According to the GE Capital Retail Bank’s second annual Major Purchase Shopper Study, 81% of us are looking to the internet to aid with purchasing decisions. For retail businesses especially, the run up to Christmas is one which sees fierce competition and every company needs to find an advantage in order to stay ahead of the game. Want your website listed on the first page of first results?
The way to do it is with SEO (Search Engine Optimization). However, for a guaranteed hit the SEO needs to be organic – known as the ‘white hat’ technique. This is hugely important because over 80% of internet users will not click on sponsored search engine results – the highlighted ads at the top and right hand side of the screen for those not running an ad block.
Last year saw major changes to the normal approach for SEO, leaving the question for many of us being: What can we expect over the next 12 months?
To answer this correctly, several avenues need to be explored. We need to look at experts analysis, Google’s employees opinions and the gradual updates we saw throughout the previous 12 months, to make a decent projection on what needs to be done this year for the most effective SEO strategy.
The changes we saw last year
The major changes throughout 2013 were due to Google algorithm updates. The, now year old established (and two year anticipated) ‘Webspam Algorithm’ was already having a significant impact on the SEO world, to the extent that this new update required an official name: Penguin 2.0 in May 2013, followed that October by the Penguin 2.1 update. Penguin was introduced to de-rank, remove and block those repeatedly violating Google’s webmaster guidelines, particularly cracking down on spamming and Black Hat SEO. Also included were sites who were using manipulative techniques to increase their rankings. This update affected many, not only those who were bending the rules but there were also many innocent casualties in the wake of the Penguin algorithm updates.
However the biggest, and most significant, update that Google has tackled in years also came in 2013 (August) and was a immense algorithm overhaul with the memorable, sweet (and keeping in line with the animalistic Panda and Penguin titles), revolutionary aid named: Hummingbird – actually named this for it’s fast and precise nature and to coincide with other components to make the perfect recipe for more accurate search results.
Getting prepared for the man in red!
Christmas is a busy time for all. For those with blogs, websites and online stores, this is the time you want – and need – to be seen by potential consumers. A prediction by Microsoft states that during 2014, the number of people using mobile internet will overtake those using a desktop computer. This means that the need has never been greater to have your website compatible with mobile devices. The internet has undergone a huge re-architecture an
d websites have increased their personalised experiences, as a result of the high number of mobile users. Websites need to make their content appear in smaller forms, read better and be re-aggregated to suit the mobile devices of today.
Aside from making your mobile site look and read well, people still need to be able to search it and this is why SEO remains as important as for desktop versions.
Here’s the top tips for Mobile SEO Practises of 2014:
- Make the most of mobile – utilise the devices unique abilities to serve viewers
- Recognise the difference – mobile users search differently than PC users, take this into account with your keywords
- Incorporate social media – a follow, like or share option is almost mandatory
- Make it snappy – mobile users are even less patient than those on a desktop, studies suggest waiting more than 3 seconds for a site to load on a mobile is too long. Avoid large images, videos and masses of content to increase loading time.
Your sites seo content
The cornerstone for any successful website is to have an SEO content development strategy. On page content which is of the highest quality needs to be the result of in-depth research and written in a style which makes for interesting and genuine reader engagement. Your content must be easy to read and engaging whilst including the fundamental aspects of your services and/or products. The best way to cultivate longevity and visibility online is through the highest quality SEO content. To reach this requires consistency, research and expertise. To maintain it requires white hat techniques, experience and skill. Even the most successful SEO campaign in the world is pointless if once readers reach your site there’s nothing engaging there for them.
Good content increased brand trust and loyalty, to avoid plagiarism issues it also needs to be 100% unique – guarantee this by using www.copyscape.com. The greatest content should inspire readers so much so that that sale is made, it really is the basis of a successful online business. However, uproar has been caused over the use of keywords within SEO with Google analytics not providing keywords to webmasters any longer. Now it is a case of discovering your own – trial and error, researching data and common sense are the mixture for the most successful keywords. Keyword stuffing is still a huge no no and will be more likely to result in your website being removed, than encouraging a sale.
SEO is evolving, and it’s not done yet
SEO, it’s rules and it’s guidelines seem to change on a regular basis and predicting what may happen next is impossible. To stand you in the best sted, the importance must be on informative content and optimising your site for mobile users. In addition to this, it’s crucial to keep your eye on the ball; stay up to date and follow Google’s guidelines as you learn how to increase your page rankings and site traffic.