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Google in 2014: What to Know and What to Forget

By Danielle Bartholomew

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Google’s similar to that older sibling that’s always outperforming you in sports and getting straight A’s in school – you seemingly can’t win and you most certainly never know what their next step is. You get a 95 on that physics test you’ve been studying so hard for and Google’s already taped theirs to the fridge with a big red 100%.

That being said, let’s take a preemptive look at what Google has in store for us for 2014.

As you’ve probably heard, Hummingbird is Google’s newest algorithm which was revealed about 2 months ago. Along with Hummingbird was the (Not provided) fiasco, which left some SEOs scrambling to locate where a large chunk of search terms are coming from. We’ve all also been on the watch for all things social, as it appears Google is paying more and more attention to social media and its behaviors over time.

So, let’s start with Google+. Some of the world is still in the dark on the way Google+ works, but it’s being proven that the SEO value is remarkable – especially with sharing. Shares from Google+ are being found #1 on the list of top search engine ranking factors, and original posts are always being found in the SERP’s when that specific topic is searched. Granted, there is a combination of factors that helps Google+ content rank, but we do know that it IS ranking.

Going hand-in-hand with this topic is Google authorship, which is ideal for individuals who are seeking visibility online. In a few easy steps, authorship will give you credibility for what you’ve written in search rankings, along with a photo of yourself attached to your highly ranked content. Just be sure that you’ve set up your own Google+ personal profile page, as this will be the info that Google uses to associate you with your content.

Now for SEO, some may argue that the traditional tactical approach is fading out. This may be true in some circumstances, but Google is pushing us to use a more strategic method, which is nothing but good news for the creative types out there. (Not provided) was the first step away from the tactical approach – yes, we lost the easily accessible data we’re all used to, but this isn’t the end of the world. There are ways around this, including using Google Webmaster Tools.

On track with the strategic approach is the way Hummingbird functions, which has changed the way search queries are understood. Conversational search is Hummingbird’s forte now, as well as the opportunity to follow a previous query, resulting in even more specific answers with less questioning. Easier search, more accurate results.

Moving on to PageRank – it’s rumored that page rank is eventually going to become irrelevant and the fact that Google hasn’t updated PageRank numbers since February gives even more validity to this thought. This change would again push us towards the strategic method of SEO implementation.

What to focus on in the future

Open up your site to the world of user experience and be sure that your viewers will have an engaging and enjoyable visit. Gather key information, such as your target audience and run with it – create meaningful messaging and content that makes a connection. Gain authority for your site by increasing your visibility, whether it be by local search, social presence, or outside the box items like schema and related markup. Remember, there’s more to SEO than keywords and PageRank. Find works best for your website and move towards the strategic approach. Your clients and your website will thank you in the future.

To learn more about staying ahead of the Google curve, click here to check out our free webinar replay The Truth About SEO,” where you’ll learn the common and costly SEO mistakes, cutting edge SEO strategies, and more!