What is Search Engine Optimization in 2014?

It wasn’t long ago that companies could rely on lots of free traffic from Google. Google’s since learned they could make a lot of money by making organic rankings hard to achieve. Quite a few marketers have given up on SEO and free traffic, but that’s a bad mistake. Google organic traffic is still the most valuable traffic you can get online. It’s the best way to build prestige and reach new customers. If you’ve given up on SEO and simply give Google Adwords whatever they demand, I hope you have the perfect conversion strategy or you’re likely losing a lot of money.

Google’s Algorithm is Complex. Ya, so What?

Yes, Google’s ranking system is complex but it’s pretty well the same system it was a decade ago. It still relies on links, looks for keywords/related words, and checks for spam. You have to be more clever that’s all. I’ll explain what SEO is in 2014 by discussing it here. First, Rand Fishkin in the video below tells us that SEO is now anything you do. It all impacts on SEO performance. Actually, that’s always been the case, but now it’s become more obvious. After you watch this nice video by Rand Fishkin, let’s look into the top 10 Google ranking factors and talk SEO.

Rand talked about the basics of SEO: crawl friendly, good content, and good keyword research, and that these 3 are the table stakes, to get in the game so to speak. Really, you need more than that. So before you go and build that website, and pay a bunch of writers, video-graphers and designers to create a masterpiece, make sure you’ve considered the:

Top 10 ranking SEO Factors

  1. Trustworthiness – are the sites that link to your site trustworthy and have you ensured you have done nothing spammy on your site?
  2. Domain Authority – is your site considered important
  3. Page Authority –  do you have specific pages that are important to Google
  4. Semantic Keywords – What does Google believe your website is about? See your Google Webmaster account for some insight
  5. Inbound Links – how many links point to your site and key pages
  6. Anchor Text – do you have keywords used in anchor tags and near hyperlinks?
  7. Keywords in body copy – do you use keywords and their variations in your main body copy
  8. Title Tags – Are keywords used in your page <title> tag?
  9. H Tags – are keywords used in your headings?
  10. Original Content – unique copy, video, graphics

Dog food concept Google has downplayed the importance of keywords and is analyzing your site based on searcher’s intent. They look for words that are related to your keywords (e.g.,words that are associated with your keywords and often used by people when talking about your products or brand name. For dog food, it might be German Shepherd, canine, eat, beef, grain, organic, bag, natural, veterinarian, teeth, pet, healthy). And they can eliminate words that aren’t associated such as cat, hot dogs, relish, and dog collars.

This means your content must actually be about the topic and not just stuffed with obvious keywords. And the sites that link to yours should also be genuinely into those topics and be original.

Marketers do discuss other factors such as Google authorship, Google local business registration, and social signals. Google alters how they include these factors and it’s not certain how or if they can utilize them effectively.

Definitely use social outreach to get your inbound marketing material out there where it can be passed around. That’s how you get links on other people’s websites and social pages.

SEO is complex. It is challenging. But don’t be afraid of the effort if you have a serious business or product with potential. Paying Google Adwords through the nose or doing TV and radio ads is very tough to sustain.

Successful marketing is sustainable marketing. Talk to us and ask your questions about your Google ranking challenges (and add your comments below).


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