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Ch-Ch-Changes (in Organic Search)

March 4, 2014 By Robert Gilbreath
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By now, you've likely broken some New Year's resolutions. What else was on your list this year? Eating better, exercising and reading more might be great goals, but the one you made about creating a search engine optimization (SEO) plan actually needs to happen. Even if you had a solid 2013 on the SEO front (despite the various Google changes), there's no better time to briefly review what SEO can mean to your business and take a peek at some 2014 trends.

It's typically agreed upon that SEO isn't the most highly understood marketing medium. Understandable SEO stats are:

  • 70 percent of links that search users click on are organic results.
  • 70 percent to 80 percent of search users ignore paid search ads.
  • 75 percent of search users are not clicking past the first page of search results.
  • Organic search traffic produces 25 percent higher conversion rates than traffic driven by equivalent paid search traffic.

Those stats shouldn't be scary to you if you have been employing proper—and not black-hat—SEO practices. Those stats should give you more reason or a reminder of your need to stay ahead of the SEO curve. A good way to do is be to review your SEO plan against the following five trends for 2014:

1. Animal House
Three creatures may guide you in 2014. Google's Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird algorithm updates may have been painful to you, or you heard horror stories, but they gave us some great takeaways that should be used to your advantage in 2014: Publish high-quality content that you know your target market is looking for and wants to consume. Publish this content often.

High-quality content also means writing in a natural, friendly manner and thinking about how your content is answering readers' questions. Continue thinking about high quality as you build inbound links. It's always safest to have inbound links from reputable sites, influential bloggers and key partners. High-quality inbound links should stand up to whatever changes Google makes, for years to come.

2. Be Responsive
Responsive design may be key to holding your SEO ground in 2014. "Google has made it very clear with their latest guidance on responsive design, mobile SERPs and similar topics that mobile is their focus heading into 2014," says Tommy Landry, president of Return On Now, an Austin-based Internet marketing consulting services firm. "Mobile browsing is poised to bypass desktop in volume within the next six to 18 months, and so this is no laughing matter."

 

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