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Very Learnable Google SEO for Ranking Factors 2014
The best practices associated with these trends:
Link building & Content Strategy
Although much has changed over the past year when it comes to SEO, the principles of keyword research have remained relatively stable. So, which keyword tools and resources are still current and relevant in 2014?
Following are some of the best keyword research tools available in 2014. Keep in mind that while not all of them are free, all offer a limited-time free trial so you can at least test them out before buying.
Google Keyword Planner – For basic keyword research, nothing beats the Keyword Planner. Use this tool to find keyword suggestions, search volume and level of competition.
Ubersuggest – Plug in your topic or keyword, and this tool will give you access to reams of related keywords and phrases you can target.
Wordtracker Keyword Tool – Generates keyword suggestions, measures competition, and even helps you with writing optimized content.
On-page SEO elements, fortunately, haven’t changed much over the past year or two. Your goal should still be to produce high-quality, unique content that meets the needs and expectations of your audience.
To ensure that both your readers and Google know what your content is about, be sure to include your keywords in your:
Alt image tags (where relevant)
Content – Generally at least 3-4 times within your content.
Other important on-page SEO factors include:
Focusing on long form, more ‘meaty’ content in the 1000-2000+ word range.
Targeting topics rather than keywords – Crafting your page around a particular topic or theme rather than on 1 or 2 keywords.
If you haven’t already optimized your website for mobile, this should be your #1 priority this year when it comes to SEO. As Google seeks to keep up with the rise in voice search due to high mobile usage, your website and your content must be optimized with this in mind.
Some elements to consider include:
Ensuring you have a responsive or dedicated mobile site.
Ensuring all elements of your site are mobile-friendly.
Tailoring your content to readers who are ‘on the go’: meaning an emphasis on readily available, actionable information.
Factoring in the rise in voice search queries: for instance, hands-free users are more likely to query “Where is the nearest gas station” rather than “gas station San Francisco”.
Making use of a ‘click to call’ feature.
Keeping in mind the differences in user intent between mobile and desktop users.
Making sure your mobile content loads quickly. Google would like to see mobile pages loading in around 1 second.
Setting up Google Authorship isn’t difficult, and should no longer be considered optional. By linking your Google+ profile with all the content you produce, you claim ‘ownership’ of all your content, thereby increasing your Author Rank, which is a theoretical value determined by the quality and quantity of the content you produce, as well as which publishers publish your content.
In a Google Webmaster video published on May 5th, Matt Cutts addressed the question “Will backlinks lose their importance in ranking?” The short answer is “not for at least several years,” but Cutts did hint that Google Authorship will play a larger role in the ranking algorithm in years to come. “If we could be able to tell, Danny Sullivan wrote this article, or Vanessa Fox wrote this article, that would help us understand, this is something where it’s an expert in this particular field.” The way Google can tell that is via Google Authorship.
Authorship is also useful for increasing click-through rates when your content shows up in search engine results pages, because your name and headshot appear next to your content, as shown in the screenshot below. This builds your personal brand, and extends the reach of your content.
Building high-quality, relevant links to your website is one of the most time-consuming elements of SEO, but also one of the most rewarding. Links are the most important factor in the search ranking algorithm, and one of the most effective ways to build inbound links is through guest blogging, which I covered extensively in my article, “The Ultimate, Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your Business by Guest Blogging.”
Guest blogging has gotten a black eye since Cutts condemned it as “dead” on his personal blog. The reality, though, is that what Cutts condemned poor, low-quality guest blogging treated as a reincarnation of the once-popular tactic of article marketing. Real, legitimate guest blogging has many benefits apart from SEO, including:
Building and improving your Author Rank
Aligning your brand with industry leaders
Creating strong social signals
Generating leads and traffic to your site
Building awareness of your brand
Building your personal brand
Building brand authority & credibility
Increasing conversion rates
Some best practices to keep in mind when working on any inbound link building strategy include:
Focus on quality rather than quantity.
Try not to think of it as “building” links, but rather “earning” links by publishing amazing content both on and off your website.
Focus on acquiring links that would benefit your business even if the search engines didn’t exist (i.e. links where the readers will be genuinely interested in your content).
Use Google Webmaster Tools to find out if your link profile could be negatively impacted by low-quality or bad links. If so, use the disavow tool to remove these links.
Ensure that your anchor text isn’t manipulative; this can trigger spam algorithms as Google’s unnatural link detection continues to improve.
When it comes down to it, producing excellent content and promoting it to the best of your ability should still be seen as the gold standard of not just link building, but also SEO as a whole. This is why many experts are touting content strategy as the “new SEO.” Social media has become the great amplifier for content dissemination, making it essential for any content strategy and SEO effort.
SEO is changing; as black-hat tactics are squashed by Google’s algorithm, SEO disciplines are blurring the lines with traditional marketing best practices; and Matt Cutts concurs. In a recent interview, Cutts said, “a lot of SEO has been focused on technical matters and very highly specific ways to configure your website and stuff like that. There are best practices, and you need to make sure you get the basics right, but it is true that a lot of SEO is now circling back around to good old fashioned marketing.”