SEO in 2014

Google’s 2013 updates can and do affect your websites visibility in 2014. If you really want top-notch traffic in 2014 and be prepared for Google’s 2014 search engine updates, then you will need to make your website compliant with last years updates first. Website owners need to look at the quality of their online publications and ask themselves how this serves the information age, their customers, and their competition.


While search engine rules have always been in place, adhering to the new strict enforcements is what will make or break any websites long-term viability. Here are the six main areas of focus which will make or break your websites search engine visibility and set the foundation for 2014 search engine compliance: SEO, infographics, link generation, press releases, article marketing, and guest posting.


SEO Is Not Entirely Irrelevant


Search engine optimization (SEO) helps the Google Hummingbird update to find and classify content. In the future, SEO will have very little bearing, if any, on page rank in search results. SEO still matters, but spammers cannot continue to manipulate SERPs (Search Engine Rank Position) in their favor. Content creators and SEO IT experts need to be aware that less SEO is more lucrative. Website owners once relied on organic search data to tell them what prospects want, but now they must rely on user experience, organic social sharing, and internal page-view tracking to decide what is serving their customers.


Infographics, Images, and Other Content are Still Relevant


Website owners need to make sure to use their own images and infographics and aim for originality. In times past, people mass-shared and embedded images for massive backlinks. The newly enforced Google standards are set to de-rank, or even penalize and block sites, who manipulate data using mass-shared images. To stay in the safe and clear, take down all mass-shared images and replace them with personally crafted ones. Also, remove all links to these images from the internet to reduce error messages.


Basically, if image sharing was used to create massive links or to steal and share images across multiple domains, then Google will find out and they will penalize the website. Be unique, be creative, be original, and utilize organic social sharing to create the back-links for rank. If using non-copyrighted (stock) images, then re-upload them, rename them, encrypt them with the no-follow code, and include attribution.


Link Generation is Still Relevant


Advertorials, paid advertising, and other online advertising links, whether inbound or outbound, now need to carry the no-follow code (rel=”nofollow” attribute). These forms of advertising count negatively towards pagerank. If website owners are purchasing blog or web-posts, advertising graphics, CPC ads, or any review posts, then they need to make sure to keep them under wraps. Don’t let the association of link generation negatively impact search engine rank or Google juice. Technically, anytime a backlink is purchased it is considered paid link advertising, and this is against Google’s terms and conditions.


Press Releases Are Still Relevant


Press releases are caught up in this Google update crossfire. While many are using them legitimately, they are often flagrantly abused for back-links or over optimized for keywords and links. Press releases are still a good idea for business, but they must use them sparingly with a no-follow code in every link and avoid keyword anchor text. Use press releases as intended, for newsworthy business information without any generic keywords. Optimize press releases and Google’s news feed for readers, rather than rank and links.


Article Marketing is Not as Relevant


Article marketing is another cautionary tale in less is more. Article marketing is really about submitting quality user-oriented content to third-party sites. Despite the best intentions of honest users, the article marketing practice is spoiled by spammers. Many third-party sites are now horribly penalized by Google to the point of shutdown. This shutdown is due to marketers looking for quick link-building by  using low-quality and even spun content.


Third party article submissions are still alive and well, but website owners must be careful of online bedfellows. Avoid sites with any spun content, massive article marketing, or geared for large scale marketing. If engaging in article marketing, then find a hub to dominate a niche in and adhere to the rest of the rules and examples posted in this article. Gear the content for the reader and serving the customer, rather than links or traffic, and use no-follow attribution on links.


Guest Posting is Relevant, But Dangerous


Guest posting is another semi-dangerous activity in Google’s new rule book. If engaging in guest posting, then follow the general rules: no-follow coding, no keyword anchor text, and avoid general SEO page rank tactics. Websites that last all strive to establish themselves as an expert in the field. Stop looking for quick and easy ways to make traffic or rank. Don’t risk future traffic and conversion growth.


As long as blog posts and guest posts are not used with the sole purpose of keyword link building or driving traffic to the website, even in the author byline, the future of the websites rank should be okay. Just like article marketing, mass blogging or guest posting is to be avoided. Success equals efforts over time to firmly establish a website and its content as a trusted source for Google users.


Google Services Compliance


Remember, becoming Google search compliant is all about learning to work with Google’s business model as they want it to serve and function for them. Learning to optimize websites for the end-user, instead of the search engine rank, will have more bearing on page rank from this point forward.


Therefore, master the guidelines Google sets forth for inclusion onto their services and review them often. If there is uncertainty about certain aspects of website optimization, then hire an expert who is Google compliant and has a good reputation. If the current optimization team was following black hat techniques, then be quick about getting those fixed and finding a new team. If there were penalties after these new updates, then keep a spreadsheet of all the fixes and plans for the future to submit a request for re-inclusion.


Finally, make sure the website keeps clear of any techniques that deserve being penalized in the future. It is very hard to get penalties removed or a site re-included in Google search the first time and near impossible for secondary offenses. Keep ahead of the game with worthwhile content and eliminate the worry.