Your First Peek Into The 2014 SEO ‘Playbook’

With November well and truly under way, many people in the online realm are wanting to know what 2014 will hold for their websites. This is why it is time for use to release a brief look at the 2014 SEO ‘Playbook’, which will provide webmasters with some important points that they should begin focusing on in the coming months.

2014 SEO Play Book

But first, how do we know what 2014 will hold for SEO? This information actually comes from 3 sources:

  • Google
    It should be noted that Google genuinely does want to be helpful – their vision, so far, aligns well with good marketing practices. Just remember that anytime a Google spokesperson reveals something about their algorithm, they are doing so with an agenda in mind.
  • Observation
    As SEO’s, we depend on each other’s positive and negative experiences to discover trends and understand their significance in terms of our work. It has become clear that, these days, observation should be less about trickery and more about best practices.
  • Correlation
    Did you know that there are researchers who scour Google’s statements about search and SEO’s observations for whatever information they can quantify? They gather measurements on thousands of pieces of data, compare them to ranking results or site traffic and publish the results. 

Secondly, we need to take a closer look at Hummingbird, which is Google’s newest algorithm and was a complete replacement of the old one. It was actually implemented a month before Google said it was and affected 90% of search results – but no one noticed. This is likely because the biggest changes occurred to long-tail queries.

So, what should SEO’s be focusing on in 2014? Based on all of the information that has been gathered, we can expect to focus on content and authority.

  • Content
    This actually has a number of sub-categories. First, we need to use concepts – go through your current content and make sure it uses phrases that match how people think and search. Second, we need to focus each piece of content on a specific concept. And, third, we need to employ a 4-point content strategy.
  • Authority
    This also has a number of sub-categories. First, it is important to not substitute social media for link building. Second, architecture and URLs need to be kept simple and readable for people (every page should be accessible within 4 clicks of the homepage). And, third, non-canonical issues should not be ignored. 

If you work in the SEO industry, it is likely that the above information is going to prove important in the coming months for ensuring that your client’s websites continue to rank well and draw in traffic.

How Google’s Algorithm’s Have Changed History

Did you know that, each year, Google changes its search algorithm between 500 and 600 times? Whilst most of these changes are minor, there will occasionally be a major update that severely affects search results. Search marketers like to stay on top of these changes to help them explain changes in ranking and traffic.

Google 2013 Updates

  • January 22nd – Panda #24
    In late January, Google announced their first change of the year – to Panda, one of their biggest updates to date. It was claimed that only 1.2% of queries were affected, so it wasn’t too major.
  • May 22nd – Penguin 2.0
    It was only after months of speculation that the 4th Penguin update was released. There was only a moderate impact on search results with evidence suggesting that the change was more targeted on the page level.
  • June 11th – “Payday Loan”
    This was a targeted update that tackled niches with notoriously spammy results (specifically payday loans and porn). Whilst this is when the change was announced, it would take a month or two to roll out.
  • July 18th – Panda Recovery
    Whilst Google confirmed that a change occurred around this date, they were unclear whether it was part of a 10-day rolling update or not. It actually seemed to soften some of Panda’s previous penalties.
  • July 19th – Knowledge Graph Expansion
    The very next day, people began to notice that queries with Knowledge Graph (KG) entries and expanded by more than half. This meant that more than a quarter of all searches showed a KG entry of some kind.
  • August 6th – In-depth Articles
    It was announced that Google had added a new type of news result known as ‘in-depth articles’, which is dedicated to more long-form content. To begin with, it only appeared across around 3% of searches.
  • August 20th – Hummingbird
    Although this update was announced on September 26th, it was suggested that it actually took place a month earlier. It has been compared to Caffiene and is believed to power changes for months to come.
  • October 4th – Penguin 2.1
    Due to the 2.1 designation, it is believed that this update was primarily in regards to data and didn’t comprise any major changes to the Penguin algorithm. Even so, some webmasters said they were hit hard. 

Whilst there have been plenty of other updates rolled out by Google this year (a couple of unnamed ones and a few adjustments to Panda and Penguin), the ones that we have outlined above were the ones to cause noticeable differences. Who knows what the rest of the year will bring?