SEO Trends 2014

trends

One of the things that you should always be aware of when you want your website to rank, are the trends. Trends have a lot of say to how the industry is going to move, so keeping an eye on the current trends is a great way of protecting and maintaining (not to mention) improving your SEO ranking and techniques.

Do Real Marketing

Search engine optimization is about tweaking your website so it puts your site in a position where there is a high level of traffic. Imagine putting a rock where there’s a stream or a glass under the waterfall. Not the prettiest picture but in a way, that’s what SEO is doing. Moving things about so the site catches visitors.

Now, with the dawn of the death of keywords and multi-screen devices, there’s a real need to actually start doing marketing and finding out where people are searching and particularly what they are looking for.

Be creative

How many times has everyone read or heard about “How to get the best deals” or “How to choose the best” whatever or whatnot? The internet is full of this stuff. It’s practically flooded with it. Now it is time to be a bit more creative and find a different angle on how to attract buyers and costumers. It’s now the time to be more creative, and that’s creativity that doesn’t just make pretty user interfaces and sites, but creativity that actually links with traditional marketing and advertising.

Multi-Screen Crowd

Today is the day of the multi-gadget and multi-screen crowd. One out of every person in the world owns a smartphone while one in almost every ten owns a tablet. It’s a staggering development, and one that’s easy to see. Just take a look around you, people are carrying their gadgets with them and doing all sorts of things with it: playing games, watching shows, connecting with family, and making purchases.

If your SEO or marketing campaign does not address this current development, then you’re going to have a hard time catching this crowd of gadget owners. Your consumers or audience are changing the way they connect to the internet, it’s time you changed your techniques and adapted to this development.

Pay Attention to the Social Channels

Now, it is more important than ever to have a well-connected presence in social media, across all key platforms. Sure Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are all very popular social media networks, but they aren’t the only social media networks that your target audience is probably using. That’s why we’ve reached a point in SEO history that putting up a visible and high quality social media presence is important.  You should also create quality multimedia material that your visitors can share in their social media networks.

Now that you know all about these trends, you can do something about it. Just imagine what could have happened if you weren’t aware of these trends. You would have done the same old thing and not realize that you were doing more harm than good for your site’s SEO ranking. Learn the trends and do the necessary adjustments to keep your site in tiptop shape.

Should You as a Search Engine Optimizer Focus on Content Marketing?

Consumers are more likely to turn to checking the Net to get the information they needed. Smart marketers have noticed and understood where this is going, paving way for content marketing to work in this area. And since you already know the potential of this type of marketing, should your business solely focus on this?

Why start content marketing now?

Customer preferences have changed and the only way is to keep up with that change. Digital technologies are slowly shifting consumers towards faster and more efficient delivery of information, thus the need for content marketing to be part of your marketing plan. Nowadays, business buyers usually contacts their suppliers once the purchase process hits 57% from completion. Because everything happens ‘fast’, consumers will discard any marketing ploy within seconds. This is where content marketing comes in.

How do you get started?

 

First, you’ll need to lay out your marketing goals. Is it intended to lessen customer complaints? What is market target and what are their needs? Whatever your answers are off these questions will be the meat of your content. Keep in mind that it should be in line with your goals.
Set realistic duration to finish your goals. List all your long-term and short-term goals and all of which can be achievable within that set time limit. Know your marketing objectives and what your audience would be looking for. Based on those needs, you’ll be able to categorize and expand it using various contents to explain it.

Get organized with your content by starting big and then narrowing them to specific topics. Start with a theme and then work smaller bits and pieces of content from there. Set time and date for release of each piece and plan for its distribution. You can schedule these contents with certain holidays or major events. Before long, you’ll be needing a content marketing calendar to send off these content.

What are the roadblocks of content marketing?

Just like any tactic, content marketing also has its flaws. Since this will take a lot of monitoring and manpower, resourcing and budgeting could a problem. However, you can use something like Contently to schedule these contents to be sent out. This way, you won’t have to worry much about budgeting and scheduling the distribution of these contents for your social media.

Create a social story. It’s good to plan out three to five unique tweets for each content that will be released within the week of its release. Gathering feedback from Facebook may give you a good grasp of the effectiveness of your content. Create an excerpt in Google+ page and post subject matters that engages a discussion to flow. Add a company page in your LinkedIn account, share it to your colleagues and have them share it on their social media pages. Leveraging with social media platforms and relationship platforms such as ContentDJ and Hootsuite can have a dramatic impact on your site’s ranking.

Marketing is now evolving and being left behind may mean loss of profit for you. Content marketing is here to stay and many businesses have already benefited off this. Solely working on content marketing may take time to pick-up. However, using these with other SEO tools can boost your SERP result.

10 Popular Questions (and Answers) about SEO

Many People Thinking of Questions

What is SEO? 
Some of you might be rolling your eyes at this one, but is actually still an enormous number of organizations that know little or nothing about SEO and the come to us to find out what it is and how it can help them.  SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is used to describe the ways that website owners manipulate their website information so that it achieves better rankings in search engine results. The higher your website ranks in search engine results, the more traffic your website will get and continually using SEO techniques can help your website to be successful.

Is SEO worth my time?
That depends entirely on who’s doing your SEO for you. SEO is a consistently changing industry and because of that it’s good to find specialists with a strong background in SEO who are up to date on the most recent best practices, but it will also depend on the keywords you’re targeting and your industry.  When your SEO is done correctly by a knowledgeable expert it can be highly effective in increasing website traffic but SEO done incorrectly will mostly be just a waste of time and resources. Our Advice? Make sure you choose your SEO consultant with care.

Why is my website ranking poorly?
SEO is a constant process because the rules for it are constantly changing. If you haven’t kept up with current best practices or aren’t using SEO techniques properly, you may not be ranking as well as you could be. Here are some of the main reasons why websites rank poorly:

  • Missing or incorrectly used Title Tags
  • Keyword stuffing (overusing your keywords excessively)
  • No Alt Tags on your images
  • Poorly written content that is missing naturally occurring keywords
  • Very few pages or content that isn’t regularly updated
  • Not enough relevant backlinks

What makes a link relevant?
Links are one of the most important aspects of SEO because they act like a “vote” for your website. Links from credible websites (ones that search engines deem reliable and authoritative) that have relevant anchor text (the text in the hyperlink confirms what your page is about) will help you to rank better because it proves to search engine crawlers what your website or page is actually about. There are many scams that claim to help you get relevant links, but please, for us, don’t get sucked in. These link “farms” or “exchanges” can lead to heavy penalties in search engines which will actually erode your rankings.

What is duplicate content and how can I avoid it?
You have duplicate content when you have multiple pages on your website that contain a significant amount of similar content to other pages and search engines will penalize for this just like for link farming. This is actually very simple to avoid: just write new content for each page! If your pages are relevant to specific topics and you’re writing according to what your page is about, it shouldn’t be too difficult to avoid this penalty.

Why is content important for SEO?
Your website’s content (blog posts, webpage copy, resources etc) is one of the best tools that you have to help improve your search engine rankings because it allows you to emphasize your keywords, build links and supplement your demand generation initiatives, but remember: you can’t just have any old content. Your content needs to be valuable to your audience for it to help you build links and bring traffic to your website.

What is an XML sitemap?
An XML sitemap is a file that lists all the URLs on your website. This type of sitemap is used to inform search engines about the URLs on your website that are available for crawling so that they get included in the search engine’s database.

How many keywords/Keyword phrases should I target?
That is going to depend on your website and your audience because your keyword choices should be derived from the terms that your users are utilizing to find your website. It will also depend on the size of your website and what products or services your company or organization provides to your audience. Having said that, the best practice is usually considered to be 2-5 keywords per page.

How can I figure out which keywords to target? Choosing your keywords carefully is on the most important steps when determining your SEO strategy and there are several different tactics for narrowing down the best ones. Brainstorming is a good way to get started, but after that there are plenty of free and paid online tools to help you generate keywords and determine which ones you should choose. You’re analytics are a good place to start as well (if you have them set up). Understanding what people are already using to find your website is a good way to narrow down your keyword strategy. Make sure when you choose your keywords you choose based on relevance and achievability. Just because a keyword is relevant for your website doesn’t mean you will necessarily rank for it. The more popular the keyword is, the less likely you will rank highly for it.

What is black hat SEO?
Pretty much everything we’ve already mentioned not to do is considered black hat SEO. Basically using black hat SEO techniques means that you’re doing things that break search engine rules to try and get higher rankings and are generally considered to be cheating and unethical (keyword stuffing is a good example).

Microformats and SEO – What They Are and How They Can Benefit Your Site

Google uses algorithms to pick snippets displayed off a certain page by your click through rates. However, using a set of HTML conventions that’s agreed upon and used to describe a content would mean more control in Google’s SERPs. Microformats has a way of helping you boost your ranking by using rich snippets using proper execution.

This technique is widely getting attention because its more relational and readable compared to using codes. It’s a basic and effective way to create semantic markups. Microformats uses code snippets that lets browsers or search engines easily understand what your site is about instead of just displaying it. Microformats easily conveys various information that are collected, understood and processed in various software. Some of the data that microformats are used in are geographic coordinates, reviews, social relationships or XFN and calendar events to name a few.

How to get started with microformating

1.) Update and validate your mark-up. By using Google’s Rich Snippets test web tool you can validate your microformats markup and preview the results of it.

2.) Make sure that no errors comes up your markup. If you’re getting an ‘insufficient data to generate preview’, make sure to check to validate again your markup. You can also check for sufficiency of your date to create a preview of your snippet by checking your microformat syntax.

3.) Use hCard microformat. It helps you structure contact information of a person or business easier using this. The end users and search engine bots can easily recognize the data and use it for various coverage of services. Google Maps uses hCard data to search for certain locations, which is used similarly with geo microformat.

In terms of SEO use, microformats are now being integrated to score higher ranks off search engines. Not only will this make it easier for search engines to detect, it will also be easier for the end user to find and check information about your business, what’s it about and your list of services and products. For business looking to boost their site’s ranking, using microformats are channeled in local directory listings. Aside from that, it also helps search engines understand your website better because of the clear information provided.

Nowadays, web developers are making use of this tool in their pages to make sure search engines will be able to pick up the websites and use it to gather leads. Currently, Yahoo and Google are using this to make it more semantic and give users a better search experience. Other popular sites using microformats are LinkedIn and Technocrati. If you’d want to get ahead of your competition, adding this technique to your list can improve ‘searchability’ and leads of your site.

Microformats works complimentarily with other web tools to get your rankings up in search engines. Having this as part of your SEO tools may put you ahead of your competition. Though learning this may take time and persistence, the results is worth the wait. Master the techniques in microformatting and it will do dramatic changes to placing your site on top of SERPs.

Black Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO is an SEO technique that only an exceptional few knows how to use. This is a practice that increases page rank in search engines by violating its terms of service. This is a questionable type of SEO technique that many are still using despite knowing the risks involved. So the question would now be: Are you willing to risk your business for this?

Black Hat SEO is the type of practice that boosts your site’s SERP rankings by using techniques that are against search engine guidelines. Google and Bing’s Webmaster Guidelines has openly denounced these Black Hat tactics but many are still using its techniques.

This type of SEO method basically revolves on increasing page ranking and leads without adding value to the users end. Most of the contents found in its site are just fluff, keyword stuffing, automated contents, hidden links or texts, sneaky redirected links, cloaking and doorway pages.

Here are some of the technique that Black Hat SEOs use:

a.) Article Spinning: This is one way to duplicate an article once or twice. It uses a software that changes some of the words to make a ‘slightly different’ article out of the original one. But the tricky part of this technique is making the content sound ‘organic’ even with keywords stuffed in it.

b.) Doorway/Gateway Pages: These are intended for search engines and not the user. These are fake pages with contents and greatly optimized for one or two keywords linking to another site or landing page. End users never sees the page as these are automatically directed to that intended page.

c.) Link Farming: FFA (Free for all) pages are all intended to place all links of unrelated sites. This technique runs the risk of getting your site banned and doesn’t drive in traffic.

d.) Cloaking: This is a tactic where a content shown in the search engine spider is not similar to that shown to the user browser. This is a deceptive tactic where contents cannot be located because it’s in a non-textual container such as a video or Adobe flash component.

e.) Keyword Stuffing: This Black Hat tactic uses a set of keywords stuffed in the head tag page in an attempt to increase ranking. Meta description keyword stuffing is used to describe a certain content off your page. It’s composed of 1 to 3 sentences and most of these are stuffed with keywords for optimization purposes.

f.) Affiliate participation without adding value to its content: It still boils down to keyword stuffing found in contents, making it less valuable for the reader. Affiliate sites are designed to give out content of products or services from affiliate networks the site is linked with. But in the case of Black Hat SEO, it focuses on copy-pasting contents to increase ranking.

If you’re thinking long-term, credible and income generating, the answer is no. Despite the reviews you may have read about this, Black Hat still remains a high-risk practice that eventually will lead to problems later on for your business. Rather, search for alternatives on how to land better search engine rankings and keep your business afloat.

Gray Hat SEO

Gray Hat SEO is one of the three techniques that may come as riskier than White Hat. If not done properly, this may result to banning of your site from search engines and affiliate sites. Though many may find this technique a little ‘shady’, rocking on this technique for your site may be beneficial (given that you do it properly).

Gray Hat SEO basically is a practice which is ill-defined by the guidelines published in Google. For many businesses, it may seem like a good practice to help their sites have good rankings off search engines.

Appropriate understanding of Gray Hat keeps you from negative consequences that costs you time, money and traffic. We all know that Google is known for thinking outside the box and creative innovation. With regards to Gray Hat technique, this isn’t intended for search marketers or the searchers with the changes happening annually. So the trick now is to keep up-to-date and stay informed for its latest categorizations. What could be Gray Hat today may be White or Black Hat the next year.

To define further how to go about Gray Hat SEO, here are some tips on how it works.

Gray Content. If there are limitations to White Hat and stuffing with Black Hat, Gray Hat SEO works by working in between. Enough to be considered as White Hat but not enough to be considered as Black Hat. If you want this to work, you’ll need to work on high-quality content with keywords that sounds naturally in the content. You can also work on creating duplicate contents and posted on different sites.

Gray Links. Purchasing links may be considered a Black Hat activity. But given that links may be exchanged for sponsorship of a certain event, then this is considered safe. Another way is to put your site in appropriate directories. Plan a three-way linking to avoid reciprocal links from appearing and boost your rank in search engines.

Work with old domains. Old domain sites are maintained sites by webmasters but abandoned for some reason. Most of these sites are rich with content and backlinks so if you’re planning to have a website with backlinks ready, opting for an old domain may work.

Replicate content. Content is the kingpin of combined SEO efforts. In Gray Hat SEO, replicating these contents can boost your standing in the search engine ranking. By using spinners, you will be able to duplicate a content – only with some minute changes. What these spinners do is create a ‘slightly different’ content off the original one with keywords and links in the content. Though creating a totally unique content may put your site at a great advantage, having spinned ones may do the same given that the duplicated content gives off the same organic feel to it.

The possibility of your site being banned from Google is lesser compared with Black Hat SEO. However, the risk is still there and may result to a penalty. Techniques are questionable but nonetheless effective if with proper execution and of course, keeping up-to-date with Google’s guidelines.

White Hat SEO

There are many methods in using SEO to get leads to your site. One of these is the White Hat technique or the ethical SEO. How is this relevant for your business? How is this different with the other hat techniques?

The relevance of White Hat technique for your business

This is the opposite of Black hat, meaning you’ll be using practices that’s in accordance with Google’s guidelines. The tactics implemented in this technique is focused on improving your site SERP (search engine results page) within the terms of service. High quality content and services, descriptive keyword-rich meta-tags and easy site navigation are some factors that are considered under White Hat SEO.

By not engaging in any White Hat activity, you’re sure to be banned in various search engines – especially Google. As Google is visited by millions every day, being banned in here can spell ‘disaster’ for your business and re-listing your business on Google may take some time. If not, not ever.

Practical tips on working with White Hat SEO

Focus on content. Your content adds value to your site and optimizes your search engine rank. The aim of search engine is to provide users sites that’s most appropriate and contains high-quality content they needed. If you’re the end user, you don’t want to end up in a sales page. Users focuses on rich content to answer their needs and not a marketing plug. Though marketing is relevant for leads, customers would prefer to get value of visiting a website rather than being sold at.

Use structural mark-up and separate content. Structuring your mark-up semantically lets search engines understand your content better. Use proper heading elements in your site to add weight to your content. Separating design elements using CSS to that of content gives a leaner code.With high-quality content, search engines will be able to see it and place it on top of its list. Again, content remains the key ingredient to attaining good standing with Google.

Proper coding. HTML mark-up like heading tags are essential to identify your site in search engines. Create sitemaps links for your pages so search engine bots may be spread on every page.

Proper Titles and MetaData. Proper titles makes up for the description of what the content is about. Using meta-description and meta-data properly can also improve your search engine ranking. If the page title and content are in sync, it is coherent and will add value to the users reading that content.

Keyword search and use. Going for shorter keywords may not be efficient in ranking you on a good spot in search engines. Multi-word phrases or long-tailed ones gives you less competition and it’s easier to target audiences with specific topics in mind. For example, if a user searches for ‘online marketing’, random pages may appear. But if you target ‘SEO online marketing’, users are more likely to go for a specific niche in sync with your business.

Everything that’s in order takes time to build. Though the other techniques may work just as well, but the penalty off Google can hurt your business in the long run. It’s best to learn further on White Hat technique to add more improvements in your marketing structure and ranking.

Google’s Algorithms: The Penguin Algorithm

In 2012, Google launched an algorithm change that troubled many businesses. Penguin 1.0 may have wiped out a great number of businesses with doubtful link profiles, bad backlink quality and keyword-rich anchor text. And with its subsequent changes, it may have further increased those numbers. If you’re unaware about the Penguin Algorithm, then it’s time to get educated to keep your site from getting ‘wiped out’ from landing a good ranking in search engines.

Google’s updates has only one goal in mind: to provide better and relevant searches that add value to the readers. If you use the Internet regularly (or occasionally even), you’ll understand why this is important. Webmasters and SEOs developed these skills that lets sub-standard content achieve high rankings in search engines, placing fluff content and spammy content on the top list. It gets frustrating as you go page per page to find that these sites just wasted minutes to hours of your time.

Now you know the intention, how do you start on a good footing with Google’s Penguin?

a.) Quality check

In searching for reliable links, you’ll need to consider auditing site link profiles. There are lot of poor quality sites lying around and add that to your site and you’re in it for a penalty. One method to evaluate a site is to check PageRank of 4 or a Domain Authority of 30. These are good basis in considering a good site for linking.

It’s best to focus on sites that works with the niche topics of your business. Avoid general posts that may have good content but are irrelevant for your business. It’s also best that links grow organically over time. The rate of link acquired or link velocity is one indicator that Google will use to consider whether your site is trustworthy and organic.

b.) Check your site profile

Once you already know what you’re looking for, it’s good to take a more in-depth look with your link profile. This requires you take the list of links pointed to your site and evaluate the content’s quality. This is a time-consuming task but it’s also relevant. If you’re unsure how to go about this phase, it’s best to hire a professional to have things done correctly (and efficiently at that!).

c.) Check Anchor Text

Anchor text distribution is a crucial part of your site. It is used to conduct SEO campaigns where you can create links for a specific phrase. Anchor texts that are heavily-laden with keywords are red flags for Google Penguin. It shows an obvious marketing campaign and more fluff. Many link builders use the same anchor text due to its keyword value to get their sites to top search ranks. Organic ones, however, have a variety of anchor text that holds more credibility.

It’s also best to disregard offending links by asking webmasters to change its anchor text or have Google re-index your profile. Though this may take some persistence and time, it will make for a good investment in the long-run for your site.

d.) Focus on creating excellent links

Now, it’s time to reshape your profile using high-quality links. You can use infographics, guest posts and discussion forums to make this happen. Keep in mind to focus on relevant and varied anchor text.

It’s imperative to be in the know of these things as your business relies on these search engine ranks. Despite its set-backs, this is also an opportunity for you to build your business’ credibility by bringing rich and high-quality content that focuses on true customer satisfaction.

Google’s Algorithms: The Panda Algorithm

So what’s the deal with Google’s Panda? Well, for starters, it’s not a real animal. This a software that Google created for quality control. Google has taken major steps towards the Panda and Penguin expansion and some businesses are still not aware about these changes. How is this relevant for you?


The recent update of Google’s Panda is designed to minimize show of low-quality sites. These are the sites that have little to no value to people visiting that site. Despite the set-back for some, Google Panda has prompted sites to publish high-quality contents to get better spots in the search engine. These sites often contains information like research, data-analysis, well-thought reports and the likes.

Since Google Panda is targeting pages that focuses on user-end experience, this meant SERPs will be showing less ‘spammy’ site. Should sites continue to have ‘thin content’ on their sites, a penalty is given them. This is the reason why there was a great wipe-out of content farms, thus the Farmer update. These content farms are full of low-quality, keyword stuffed contents that has little to no real value at all. Publishers just submit contents to these farms to get extra links directed to their website.

How will this affect your business?

Well, Panda is taking content seriously. So if you feel that your business may be losing face value, maybe it’s time to rethink your game plan. It’s time to get authentic content and make it “king”. Here are some steps to help your business to work harmoniously with Panda.

Make a plan

This may be a good time to consider content marketing as part of your plan. You can inject the following specifics: why you create content, your market, what value will it bring to the reader. These are three key questions that you need to answer for this to work.

Set out a process

During this time, you’ll be having lots of distraction that may keep you away from making this work. Creating a process on how to go about your contents will sort out those ‘nuisances’ and get clearer results. It’s easy to get things started but it gets tougher to be consistent at this early stage.

Learn to delegate tasks to help lighten the load. Remember that you’ll be needing a consistent flow of content for your site, so having someone to manage these contents and checking for quality should help maintaining the quality of your site.

Keep it original

Your company is best in the niche you’ve selected. Use these unique knowledge and skills to bring people to your site to learn and be educated. You can ask your customers on certain topics that they’d want put up so that you can grasp the kind of materials you’ll be needing. Website analytics also gives you a more factual data on what your readers are mostly engaged to reading, discussing and want to know further. Freshness and relevance are two things for you to be the authority of this niche.

Since Google owns a large portion of the SERPs market, businesses may become casualties to these updates. Despite the challenges that many businesses may face with these, Google Panda gives businesses an opportunity to get ahead of the competition.

How to Do Keyword Research – The Proper Way

It will all start with the words searched on the box. Keywords is essential to your site’s ranking and leads. But if you’re still new to the world of keyword search, then you landed on the right page.

Keyword research is an important aspect for your site because it produces high return results in the search marketing aspect. With the rigt keywords, you’d be ranking your site top of the list, thus getting more leads and customers to your site. By understanding what your market needs are, you’ll be able to learn the terms and phrases to target using SEO.

Create a list of topics about your business

You’ll need to sit down and think about 5 to 10 topics. List all the topics you feel are relevant for your business and use those topics to create specific keywords later.

Regular bloggers would use the topics that they blog about the most. Example you own a company such as HubSpot, which sells inbound marketing software, you’ll probably want to work on topics like inbound marketing, social media, email marketing, marketing automation and SEO. By knowing what your company is all about, it’ll be easier to identify later your target keyword niches.

Fill in the keywords

After pinpointing your target topics, you can identify the keyword phrases that you think are relevant to rank you in the SERPs or Search Engine Results Pages. Your customers will be using these keywords for them to be able to search your site.

Let’s go back to Hubspot. If you’ll be using ‘marketing automation’, you might be thinking of the following keywords to search online: what is marketing automation, lead nurturing, marketing automation tools. See how it connects?

Keyword search tools

One of those tools you’ll need is the Google Keyword Planner Tool (previously known as the Google Keyword Tool). It shows how many people are using those keywords to search for a specific topic off the Internet. Using this tool, you’ll be able to identify the volume and ‘test’ the traffic to see how much it will convert to leads.

Doing keyword research manually using the planner tool can be cumbersome and take a lot of time. A better alternative is to use software to aid you in your process.

Examples of such software are for instance:

Short and Long-tail keywords

Short keyword phrases contains only one to three words in length. Long-tail keywords are those that contain more than three words in the phrase. Mixing these two types gives you an edge against your competition and will work longer for long-term wins. With shorter keywords, you’ll probably encounter more challenges in ranking it on the top SERPs list. However, longer keywords have lesser competition but will put your ranks on top of the list because its more specific and targeted for the users end.

If you want your site to have a good ranking, you’ll need to focus on the keywords to be used. Consider the right topics that will fit with your business’ profile to get optimum results. You may want to re-evaluate them every few months (once every quarter for starters). As you get more authority in SERPs, you can start adding more keywords on your list and expand to new areas from here.