What’s on your marketing wish list this year?
If you want your website to rank high on Google search, I want you to keep something in mind:
Google is a business.
Google’s customers are information-hungry web users. In order to keep business growing and customers coming back again and again, Google must supply the best (tastiest?) information. The freshest. The most relevant to whatever request (no matter how absurd or concise) is typed in the search bar. And guess who’s going to help Google stay number 1?
Specifically, your website. If your website gives Google something valuable to deliver to its customers, you’re winning. The more trustworthy, engaging and all-around useful and awesome your website is, the more seniority (rankings) you are likely to earn. We’re talking golden-child status here. The boss’s pet employee. The Mr. Smee to Google’s Captain Hook.
And so while Google changes its algorithm (magic-formula-of-tactics-to-boost-rankings) around five hundred times per year, all the madness boils down to Google = business. Help Google be a successful business, and you can’t go wrong.
From this perspective, the rules are simple: provide relevant, useful information on your website, and make it easy to consume and find. Or:
Make the content.
Display the content on your website for mobile and desktop users alike.
Share the content on social media and other relevant websites.
Content, mobile compatibility, and social shares, people. These are the best practices for SEO in 2014. Ready to dig into ‘em with me?
Let’s get real about what content actually, really is.
OK wait, that’s harder to explain than it sounds. Hard enough for online marketer Lee Odden enlisted the help of more than forty experts to develop some semblance of a definition for content.
So yeah, content is many things, but fundamentally, it’s information.
It takes many forms, including:
Why does Google love content?
Content answers questions. Content entertains. Content embodies the information we seek and consume online. There’s tons of it (90% of the world’s data has been produced in the last two years, reports Science Daily), and platforms like Google offer some semblance of order for accessing it.
Step one for SEO in 2014 and beyond: produce quality content for your website.
Need help? Talk to us.
Content creation as an SEO strategy is no big secret. Ahem, content is king, right? In fact, it’s so widely regarded as a means to top the search engines that Google is constantly modifying the criteria for SEO-worthy content. The latest tweak involves social shares.
A social share is earned on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. It happens when a social account user “shares” a link on his or her profile to a piece of content somewhere else on the web.
Examples of social shares include:
- A tweet on Twitter that includes a link to a new blog article on your website.
- A post on Facebook that encourages friends to check out your latest offerings, with a link to your website.
- A pin on Pinterest with an image from your website which links to a page with an infographic.
“Social signals are now the fastest-rising search engine ranking factor, and business owners that fail to recognize this will be left in the dust by their competitors that do,” says Forbes contributor Jayson DeMers.
Why does Google love social shares?
Social shares signify quality content.
Consider this: if you were going to post a link to an article on your Facebook page, you likely wouldn’t pick some old refrigerator manual. You are more likely to share something interesting, hilarious, thought provoking, well written, life changing, beneficial to your friends and family, bottom line: quality.
A piece of content blasted out to the world on Twitter, “Liked” on Facebook, or pinned on Pinterest tells Google, “Hey, look at me! People think I’m awesome! I am a delightful piece of content and real, live humans agree!”
To which Google looks back and says, “Hmmm. Cool. You’re legit. Very cool.” With your social shares, you’re collecting Google brownie points. How legit of you.
And while you’re at it, social shares offer other benefits, too:
- Community building (ex: Facebook groups, social events)
- Brand awareness
- Campaign strengthening (ex: Instagram photo contests)
- Customer service portal (ex: responding to complaints and feedback on Twitter)
Is your business active on social media? No matter how involved you are now, a conversation with us could help solidify a strategy for more social shares.
Microsoft announced that at some point this year mobile Internet users will outpace the number of desktop users.
That means more people are coming to your website via smart phone and tablet. It better look dang good when they get there.
If your website is not mobile compatible, it could be challenging for users to access your content. And as we know, Google likes to deliver fresh, easy-to-consume content. To ignore mobile is to set up a big, ugly barrier in your relationship with Google, and customers both existing and prospective.
Responsive design is the practice of making a website flexible to fit across screens. From the desktop to the iPhone, a responsive design resizes for optimum functionality. It helps your web content look good everywhere.
There are other options: mobile websites and mobile applications, for instance. Unsure? Have a chat with a web designer before choosing the best solution for your needs.
SEO in 2014: Hardcore?
Summarizing the best practices for getting to the top of Google in 2014 in a blog post leaves tons of room for change. The Google algorithm is in a constant state of flux, with updates and upgrades happening almost weekly. Despite the spikes and trends, if we stick to a couple core philosophies to guide our SEO efforts this year, we can tackle any changes that come our way. So:
-Create great, shareable content.
-Make it easy to find and consume from any device.
Have any questions about getting your website noticed by Google? Share in the comment section below or shoot us an email.