Most people don’t like major changes in their lives or routines. This is the same for search engine optimization (SEO) professionals. Over the past year Google has made some pretty significant updates and changes that force professionals in the SEO industry to change their tactics. If they choose not to then they simply will no longer be successful. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at a few of the changes that have rolled out over the last year and a half that have an affect on search engine rankings.
- Not Provided – This is a major change that nearly all of us in the SEO world hoped would never come. Google decided that they would encrypt all searches using https. So what does this mean for the website owner? Well, you remember that great metric that allowed you to track your traffic from the search engines based upon what keyword the visitor had searched for? It doesn’t exist any longer. There is no longer a way to tell how many visitors found your website by a specific keyword. This filter was a valuable tool in helping website owners determine the success of their keywords.
- More Time Between Page Rank Updates – In 2013 Google updated page rank (PR) – the ranking that shows up in the Google toolbar) in February then didn’t run another update until December of 2013. This is a big deal because Google usually updates page ranks every 2-4 months but the last one took 10 months. This is a substantial difference which leads many people to believe that Google is doing away with Page Rank on their tool bar or the value they placed on it. This is debatable. We believe Page Rank is still a vital factor in ranking.
- In Depth Articles – Currently Google uses this for about 10 percent of daily searches which is a huge number and I expect this number to grow and eventually become part of the SERPs. Not only that. this has become an entirely new metric for you to rank in.
- Not New But Gaining Traction – Neither Google Plus or Google Authorship is a new term but both are picking up steam and don’t be surprised if these 2 things are used more in determining future rankings in the coming year.
It is obvious that what Google is trying to do is to get SEO professionals to stop concentrating so much on things like Page Rank and Keywords primarily because of the manipulation done so frequently to game the system. Below is a list of things that SEO marketers are going to have to conquer in 2014 as they begin to change.
- Semantic SEO – What is semantic SEO? It is simply a strategy that adapts to Google’s new way of thinking about search results. Google no longer wants the focus to be on the use exact keywords or keyword phrases but instead they are tying to shift SEO towards using related terms. Even though this may be a scary thought it is a challenge that you are going to have to overcome. Let me give you an example of how Semantic SEO works so that you can keep this mind moving forward. Imagine doing a Google search for “Cars” Google will pull up things like mechanic shops and automobile rentals. Notice that these search results may not have the specific word “Car” in it but instead pulls up results that are relevant to the search terms. This is especially important as you are writing new content for your website. Optimizing for keywords is no longer going to be how we optimize our website content.
- Co-Citation – You have heard about anchor text and they are still important but you are going to have to change the way you use anchor text. Using HireAWiz as an example, rather than saying, “For more information about web design visit HireAWiz.” you may want to try and use, ” For more information about web design, visit www.hireawiz.com.
- No Keyword Data – I mentioned that Google was no longer offering keyword data by using https to encrypt their searches. Even though this is a thorn in search engine optimization professionals sides there are options. You are still able to use the Adwords keyword planner tool to get an idea about how many people are searching for which terms. Also do not forget about Yahoo and Bing as they are still allowing you to measure keyword rankings. This will give you an idea as to which keywords are preforming for you on Google. Even though their are ways around this I would suggest getting used to the new metrics because Google appears to be changing it’s emphasis on the importance of keywords as there was before.
- Google Plus Synced With YouTube – Even though this was very unpopular and there are plenty of good reasons why people were not happy with this we still need to make the best out of it. If you are unaware about the changes, what it means is that you will no longer be able to comment on a YouTube video unless you are logged into a Google Plus account. Again, even though this may not be popular there is some good that comes from it. You will now be able to start conversations about your videos on Google Plus. It may be a good time start promoting using Google Plus.
It is obvious that Google is making changes in the way that they determine their rankings. We may not like change but change happens all the time in our everyday lives. This may be difficult at first but as we learn to adapt to the new changes you will begin to get used to running SEO campaigns based on the new metrics. I remember when Facebook first updated their website and how many people were furious about it. A few years later and nobody is even mentioning the changes and looking back at the old layout it doesn’t look like anything I would want to go back to.