3SEOWhat do website operators have to expect in terms of search engine optimization in 2014? Here are some trends from the SEO scene. 

With its recent algorithm updates, Google itself has pretty much shaken up by the search results pages. Thus, many website operators are probably asking themselves what to do or to avoid in 2014 when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO).
The following gives an overview of the hottest trends, tips and themes in the SEO industry, so you find out where to head for:

1. High quality content

In summary it can be said that in 2014 one aspect is paramount: quality of content in the context of the so-called content marketing! It is not enough that texts are just unique. They must also be of such high quality that you can provide a real added value. Ideally, your web contents have such a high value that in turn other websites report about it and refer to you.

2. The visitor at the center

Google can obviously not really evaluate the quality of a text, yet. The search engine therefore measures the quality of the content according to the satisfaction of visitors. As an indicator of this satisfaction, Google simply takes the length of stay of each visitor, according to the motto: “Quick back off means short retention time - consequently visitors are dissatisfied - and long retention time means satisfied visitors and a good ranking.
In addition to dwells, as part of the so-called user-experience, how fast or slow individual pages of a website load is important as well, because quick page loading is rewarded by Google. And that makes sense, as nobody voluntarily wants to wait tens of seconds until a site is built up.
Google actually always emphasizes not to write texts just for the search engines, but for the people who are reading it. Therefore, recognize Google not as a machine you can trick somehow, but as your partner in the generation of large numbers of visitors. Thus, search engine optimized texts are in future distinguished mostly by the fact that they are clearly focused, coherently written and clearly arranged, besides an optimized internal linking with existing content.

3. Web goes mobile and TV

The mobile web is certainly on the trend list, too. Google wants all visitors to use websites the same way, no matter what device they access them with. In other words, your website must be optimized for viewing on various end devices. These currently primarily include tablet PC's and smartphones, but in the near future TV sets as well. Google surely won’t banish you immediately if you can’t provide that, but you can assume that you will get in the long run minus points for the lack of such an optimization.

4. Back links as direct traffic source

For years the credo has been to generate backlinks in high numbers, no matter where they come from, according to the motto "the more the merrier". This meant that backlinks were no longer naturally generated, but literally bought by the dozen. A purchased backlink is of course not a real backlink as Google would like to see it. For the search giant a backlink is a real recommendation, meaning other websites link to the content on their own as they perceive it as particularly valuable. But this practice of unnaturally generated backlinks is finally coming to an end in 2014.

It can even be said that the massive accumulation of backlinks that have been purchased, exchanged or otherwise generated, are more harmful than useful in the future. So keep your fingers of link exchange and purchased backlinks this year and opt for direct cooperation with interesting vendors that fit into your business environment instead.

In fact, backlinks, as a means of search engine optimization with the purpose of a ranking advantage, will lose their former importance more and more. As an alternative, you should generate backlinks that directly bring you additional visitors and practically serve as a multiplier for your own purposes, besides staying away from generating backlinks only to suggest to Google, how great and important your website is. So "quality over quantity“ is what counts here, and Google will probably evaluate backlinks even more precisely in the future. Fact is that the traffic, which is achieved through a backlink, plays a key role in the assessment.

5. Combining all channels

It is no longer just enough to put a website online to achieve its associated goals. Instead, a trend applies which emerged already two years ago and escalates in particular this year.

It is about operating a multi-channel strategy. This means to pick up potential prospects and perhaps future customers wherever they happen to be, whether on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or YouTube.

It is therefore extremely important to have a presence on as many online channels as possible, if not at least on the five just mentioned. Your visibility and noticeability is greatly increased that way, especially since recommendations in social networks are usually not perceived as advertising by the addressee, but as a friendly reference to a source that is trusted.

6. Video as a marketing tool

In 2014, multimedia content, such as pictures, videos, animations and interactive elements, will be even more important than before, since texts are not enough to entice the spoilt users.

A clear step going into this direction is seen more often in online shops where products are not only advertised through images, but increasingly by product videos as well - since a picture/video simply “says more than 1000 words”.

Thus, a website with video and audio content sells better since customers rather prefer to watch a short video nowadays, instead of reading endless texts. And Google loves videos, especially those on YouTube, too. Well-made videos with high traffic get usually good rankings on the search result pages and the same goes for websites that embed videos into their content.

One of the great SEO Trends for the year 2014 is the search engine optimization of online shops by offering product videos. Google increasingly shows videos in the search results, which proves that whoever makes an effort will be rewarded with good search engine rankings.

By Daniela La Marca