Search Engine Optimization in 2014

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Defining what search engines, like Google, deem important in relation to search engine optimization (SEO) is an ever-changing entity. Webmasters constantly have to determine which SEO elements are important and which ones are irrelevant. Maintaining effective SEO will ensure that your site appears at the forefront of a search engine list, and therefore greatly improving your chances of getting people to your site and converting them into customers. So, what are most effective SEO practices for 2014?

Keyword Research
Keywords are one of the original elements of SEO. It is important to know what tools are available to find the best keywords for your website. Here is a short list of keyword research tools available today:

  • Google Keyword Planner – Best used for basic keyword research to find keyword suggestions, search competition, and volume.
  • Ubersuggest – If you need to expand your keyword horizons, this tool will suggest related keywords to your phrases of choice.
  • Wordtracker Keyword Tool – Helps generate optimized content, keyword suggestions, and measures competition.
  • Moz Keyword Difficulty and SERP Analysis Tool – The ultimate tool in determining the competitiveness of your keywords.
  • SEMRush – Allows you to see the keywords that your competitors are using.

On-Page SEO
Although on-page SEO elements have not changed much in the past few years, it is still important to generate high-quality, unique, and relevant content for your website in order to keep viewers on your site pages longer. Having hefty web content of 2000+ words can help. Ways to optimize the content within your webpage include: 1. Having an active and relevant blog (i.e. the blog you are reading right now) and 2. Focusing on topics within your pages rather than targeting only one or two key words.

In order to ensure that Google and your readers know what your website content consists of, it is important to incorporate keywords into your:

  • Content (at least 3-4 times)
  • Alternate image tags (where applicable)
  • Header tags
  • Title tags
  • URLs

Mobile SEO
Mobile is the new it-girl for 2014. If you have not optimized your site for mobile SEO, you should make it your top priority. Ensuring that all of the elements of your website are mobile-friendly will increase your SEO ranking because it allows people to access your website anytime and anywhere from the convenience of their mobile devices.

Also, consider the heightened use of voice search on mobile. Mobile users are more likely to search, “Where is the nearest grocery store?” instead of “Grocery store San Diego.”

Finally, your mobile page needs to load in 1 hot second, so don’t inundate your mobile page with too much bandwidth-heavy content.

Google Authorship
Linking your Google+ profile to all of your generated content allows you to claim “ownership” of the content you are publishing. The ownership you place on your generated content increases your Author Rank, which can then influence the value of the content you produce.

You may be asking yourself, “How will this affect my backlinking efforts?” Google claims that the SEO importance of your “un-owned” content will not be affected for several years. But, it is a good idea to begin your Google+ profile now to increase your Author Rank for the future.

Link Building & Content
At Incitrio, we know first-hand that producing relevant, high-quality links to your website can be very time consuming, but it can also be very rewarding (in terms of SEO). Guest blogging has a rather sordid past, but, if used correctly, can be effective in driving appropriate traffic to your website.

Links to your website are the single most important element in Google’s search ranking algorithm. It is important to drive viewers to your site that would find the content useful. If you are guest blogging on a Republican site, but your links are driving traffic to a Democratic site, you are not only wasting your time and the reader’s time, but you are potentially hurting your SEO ranking as well.

Appropriate content generation and link building are the core of successful SEO. Simply put, don’t try to be something you’re not, and don’t pull the wool over reader’s eyes in an attempt to drive traffic to your site. Do your research, determine appropriate keywords, and drive traffic to your site through relevant guest blogging and content generation.

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