crowd is gathering and enjoying itself.

If you get your brand, your voice and your message right, by planning carefully now, there is no reason you can't achieve great things for your business over the coming year.

Next week, in part three, we look at what we can expect form social media in the coming year leading to 2014.

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