Search engine optimization (SEO) has undergone more changes than Miley Cyrus’s reputation, and it can be exceedingly difficult to keep up with the trends. Not so long ago, we were instructed to simply build as many links to our websites as possible. Then keyword research became a priority. Then we were told that certain links could harm us rather than help us. Then we were instructed that “content is king.” Now it’s 2014, and Google has shifted its algorithm entirely, forever changing the face of SEO. As the founder of a leading Los Angeles digital agency, I have weathered all of these mercurial changes, and the question I receive most often from clients is: How do I prioritize my SEO strategy?
Prioritizing SEO for 2014
I’m not saying you should forget everything you know about SEO, but I will say that best practices have done a 180-degree shift. There is still a place for link building and anchor text, and you definitely want to make sure that your back end is in order (sitemaps, site speed optimization, 404s, URL structure and all that jazz), but the very process by which Web surfers search for goods and services is evolving, and so is the SEO landscape along with it. No two websites are exactly alike, and your optimal strategy will depend on your market and your current rankings, but here are some general fundamentals that every website should be prioritizing from here on out:
Optimizing for Mobile. Is your site optimized for tablets and smartphones? Mobile search is projected to surpass desktop search within the next two years, and if your site isn’t equipped to meet the demand, it will negatively impact your rankings and your conversions. Now is the time to invest in a responsive design that automatically optimizes your website for all screen sizes and dimensions. You’ll also want to minimize your redirects (as this slows the page speed by .6 seconds on a mobile device) and your use of pop-ups. If you are unequipped with the technical skills the achieve this, consider hiring a Los Angeles digital agency that can guide you through the process.
Getting Social. The digital marketing service eMarketer reports that social media use is expected to reach 2.55 billion people by 2017, but it’s not enough to simply be active on social media. Now is the time start using social media to your advantage; link your Google+ account to your website for verified authorship, build your circles and be sure that all of your social media profiles are seamlessly integrated into your website for maximum exposure and SEO benefit.
Breaking Down the Semantics. Semantic search is an emerging term in the world of SEO, as it accounts for the evolving manner in which keywords are processed. Before the days of Siri and speech recognition, Web users favored simple search queries, like “San Francisco dog parks,” but now that people are speaking directly into their mobile devices, we’re seeing more searches like, “Find me a dog park in San Francisco.” As a result, Google is optimizing its crawlers to look for the intent behind searches, rather than just the words themselves. Focus less on simple keywords, and more on creating rich, subject-relevant content with diversified keyword usage, social media integration and semantic markup.
Get an SEO Team on Your Side
If this sounds overwhelming, I understand. Hiring a qualified SEO team may be the most profitable decision you ever make for your business. The landscape is evolving like never before, and a professional helping hand can give you an instant competitive edge. As previously mentioned, I run a leading Los Angles digital agency, and we help businesses large and small to achieve the superior SEO value and rankings that they just can’t seem to break on their own. Call our Los Angeles digital agency for a free quote at (877) 989-7187, and we’ll show you how we can help you turn your struggles into victories.