SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has been an unavoidable activity for businesses, bloggers, and other website owners since search engines came into existence, and so is it even today. However, this industry has gone through various ups and downs in recent years. Sometimes SEO was considered to have been replaced by content marketing, and sometimes it was said to be dead. There have many speculations about the future of SEO all around. But the fact remains the same even today ie. SEO is not optional, it’s inevitable.
It is here and will be dominating the online world as long as search engines survive.
Needless to say, the approach has changed, and it has changed for a better online world. With frequent innovations to bring more quality in search results, Google has almost redefined the approach to SEO. Consequently, it has become more quality-centric now. Today, it’s more about creating values and positive user experience. There’s one simple philosophy that lets you rule a search engine like Google, and that is – create values for your visitors, search engines will value your website automatically.
The need for SEO in 2014
The online presence of a business has always mattered a lot, but in 2014 it is going to be like never before. The dependence on search engines is going to grow even more, and the need for SEO is going to be stronger than ever before.
How do I say this? Okay, I will explain it. Tell me what are the main channels that you have been using recently to promote your business online?
If you let me guess, it must be – PPC (mainly Google Adwords), SEO (traditional SEO practices), and SMM (Facebook advertising, and presence on a few other social channels like Twitter, Google Plus, Linkedin etc. Some of you might be using things like email marketing and cold calling also.
Am I right?
Now there’s a simple question – Have you been happy with the ROI (Returns on Investment) from all these channels combined?
If your answer is Yes, you are the happiest of the lot. Your marketing strategies are going in the right direction. But the irony is that most of the small business owners will come up with a straight answer – NO.
So, what is wrong?
The overall approach and the allocation of budgets are wrong.
The need is to be more strategic and realistic with your marketing efforts. A lot has changed in the year 2013. For instance, let’s take an example of PPC, The keyword which used to cost $1 at the beginning of 2013, now costs almost $2 per click. Have you been able to double your ROI like this? If not, you need to rethink on your paid advertising budgets.
Let’s take another instance, a simple Facebook Page Post that used to reach 1000 people through organic feeds to the users’ timelines, now reaches 44% less. It means you need to opt for Facebook’s paid advertising to reach all your fans. You actually have no choice if you wish to stick to using Facebook for business.
It means you must not be getting the expected ROI from these two channels. How about SEO?
The fact is that if you increase your investments in search engine optimization, you will get more benefits in terms of ROI.
But my SEO is failing to give me the expected results, what is the way out?
It’s a question that the majority of small business owners are finding answers to. The answer is – change your SEO Company. Hire a company that offers strategic SEO services.
If you are still relying on traditional search engine optimization methods, you won’t be getting the benefits you desire. There have been many changes in SEO in the last year, has your service provider aligned your campaign with it?
Let me give you an overview, Google came up with a series of updates in 2013. Some of the decisive updates were as under:
- Panda — January 22, 2013
- Panda — March 14, 2013
- Penguin 2.0 — May 22, 2013
- “Payday Loan” Update — June 11, 2013
- Hummingbird — August 20, 2013
- Penguin 2.1 (#5) — October 4, 2013
What was the outcome? It overall redefined the approach to search engine optimization. There were noticeable changes that compelled webmasters to align their strategies with Google’s changes. The ones who did not or have not worked according to it, are compelled to suffer. Don’t be the sufferer.
SEO is going to be more comprehensive in 2014
More comprehensive in a way that SEO is no more traditional (I quoted it way back in July 2013). A success-oriented search engine optimization campaign in 2014 will include the following:
- Invisible On-Page Optimization
- A semantic approach to landing page content creation
- A consistent and quality-centric content marketing strategy
- Active social media presence
- #hitlinks building
I recently wrote a detailed blog post – 5 Golden SEO rules to rule Google. It’s going to be of prime importance in 2014. In this blog post, I have covered the first 4 topics that you can refer to.
What are #hitlinks and how to acquire them?
#hitlinks are the links which have already been considered authoritative. These are Hit in the eyes of search engines. In simple terms, the links that you get from a high PageRank website and from a website that has a good domain authority are #hitlinks.
Some of the primary technique to acquire #hitlinks are –
- Start connecting with influencers in your industry,
- Join social networking websites,
- Be helpful to your target customers with your expertise,
- Create high-quality contents,
- Distribute free and useful contents like ebooks, infographics etc.
- Start guest blogging,
- Ask feedbacks from experts, and from your customers,
- Get reviewed,
- Get interviewed,
- And above all, be consistent in your approach.
To sum up, your search engine optimization campaign has to go with strategies. It cannot go through the traditional route anymore if you are really serious about benefits. It has to be a combination of quality content creation, social media marketing, and #hitlinks acquisitions. The approach has to be smart, the strategy has to be ethical, and the efforts have to be consistent.