September 23, 2013

SEO in 2014. What’s important, what will be and what isn’t

Penguin 2 was perceived as a major algorithm update by Google. And, it surely was, in terms of the impact it has. However, the actual ‘check-list’, if we want to call it that for Penguin 2.0 wasn’t an eye-opener by any means. Google has long expressed it’s dislike for spammy links, duplicate content and it’s like for content that’s being shared, an engaging user experience and so on. All of these are just some of the elements officially a part of Penguin 2.0.

There’s already enough information out there on what’s included in Penguin 2.0 so I wont cover it again here (see Penguin 2.0 posts). However, here are some other elements that

Video – for those of you who have been to this site before, you may have noticed it has undergone a design update. What you may not know is that after adding the video to our home page, the number of hits the home page receives from search (organic) traffic almost doubled. The search terms the home page had some rankings for has seen an improvement of about 40% as well. Of course, it’s possible that the improvements had to do with other aspects as well such as ongoing SEO work elsewhere but the significant jumps in performance for home page is disproportionate to the other pages which makes me think it’s definitely something to do with video.

Mobile – I’m surprised Google hasn’t officially released any algorithms yet that takes a website’s performance on mobile and tablets when evaluating rankings. Nevertheless, on a few occasions now, we have seen our client website jump up the SERP’s when we have launched a mobile and/or responsive version of their website.  That the web is going mobile, I don’t need to tell you that. Optimising your site for mobiles may not only help your search engine rankings but improve your conversions as well.

Content variety – Google loves content and it loves different types of content even more. Most businesses are now aware of the importance of having good content on their website as a result of which most have some level of competency with textual content. However, here are some other ideas to help you offer more diversified content which Google and your visitors will thank you for:

  • Videos – Here are some examples of videos for different types of businesses to give you ideas
  • Presentations – Consider creating presentations and publishing them on Slideshare. In my experience, it’s unlikely you’ll receive any leads from this but traffic, most likely and it will greatly help your SEO strategy
  • Resources – consider publishing case studies or “how-to’s” in .pdf and host them on your site.
  • Webinars – admittedly, these are more time-consuming to manage which is precisely the reason you should consider it. it’s unlikely your competitors are hosting webinars which could give you a very real competitive advantage

Before I conclude, I’m going to list some SEO “techniques” which I haven’t found of much worth investing time or money on:

  • Keyword stuffing – pure waste of timeGoogle Webmaster Tools HTML improvements
  • Duplicate content – Google Webmaster Tools has a useful tool to help you find any duplicate meta data you may have on your site.
  • Meta keywords – I have done numerous tests on pages with and without meta keywords and I’m yet to find any real improvements in rankings by using meta keywords. Ofcourse, you could always use this if you wanted to, but I don’t usually spend any time on it (as I wrote this came across Bing’s rankings tips which says meta keywords isnt a ‘big’ ranking factor!).

Oh, one more thing – I recently helped a client recover rankings post-Penguin 2.0 and was surprised to find their previous SEO buying Link Packs. As if buying links wasn’t bad enough, link packs consisting of 000’s of links usually from a single country TLD (E.g. .de or .es) is even worst. Stay away from this at all costs.