Search Engine Optimization (SEO): What We Learned In 2014

Zach Mettra

Zach Mettra

Founder & Creative Director

bright oak seo robots vs readers

SEO continues to be the biggest “buzz word” among online businesses and marketers alike because it is the single most effective way for us to make a website easy for readers to find and search engine robots to understand. But SEO techniques took on a new shape in 2014 (especially in local SEO), in an effort to appease both robots and readers. Because robots and real people interpret the information on each page of a website differently, it has become increasingly important for us to cater to both parties in order to optimize online marketing success.

Gone are the days when popular search engines simply referred readers to website content based solely on the keywords that were tapped into a search tool. Yes, keyword research and implementation is still important, but it’s not even close to the only important focus. 2014 brought about quite a few SEO industry changes. Here are the highlights:

Authority Makes a Difference: Robots vs. Readers

local seo robots vs. readers

Building online authority has become increasingly important as the competition continues to get tighter in virtually every niche conceivable. Readers look for expert tips, tricks, and guidance on the topics they are interested in—they don’t have an interest in reading vague pieces of content without any backbone. Building authority within content creates that backbone, and we can do this in several ways, including:

  • Learning about the target audience and focusing on their specific needs.
  • Writing bylined guest blog posts for top industry websites.
  • Creating content centered around one specific niche or topic.
  • Implementing information about industry updates in a timely manner.

Search engine robots also necessitate that we create authority. They take a look at how a website is perceived by readers when determining how useful that website may be overall.

On-Page SEO is Still Essential

Some might say that on-page SEO is dead, but that can’t be further from the truth. It is still as important as ever for us to tell search engine robots about the content of a website through on-page search engine optimization. Topic keywords should be used within the:

  • Webpage URLs.
  • Title tags.
  • Image and heading tags.

It’s also helpful to use keywords a couple of times within the actual content of any given page, too. However, instead of building a page around a specific long-tail keyword, it’s become important to build pages around a keyword topic or theme. This allows us to organically implement multiple keyword phrases and ideas within a given page, offering us the opportunity to gain attention from a variety of search sources.

Link-Building is a Must

Link building took a big hit in recent years because of the way the technique was being used. However, link building is still a viable tool that can make a huge difference in the popularity and SEO effectiveness of any given website. Effective link building techniques include:

  • Contributing to related websites that provide quality link opportunities.
  • Setting up partner link agreements with similar websites.
  • Creating a strong social media presence for followers to link to.

Creating content that is both engaging and relevant is enough in itself to build effective backlinks for any website. There are virtually endless ways to build backlinks; what’s most important is relevancy and quality when link sources are chosen.

A Quick Look Ahead to SEO in 2015

Most SEO techniques that we implemented in 2014 are set to make their way into 2015 and beyond, but new opportunities, techniques, and focuses are to be expected. For example, mobile web users are slated to surpass desktop users in 2015, so mobile SEO is sure to be a huge factor for the industry. Mobile users tend to focus on more localized results, so we can expect that Google and others will keep this in mind when ranking mobile content for their search engines.

Content marketing is also slated to be an even bigger player in 2015 than it currently is with user engagement, relevancy, and value being the main focus. Through content marketing, readers want to feel that the information they get is tailored to their specific needs in one way or another.

Looking forward, search engine optimization goes far beyond keyword use and search engine placement. Making a valid connection with the end user needs to be our ultimate goal.

 

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