Time to update your SEO strategy

When did you last review your SEO strategy?

Search engine optimisation should be a vital part of any marketing strategy, but people and businesses can be easily put off the constant changes and penalty warnings that are constantly in the press. It is up to SEO’s to keep updated with search engine news and communicate this back to their clients, with a clear vision as to what they have to do to meet the ever-changing standards and guidelines of Google and co.

In recent times, SEO has broadened its horizons far beyond tweaking your website to optimise your content and keywords for better search rankings on Google and co. Social media has become an integral part of SEO, as social signals – shares, relevance, interaction and engagement – have started to take precedence on the search engines and how their algorithms set their listings. It has made webmasters change tactics and instil Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube into their website and their marketing strategy as a whole.

Google are still the guys you should be aiming to please

Google have entered the web directory and social media playing field by purchasing YouTube and enabling users to optimising it for search, as well as launching Google+ and web directory-style services such as Google Places and Google+ Local. Choosing to use these services is likely to improve your chances of ranking well in Google, the largest of the search engines with around 67% of the US market share.

The first port of call when updating your SEO strategy for 2014 is to get on board with Google and make your Google+, Google Places and Google+ Local pages the best they can be for user engagement and for search. Also, if you are using YouTube as part of your strategy, be sure to optimise your page and each individual video like you would for a search engine, including using tags, video descriptions and great images to highlight your content and give it a great shot of being ranked highly in the search engines.

Understand your brand and your audience

2014 is the year that the emphasis becomes more about your brand and its audience than it does about you. Google’s attack on guest blogging this year is a clear line-in-the-sand moment.  There is more to lief that just links when it comes to SEO and Google wants it this way for the long term.  Sniff out where your audience are, know what makes them tick, what forums do they hang out in, what online publications do they read, where are they spending their time on social media, are you writing the content that is going to keep them coming back?  Google are essentially saying: If you’re not prepared to study, appreciate and value your audience, why should we let you get away with it? With that in mind, your SEO strategy for 2014 should focus on listening to what your audience enjoys and deliver it in spades. They’ll love you for it.

Mobile is changing the way we search

There are billions of smartphones in the world, with worldwide mobile phone sales totalling 455.6 million units in the third quarter of 2013, according to Gartner Inc. The more smartphones that are out there in the world, the more apps are downloaded and the more web traffic and online purchases are going to be made via mobile, and this means that an SEO strategy must focus on mobile phone users. If you haven’t heard the term responsive design when looking to create a new website then consider that a priority now.  This means that your site must look good and operate effectively on a smartphone, tablet or any mobile device, as the majority of your traffic is soon going to come via these devices.  There are individuals that have ditched their laptops in place of mobile only for web searching, don’t miss out on this valuable tech savvy crowd that are coming your way.

Mix Your organic and paid services

Although SEO strategies will improve your organic reach and be the main source of your web traffic, paid services – including Google ads, PPC campaigns and paid social media ads via Twitter and Facebook – can make a solid impact, and should be considering when releasing new products and making important announcements about your business.  Pay particular attention to your organic traffic and ranking and don’t use that paid ads that are just going to target the same searchers or you may end up just paying for traffic that you were previously getting for free.  If you have separate people, teams or agencies managing your SEO and paid ad campaigns make sure they are in touch regarding the goal setting and results analysis. Sometimes it pays to have a budget in place for improving your paid reach at pivotal moments, but organic reach is still the best way to get the most relevant results, and paid services should never take the place of good, honest SEO and social media activity.

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