Predictions Of The Changes To SEO In 2014
Now that Christmas and New Year have passed it’s time to pack away the decorations, tidy up after the New Year party and start working towards those resolutions (which will definitely work this year!). It has also reached the time of year where everyone pulls out their crystal ball, tarot cards and looks to the stars to come up with their predictions for the year ahead. Now I don’t have a crystal ball or tarot cards and I’m not one for stargazing, but I have some predictions of what lies ahead for the world of SEO in the year to come.
To ‘reveal’ the mysteries that lie in the foggy future read on, if you dare!
Data Mark-Up Becoming More Significant
Google has been trying to push data mark-up for a while now, but have really stepped things up in the past year with the introduction of article mark-up as well as the new Structured Data Mark-Up Helper Tool. Therefore it makes more sense that they will continue to place more focus on it in 2014. The advantage that data mark-up gives you is that it provides Google with more information about what your site relates to and what each page is about, thus helping Google rank sites more appropriately.
A Greater Diversity In Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
Google has already been experimenting with SERPs quite a lot over the past couple of years. One major change is that for a lot of searches the organic results now appear far further down the page. This trend is likely to continue as Google begins to provide more real estate to shopping results, knowledge graphs and in-depth articles. What this could well lead to is a reduction in the Click Through Rate (CTR) of listings that don’t have any mark-up as they will look plain in comparison and be far less noticeable.
More Content To Appease Hummingbird
Hummingbird is Google’s new algorithm that they released right under everybody’s noses. The purpose of this new algorithm is to focus on relevance, precision and a greater understanding of user intent. What I think this will lead to is the creation of long, more detailed content created to answer more specific long-tail searches. Whilst this sounds like a good thing it could also quite easily lead to a number of pages which don’t really contain good quality content nor serve much of a purpose beyond attempting to answer as many detailed questions as possible, without answering any of them properly!
The Return Of Technical SEO
In the past couple of weeks Google have been mentioning a lot more of the technical elements of SEO, such as site speed and mobile optimisation. This could well be a nod towards things to come in 2014 and implies that those sites which have technical issues, crawl errors or aren’t optimised for (or at the very least compatible with) mobile devices could well be penalised and see an effect upon their natural rankings.
Creative Link Building
In the past year Google’s algorithm update Penguin caused a major change in link building. It appears as though this is set to continue into 2014 with link building techniques that are currently working well potentially becoming less effective. This means that link building will require more creativity than before, with the need to present news and comments that are interesting and relevant as well as actually adding something to the industry it relates to.
More Power To The Brands
During 2013 there was a big shift of power towards brands e.g. Amazon or John Lewis, which unfortunately looks set to continue into 2014. The main reason behind this is that brands have the authority, money and workforce to allow them to more effectively adapt to what Google wants for improved rankings, as well as being able to carry out a multitude of different approaches to cover all possible bases.
The Death Of Guest Blogging And The Rise Of Authorship
Guest blogging is when a blogger writes an article to be posted on another blog and is a great way of creating inbound links to your site and/or blog. In 2014 we are likely to see Google cracking down on guest blogging that is low quality, or purely for the sake of link building. This is because Google believes that you should only receive links to your site if you have earned them and with guest blogging you don’t necessarily earn them out of merit. My Google contact informs me that what is likely to happen will be a Penguin update in the first few months of 2014 that will partly target low quality guest blogging.
Whilst this crackdown is going on I think Google Authorship will become more important so that Google is better able to determine what is good content and what is bad. This means that building up an author profile, authority and following (e.g. Twitter and Google+) will become more important as this may have an affect on how Google views the quality of your articles.
To The Future!
So those are a few of the things that I believe will happen to the SEO world during 2014. If you have any predictions of your own leave a comment below!
If you have any questions about these potential changes or would like help planning a marketing strategy for the year ahead please contact me on 01480 878 510 or at [email protected]
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