7 Things that Changed in SEO in 2014
With its Panda, Penguin and Pigeon updates in 2014, Google adopted a very animated approach to the manner in which it looked at SEO. This year, there truly have been a number of updates that will impact content marketing results.
In Evolve Mode
The simple fact is that Google is evolving and all these changes are aimed at helping users find information faster. Take a look at 7 major things that changed in SEO in 2014:
At August-end Google bid adieu to the 3-year Authorship experiment it had been conducting & it officially discontinued processing all rel=author data. The company stated that Authorship had not proved to be as helpful to online marketers as it had hoped. But SEO professionals are still wondering what really caused Google to axe this function.
It’s a little confusing because Google continues to tout the value of excellent content from credible writers- so this trend will have to be tracked right into 2015. The search engine also continued with its semantic search excellence with less links and more answers.
When Google launched its Panda and Penguin algorithm updates, the message the company was sending out to marketing professionals and webmasters was clear- that it will not tolerate any trickery and that it will not accept low-quality content in search results. The only option businesses are left with to achieve visibility on the search results is to ensure they now post quality content.
InfoCards without any hyperlinks gained prominence & the YouTube videos began showing up as rich snippets. Google also announced that they have added a new SEO factor- HTTPS encryption!
Google launched “Explore”, the new Google-Maps tool which adds prominence to local search results. When businesses are selling out of brick-and-mortar stores, they have to focus on local SEO in addition to competing for a range of geo-specific search terms. With this launch, Google+ has now walked into the limelight
Today, Google is more than just a simple search engine. No doubt it continues to serve that particular function but it has now emerged as a front-runner in data-oriented and consumer-facing projects. One example is how Knowledge Graph attempts to identify what the searchers want, supply the information quickly & anticipate next questions.
Location-based searches are in and all of them will be sprinkled with addition of relevant information such as maps and reviews. Paid ads now hold top-spots in the rankings & organic searches are on the lower rungs of the search ladder
Links are still key factors, but the reasons for that have changed. Currently, the general belief is that the quality & quantity of inbound links to a particular domain & the individual pages on a site are the key factors in the ranking-algorithm. It seems like the search engine is tweaking its algorithms in order to reduce the weightage of inbound links.
Though it seems like inbound links will become less-relevant for SEO purposes, they will continue to be in important part of a company’s online marketing campaign. A large percentage of users visit a website via links from blogs or social media sites
Google Now gained prominence and it is much more than just a mobile voice-search function that is competing with Apple’s SIRI. The former pulls its answers from Geo-location, preferences and search history & from recent-activity on various Google products & other places. SEO professionals have to ensure that the strategies they use are relevant and that the sites are optimized for mobile
SEO Spotlight on Quality
The fact is that SEO can be a game-changer for any business, but it has to be planned and strategized well; that is the only way a company will be able to make an impression in the online marketing space. Most of the changes that Google has made to SEO in 2014 encourage quality-content publication and the trend focuses on quality & branding, instead of manipulation and trickery. Online marketing professionals will have to unlearn and learn a few things about SEO and provide their clients with solutions that provide results.
Thanks for reading,