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What To Expect For SEO in 2014?

OK, so now that we've just turned the New Year corner, and can see 2014 straight ahead, it's perhaps time to lay aside celebrations ...

SEO changes for 2014

OK, so now that we've just turned the New Year corner, and can see 2014 straight ahead, it's perhaps time to lay aside celebrations of making it to another year, and think about what lies in wait for y2k14. Things continually change in the SEO industry as the tactics and strategies change. The backbones remain the same, but the outer structure is pretty dynamic. A lot of changes happened in 2013, so what can we expect from 2014?

Keyword research

One of the major changes - or should I say, paradigm shifts - for SEO in 2014 is related to keyword research. Previously, Google's entire ranking algorithm and search was based on keywords and keywords alone. Search was made on the basis of keywords in a query, and the most relevant results were filtered, based on their quality (and a whole lot of other factors).

So what happened now? Well, Hummingbird happened. Google did a major overhaul of its algorithm, and introduced the Hummingbird. This new algorithm has the capability of understanding (well, trying to understand) conversation queries. It actually processes search queries not just based on their keywords, but on their meaning. This means that synonyms and phrases have a lot more meaning now, and that exact keyword matching might become a thing of the past. So it's time to start researching your audience rather than sticking to the good ol' keyword research we used to do earlier.

Link building

This, again, is becoming a thing of the past. Google has been hacking at this practice for quite some time now, what with the updates like Panda and Penguin. Creating content and reaching out to interested parties for linking back to that content used to be a major SEO practice in the past. But not anymore. Google puts a penalty on any such link building scheme, pushing publishers to look for alternative methods.

The new way to go is now branding and social interaction, whether through a blog, a forum, or a social media network. Mentions on such platforms will now drive better quality signals to a site in the form of links or brand mentions. So social interaction is in, link building is out. These 'quality' signals that come social activity will follow the same organic patterns that communicate value with in the search engine’s index.

On-page SEO

Optimizing on-page elements for SEO is still very important. However, Google is getting much better at understanding the different parts of markup on a page. So while you previously had to fine-tune the content on your page to make it understandable for Google (which obviously meant you had to tailor content for search engines more than your users), you no longer need to. The focus now is on a site's crawlability and usability, i.e. the User Interface. With new algorithms such as Panda, SEOs should be paying more attention to how the site is being crawled and used when it comes to optimizing “on page”.

Whether these changes are for the better or worse, only time can tell. But they sure make the job of a SEO much smaller, and yet more challenging at the same time. The previous era was about automation - this one is about relations. The socially interactive people get the advantage now, and it is important that bloggers like you and me change and adapt to these developments.



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Experience Lab - Online business creation and development guide for bloggers and startups: What To Expect For SEO in 2014?
What To Expect For SEO in 2014?
Experience Lab - Online business creation and development guide for bloggers and startups
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