Keeping up with SEO news

SEO is constantly changing and whilst we often hear that ‘SEO is dead’ this in fact could not be further from the truth, SEO is not dead and will be as relevant tomorrow as it was yesterday. It is all about doing it properly and understanding that it is all about the long haul and not instant results. Like anything worth doing, it takes time to nurture and develop and this is where some websites have fallen foul of Google’s algorithms because they have tried shortcuts or have used poor quality content or even linked to irrelevant or poor quality sites. Those who have not been penalised will have made use of good quality content and have backlinks to relevant high quality sites. The thing to remember with good SEO practice is that there are no quick fix shortcuts.

Nothing ever remains the same way for long in the world of SEO. The experts at Moz report that Google typically updates their algorithm between 500-600 times each year! While most of these tweaks go unnoticed, we’ve recently weathered an abundance of rewrites and changes that could affect how your company approaches your content marketing strategy. To help you stay informed about the ever-changing inbound marketing landscape, here are 7 pieces of critically-important SEO news:

1. Google is Tough on Repeat Offenders

One of the most fascinating and little-known areas of SEO news is Google penalties. When websites break Google’s webmaster guidelines with outdated tactics like buying links, they’re typically caught. The search engine responds with an official spam warning, and may eventually ban some websites from appearing in search results. Recovering from these issues can take months of hard work.

Google’s head spam fighter, Matt Cutts, recently revealed in a Q & A session that it’s much harder to come back and rank well after a second or third penalty. In fact, his recommendation for websites who are trying to improve their SEO after past use of purchase links to use the disavow tool to wipe their backlinks completely. If you’re unaffected, take this as evidence that it’s crucial to be pay attention to SEO news and avoid breaking any rules.

2. Rich Snippets Could Be Rolled Out Soon

The author photos which appear next to search results once you’ve earned Google authorship are a form of rich snippet. However, it appears the world’s biggest search engine is considering leveling the playing field. SEO News reporter Matt Southern shared that Google is currently testing the idea of including embedded images in search results, which are visible with certain searches:

Read more at http://www.business2community.com/seo/7-breaking-seo-news-updates-will-take-business-new-heights-0714317#Kq6SV0EdLVSkYhq2.99

Further reading

36 powerful link building strategies to boost SEO

5 points to remember with mobile SEO

Is SEO Dead? I Think Not…

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION AND 2014

There is on the web today a constant stream of statements, all saying the same thing; ‘SEO is Dead’ often then adding ‘and here’s why’. Many then go on to say how their software or methods are the ones to use / follow.

To me, I have to ask what they think has taken the place of traditional Search Engine Optimisation?

The answer to this is in most instances ‘Content Marketing’

So what is ‘Content Marketing’?

The explanation in Wikipedia is:-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_marketing

“Content marketing is any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers. This information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, etc.

Content marketing is focused not on selling, but on simply communicating with customers and prospects. The idea is to inspire business and loyalty from buyers by delivering ‘consistent, ongoing valuable information’ .”

It is not new either, the same Wikipedia page stating that it all started in 1895 when John Deere launched a magazine which was aimed at making farmers more profitable.

The explanation says it all really, but does not cover the important area (one heavily pushed by some Content Marketeers), this being that this same content, and the comments it generates influences the Search Engines (especially Google) when they are making decisions about what sites to rank for a particular search term.

In my view this ‘influencing’ action is just SEO in another form, but it [Content Marketing] is not the only weapon that must be used.

The Parts of SEO in 2014

As with SEO in the past, there are three areas that need addressing:-

  1. On Page optimisation (the words on the page)
  2. Off Page optimisation (the links to a site)
  3. Social Media optimisation (people talking about a site / brand)

It is obvious that Content Marketing is concentrating on (3), however the shared content, which is at the heart of the process, will, without doubt, create many links to the site being promoted. Thus, especially when the content is posted on relevant or high profile sites, Content Marketing will also produce the ‘old style’ SEO effect of an improved linking structure, something that the Search Engines still, I feel at least, take positively into account.

However, just posting content around the web will not in many cases be enough, steps must be taken to ‘light the fuse’ in order to ensure that people find it and can thus comment on it, this creating the Social Buzz that is the main reason for Content Marketing, at least in its purest form.

The above is carried out by the placement of ‘pointers’ to the content, both by old fashioned linking and also by Social Media commenting on profiles owned by the site being promoted (although this fact may in many cases be hidden), as well as where possible as comments on other peoples Social Media accounts.

All of the above, whilst not being carried out solely to influence Google, is in my view SEO and hence I feel quite confident in saying that Content Marketing is still SEO, it just goes about it in a different way.

The Old Fashioned Areas Must Not Be Forgotten

That is not to say that the old areas of SEO can be ignored. In my view links are still useful in the rankings war, just that they cannot be relied upon as was the case not too long ago.

On Page SEO has however been subject to a great deal of change in 2013. No longer do the page areas of Titles, Header tags and Keyword Density hold the key to success, at least not in my view as there is a new kid in town, and that is called ‘Semantics’.

Semantic Coding – The New Meta Keyword?

As stated on http://www.business2community.com/seo/semantic-markup-adding-context-seo-0648559#!pZYlC Semantic coding ‘is a collection of shared vocabularies webmasters can use to mark up their pages in ways that can be understood by the major search engines: Google, Microsoft, Yandex and Yahoo!’

This allows site owners to add information to the HTML content on the pages, which enables the site to better ‘explain’ what it is all about, it, in my view being the new (much improved) version of the old, now useless Meta Keyword area.

The example below (also included in the page above) shows how a page’s code can be improved from:-

semantic 1

To:-semantic 2

 

The above code, by the use of ‘itemscopes’ and ‘itemprops’ gives a lot more information, telling the visiting Search Engine that the page is about a movie called ‘Avatar’ that is of the Science Fiction genre, and was directed by James Cameron (it even gives his birthday).

All of this is very useful indeed, as today Google ‘understands’ that such things are interconnected and thus when you re-enforce this fact there is a better possibility of getting a rank, it is all as simple as that. All you have to do is to provide the information.

Semantic Markup can also be used to cover Testimonials, Offers and People (not Authors), there is even a way you can include a section known as a Recipes that directly (or at least as directly as you can) influence the Search Engine Ranking Positions.

SEO 2014 a Combination of the Old and the New.

SEO in 2014 (whatever it is called) will therefore be a combination of the old areas of ‘On Page Optimisation’ (with changes to include Semantic coding) and Linking which will include getting links from postings of Content Marketing.

These two will be combined with Content Marketing of course, which is basically the creation of useful (unique) content that is then posted in various formats on a large number of sites. This content, as previously mentioned then being ‘mentioned’ in order to ensure that is found and commented on, this producing the required Social Media buzz and in some cases links.

Using video to improve your SEO

Video can be very useful in helping your SEO, however, it is important to know what you want to achieve from it, for instance do you want to use it for targeting keywords or for link building or for something else. Do you want to use it to drive more traffic to your website or do you just want maximum exposure on social media? Video can really help your SEO because Google particularly likes the length of time that viewers remain on the link that they have clicked in order to watch the video, as a general rule of thumb, short stays can indicate lower quality whereas longer stays can imply higher quality content. Using informational videos rather than sales videos can actually help your product pages improve their rankings on Google. At the moment, there is more chance of appearing on the first page of Google with a video than without because there is less competition in this area so it could be a very smart move particularly if you are in a popular sector and want a higher profile.

 

As most search engine optimization (SEO) experts are aware, getting a first-page Google result is harder than ever. Not only do Google’s search and indexing algorithms continue to evolve in complexity, but Google has given over more and more of its search results real estate to “blended” search results, displaying videos and images towards the top of the first page, and pushing down—and sometimes off the page—traditional web results that would have otherwise competed for top rankings.

But where problems arise, so do opportunities. Although Google’s newfound enthusiasm for video has created more competition for fewer traditional search results, it has enabled sites with video assets—even sites that would otherwise score poorly in the Google index—to successfully achieve first-page rankings. In fact, Forrester Research found that videos were 53 times more likely than traditional web pages to receive an organic first-page ranking.

Here’s what a blended search result looks like for the search query “777 built in 4 minutes“:

Those images at the top of the search results are video thumbnails, and today, there’s only two ways to get there:

1. Upload your video to YouTube.

The advantage of this is that you are 100% certain to be indexed into Google’s search engine. This does not guarantee you’ll get a first-page result, but at least it ensures that Google knows your content exists.

The drawback, of course, is that anyone who clicks on a YouTube result will be taken to YouTube, which may be fine if your goal is branding (i.e., you only care that people watch your video). If your goal is driving traffic, as is typically the case with SEO, this won’t be a successful strategy.

Your other alternative is:

2. Video SEO

Video SEO is a set of techniques designed to make sure that:

  • Google finds your video content
  • Google successfully indexes your video content
  • Google will display your video content when specific keywords are entered as search terms

Here’s how to make it work:

You Need Video Content

Google is fairly flexible in what it considers to be video content. You can use actual video footage, but screen captures, slide shows, animated PowerPoint slides, and other content will work just as well. Google can’t actually “see” what’s inside the video content, so it relies on title and other meta-data to determine what content your video actually contains. Click here to continue

Further reading

Building a video SEO strategy

The secret guide to video and SEO

Driving traffic to your blog

If you have a blog, you will probably want to drive more traffic to it. There are now more opportunities than ever to enable you to do this, that does not mean that it is easy but it is something that is definitely worth while investing the time and effort to do. It is important to find ways that suit you and that will lead the right audience to your blog so that those who are really interested in what you have to say get the chance to see, enjoy and perhaps leave comments. This sort of interaction is key to running a successful blog site and all the most popular blogs have many followers who interact regularly with the author and other visitors.

If you want to attract a strong readership for your blog, it’s obvious that you need to create great content. But that’s not sufficient: amazing content that doesn’t get read might as well not exist. To build a thriving blog, you also need to learn to drive traffic to it.

So what methods do the experts use? We’ve compiled a list of 13 tried and true ways to build your audience.

  1. Incorporate social influencers into your blog posts (where relevant). Writing about, say, social media? If you cite a prominent example like Gary Vaynerchuk, it’s a win-win: your post has more credibility because you’ve cited a specific example, and the thought leader in question may be inclined to promote the blog among his or her communities, since it mentions them favorably. Same goes for any niche community, whether you’re citing socially-savvy surfers or sushi chefs.

  2. Add a link to your latest article in your Twitter bio and ask for retweets. Use your Twitter “real estate” by linking to your latest article in your Twitter bio. You can also drive social sharing by specifically asking others to retweet it. (If you create huge amounts of content, you can’t do this all the time, but it’s powerful when used sparingly.) Indeed, a study by Social Bakers of thousands of brands on Twitter found that users who asked their followers to “RT” their tweet received 73.48 average retweets per tweet. Compare that with just 2.09 retweets for those without a call-to-action.

  3. Send your article out in a blast email or newsletter to your contacts. If you have an e-newsletter (and it’s still one of the most powerful marketing tools today), include links to your blog posts. Your subscribers already like what you do; this nudge can remind them to check out your blog. Click here to continue reading

Further reading

How to promote and drive traffic to your blog

10 ways to increase your business blog traffic