As Google continues to refine its algorithms, placing a greater influence on the quality and relevancy of content and links, SEOs must change and adapt to stay ahead of the curve.
Martin Harrison of article writing service Copify discusses some of the recent changes and what they mean for SEO content in 2014 and beyond.
Your content needs to earn links
Gone are the days of being able to pay for the placement of content and reaping the benefits.
Guest blogging, seen by many SEOs as the holy grail of link building has recently been targeted by Google in a crackdown and it appears to be going the way of directories and article directories as an obsolete form of link building.
If you are buying links and Google hasn’t yet cracked down on you, it is only a matter of time before it well.
Today, if you want to be successful at SEO, you need to invest significant time and budget into strong, editorially- sound content that will be naturally linked to, or published on other websites.
Think outside of the box
Article marketing as an SEO tactic has been dead for many years now, yet many SEOs are still producing generic, low-level filler content that hardly pushes the boundaries in terms of imagination.
Today, you need to focus on producing new and innovative forms of content, that are clever and interesting enough to be mentioned and linked to by other people.
Mahi Fx’s You Vs. John Paulson is a great example of how to do this well.
Don’t be a ‘vanilla’ brand
Brands with no personality don’t get exposure. Those that are brave enough to post controversial material will increasingly benefit.
UK bookmaker Paddy Power is a good example of this. The brand famously posts shocking and often offensive material on its social media accounts, a deliberate strategy which is paying dividends.
Their Marketing Director went as far as to say that they are actually disappointed if we don’t get complaints.
You don’t have to be downright offensive, but it does pay to push the boundaries.
Create a content calendar which features content targeting the key periods in your trading calendar and targeted content for these events. If you are a retail business, this could for example be ‘Top gift ideas for Easter/Thanksgiving/Christmas’ etc.
Planning for this content should ensure that you have the content created prior to the event so you have the time to effectively promote it and take advantage of the subsequent traffic it drives to your site.
Use what you already have
Before you embark on a major content production spree, audit all of your existing content, including web pages, blog posts and any other material that may be of use or interest to people. Make sure that this is evergreen (still relevant today) and put in place a plan to promote this content.
Forget about keywords
The days of ‘keyword density’ are well and truly over now. Mention your targeted phrases in your meta data and header tags where appropriate, but don’t stuff them into the copy in the hope that it will help the page to rank, it won’t.
Google’s Hummingbird update reflects the fact that users are changing the way that they search. Queries are now more likely to be based on questions such as ‘where is the best seafood restaurant in Miami’ rather than generic keywords like ‘restaurants Miami’.
SEOs will win in 2014 and beyond by exploring the potential questions their audience will have and presenting them with the answers.
Sort out authorship
Google Authorship is becoming increasingly common in the SERPs, with more and more results displaying the author’s profile picture next to results.
Linking your site to your Google Plus profile takes just a few minutes and could improve both your rankings and your click-through rate.
Research into the impact of authorship on rankings have been mixed, and it is perhaps a little early to establish whether or not establishing authorship has positive impact.
One thing is for sure, however, with the search giant looking to promote Google Plus and with pages that have authorship having visual prominence over those which don’t, it’s unlikely to do your site any harm.
Budget for promotion
SEOs are increasingly realising that simply producing great content is no longer enough to guarantee success.
Unless you are working with a brand with a huge existing following, you will need to put in place a plan for the promotion of your content through social media and paid promotion.
You need to spend on promoting your content as well as producing it if you want to see any real traction look into platforms like Outbrain and Sponsored Tweets.