Last updated on February 28th, 2019
Happy 2014 everyone! We survived the holidays a now we’re back to sifting through the SEO news and sharing our most interesting finds. Before we get back to the regular news next week, we have to acknowledge what every SEO and online marketing outlet writes about each December and January: predictions!
It’s a natural topic as we enter a new year, and it’s also natural that a lot of the predictions we see are pretty similar. Great minds think alike, so it’s not surprising we’d see trends here. Let’s take a look at the prediction articles by topic and see what the industry as a whole is saying about SEO and online marketing in 2014.
Link Building Becomes Relationship Building:
I’m starting with this one because it’s a big deal, and there’s some big news related to the topic, but also because it’s my personal prediction. As this article discusses, link building as we’ve known it is dead, and for yet another indicator of this transition, now Matt Cutts has declared guest blogging dead on his personal blog.
The shift from link building to relationship building has been going on for a while now, and it’s a good thing, even if it’s being forced by spammy marketers trying to game the system. As Cutts points out in an addendum to his post, there are still valid uses for guest posting. It’s just that – like with so many other tactics over the years – Google’s algorithms are getting better and better at separating a meaningful effort from a spammy one.
Most of us already ask ourselves how we’re benefiting the client with our link/relationship building efforts, but if you want to stay off of Google’s spam radar you have to ask yourself an additional question: How is this benefiting the end user who will view this content?
If it doesn’t benefit the audience – if it’s thin, generic, repetitive or phoned-in content with no real value and no purpose other than a link – it won’t benefit your client much, either.
Quality Content – Still a Big Deal:
As we see every year, lots of sources are predicting a greater emphasis on quality content. This is absolutely correct, but we’d go even further and say that the only truly successful online marketers at this point are those who are already focused on the quality of their content.
As one marketer points out in this nice compilation of predictions, if you’re already working with the right SEO priorities in mind your methods really won’t change that much from update to update. Pulling up the best content is and always has been the purpose of search engines. The only real change is that it’s getting harder to circumvent that purpose.
Google Authorship is Major . . . Or Not . . . Depending on Who You Ask and What Week it Is:
Part of what makes our industry so consistently fascinating and challenging is the speed at which things change, and what’s happened with Google Authorship over the past weeks is a great example of how you need to be as dynamic as possible to stay on top of the world of search.
Just a few weeks ago, everyone was predicting 2014 as the year of authorship and author rank. Then, just days after these prediction posts went live, Google announced a reduction in rich snippets and overall changes to its authorship algorithms.
That’s not to say that authorship isn’t still important – particularly if you’re one of the lucky authors who made it through this first update relatively unscathed, or even saw your articles bumped up on the page. But, just as with every other tactic we use as search marketers, you gain a lot more by focusing on the quality of your content than you do by throwing everything against the wall and hoping something sticks.
We’ll be back with the regular news next week. In the meantime let us know if you write or read something worth sharing, and to those in the wintry parts of the world right now, stay warm out there!