Now is the right time to be modifying your SEO strategy. Search engine optimization dramatically changed throughout 2013, and countless SEO professionals are still operating based on old and ineffective strategies. The industry of search engine optimization is rapidly shifting towards providing a unique and valuable user experience, and SEO companies that can make this change quickly will be able to separate themselves from the pack.
Creating a better user-experience through usability
Search engines today have a variety of metrics that they use to determine whether a website is usable. Websites need to be very easy to navigate, and broken links can be extremely detrimental to a website’s overall score. Websites also need to be designed professionally. Google’s algorithms can determine whether valuable content is held above the fold or below the fold and even if the content is accessible to mobile devices. For this reason, professional and competent Web design is more important than ever.
Emphasis of valuable content over traditional SEO tactics
Search engine changes such as Google Hummingbird are geared towards moving the emphasis away from keywords and towards user intent. Google, and other search engines, are attempting to offer the user better and more valid results by anticipating what they really want and directing them appropriately. Websites need to be well-written, with longer content that links to authoritative resources and is entirely unique.
Mobile devices are changing the landscape
Mobile platforms are becoming incredibly popular. Most designers are already aware that if a site is not responsive it is likely to be ignored by many users, but they may not know that poor mobile design could even have an impact on search engine rankings. Content, especially ecommerce content, needs to be designed for mobile devices. As many as 55 percent of those with Internet-capable cell phones browse the Internet online, and almost half of these individuals actually prefer mobile browsing.
Speed and reliability matter more than ever
Websites that go down often or are slow will also feature lower on Web rankings than websites that consistently perform well. This makes the choice of a reliable Web hosting company extremely important. Even when your website is not being accessed by users, Google and other search engines may be analyzing it for its performance. If it fails basic stress tests, it may get shuffled down the list.
Social media is growing in importance
The knowledge-based engine that Google is promoting with Hummingbird also radically changes the very foundation of traditional SEO techniques because it attempts to answer a user’s questions rather than simply return results. Interestingly, the side effect of this is that it’s making social media far more important than ever. Google pulls from Google+ for much of its information, especially on a geographical level. Having a well-written Google+ page may become more important for businesses in the future than a good business site or blog for this very reason, and good SEO companies will start utilizing this technique early on.
Search engine optimization companies need to move now if they are to capitalize on the changes being made to SEO. Strong social media tactics, valuable content and unique content will likely be the voices of the new year. Companies will need to ditch the keyword-stuffing tactics that have served them so well in the past and embrace the changes ahead of them if they are to remain successful.
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