Every year predictions are made regarding the direction a certain industry is likely to go in the following year. Even SEO experts make such predictions as regards the trends that are likely to become popular in the coming year. Such predictions are important because they help us prepare for the year ahead. Forecasting has always been an essential part of the business process because it helps you stay on top of your game. In this article, we will take a quick look at some of the trends and strategies that are expected to rule SEO in 2014.
Google and Its Competitors
One cannot talk about SEO without talking about Google, especially since anyone who uses the Internet for whatever purpose knows Google and is probably using it to some extent. So, what does 2014 look like for Google? For one thing, it is expected that Google will have stiffer competition and users will start conducting more relevant searches on other sites and platform
s. Here are three of its top competitors:
Hailed as the world’s most popular social networking site, Facebook has partnered with Bing to integrate search into its functionality. This is expected to push Google into doing the opposite – integrating more social elements into its search results pages. This is already being done by the site to some extent, but SEO experts are expecting a truly significant change to be implemented just before the world ushers in 2014.
Apple competes with Google on several fronts, including app stores, browsers, and smart phones. The biggest difference between the two, however, is that Google has always been more about information. Therefore, its competition with Apple probably won’t affect it too much where its function as a search engine is concerned. Although Google is currently running a number of applications, tablets, and phones, its focus is still on information rather than hardware, which is the strength of such companies as Apple and Nokia.
If you’re wondering how Microsoft has become a competitor of Google, then you’re probably unaware of the fact that they’ve entered into Bing-related partnerships with Facebook, Yahoo, and Twitter. At first glance, this may seem like serious competition indeed. However, experts say Bing will have to establish itself as a search engine that the masses can respect before it can present any real competition to Google.
What Google Is Doing
The fact that a good number of users are now straying from Google to more relevant websites has led Google to reengineer their products in an effort to keep their current monopoly on search. One of the products that have been reengineered is Google Maps, a move that is aimed at making Google not just a place where you search for information, but also a site for you to explore. Just as Google subtly “trained” people to search for information online, they’re now making these changes in their products and services to train us into exploring.
What You Should Focus On
Considering the above information, it looks like social media (especially Facebook) poses the biggest threat to Google’s supremacy in the world of SEO. In fact, Google itself has recognized that it has strong competition in social media and has made the necessary adjustments to retain search monopoly. What do all of these developments mean to you? What particular strategies should you focus on as 2014 draws near? Here are a few ideas:
1. Social Media
After reading the information above, is it any wonder why this tops our list? Social media has indeed slowly but surely integrated itself into the heart and soul of SEO. It started out simply as a venue where people can keep in touch. These days, however, it has become an essential tool for online marketing. In 2014, it is expected to extend even further, going way beyond the very popular Facebook and Twitter.
As early as now, you should start becoming more active not just on Facebook and Twitter, but also on Google+, Pinterest, and other social media sites. You should also start looking into niche- or industry-specific social networking sites to see if they can help strengthen your online presence in any way.
2. Mobile Email
Have you noticed how people are increasingly doing things on-the-go? This means people are likelier than ever to open emails the minute they receive them. You’ve probably also noticed that people now use the Internet on mobile devices at least half of the time. Considering this, 2014 will likely see emails being checked on mobile devices a lot more often.
Therefore, you should start making adjustments to your email format as well as to the way you use SEO in your email campaigns so as to make them more compatible with mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. Your email newsletters should be mobile-friendly, you have to make sure the links you send via email all work, and you have to make sure the character count and SEO language you use is compatible not only with desktops, but mobile platforms as well.
3. More Rigorous SEO
When Google implemented one algorithm change after another, there has also been a flurry of crackdowns on websites that use duplicate content, low-quality content, and/or black hat SEO tricks. This trend of search engines striving to ensure that quality gets rewarded with high rankings is expected to continue throughout 2014.
Therefore, you need to make sure that the SEO strategies you use are all aboveboard. Rather than duplicating content, you could create different versions (article, video, infographic, etc.) of every piece of content you publish. Instead of simply stuffing every article with keywords, you should ensure that the right keywords are strategically incorporated into your content such that they still flow with the rest of the content naturally. These are just some of the ways you can ensure that your SEO activities are performed with professionalism and a high level of skill.
As the year 2013 progresses, you can expect more predictions to be made. For now, though, the forecasts and predictions discussed in this article are the ones that have the highest likelihood of actually occurring. The strategies suggested above, therefore, are the ones most worth looking into.