In September 2013, I wrote a post where I predicted the top 7 online marketing trends that would dominate 2014. Now that weâ€™re reaching the midway point of 2014, I thought it would be helpful to take a look at where weâ€™re at, particularly in terms of SEO.
Google has been busy over the past year, and traditional SEO strategies, tasks and roles have changed considerably.
Letâ€™s take a look at what weâ€™re seeing thus far in 2014.
1.Â Â Â Google Authorship is rising in importance
More business owners are realizing the importance of Google Authorship and are taking Author Rank more seriously; as they should, particularly since Google has confirmed they do use a form of Author Rank â€“ at least in terms of ranking in-depth articles.
The end of 2013 saw Google reducing authorship snippets by 15% in an effort to increase clickthroughs to only the highest quality content. This has meant an overall reduction in the total number of search results being accompanied by authorship info, and increased competition among authors.
Weâ€™re also seeing a tiered system in terms of whatâ€™s displayed next to search results: some search results are displayed with full authorship details, while others are displayed with only a byline.
Factors that continue to determine whether authorship snippets are included (or what tier is used) include the reputation and trustworthiness of authors, as well as the website on which the content is published.
There has been speculation that those who donâ€™t establish some degree of authority via Author rank will become irrelevant (i.e. their content will no longer rank). While weâ€™re not there yet, itâ€™s a strong reminder for writers and marketers to get Authorship set up now before we do reach that point. For help with that, see â€œGoogle Authorship: How to Dress Up Your Search Results to Demand Attention.â€
2.Â Â Â Brands are realizing the necessity of social media, as it plays a major role in website traffic referrals and content dissemination
So far in 2014, social media seems to be a major factor (if not the major factor) in terms of referral traffic and content dissemination.
According to recent research released by Shareaholic, Facebook continues to lead the pack in terms of social media referral traffic. In March 2013, Facebook drove 21.25% of all traffic sites receive. Pinterest came in 2nd at just over 7% of all traffic, although its share of traffic has grown by 48% since December. Twitter continues to trail behind with a 1% share of all website traffic.
With many sites struggling to earn even mediocre rankings in the search engines, brands are increasingly seeing social media as a quicker way to get their content in front of their target market, and to increase website traffic.
3.Â Â Â â€œContent marketingâ€ is beginning to replace the term â€œSEOâ€
Most experts would agree that itâ€™s no longer enough to simply have an SEO strategy. In fact, Iâ€™ve noticed the term â€˜content marketingâ€™ starting to become used synonymously with â€˜SEOâ€™. While the two should certainly be differentiated on many levels, many argue that content marketing is the â€˜new SEOâ€™.
Business owners and marketers should continue to focus on creating high-quality content guided by solid keyword research based on SEO competition and keyword research, with a focus on topical and long-tail targeting. But the days of picking a handful of keywords and putting all efforts toward becoming ranked #1 for those keywords are over. Competition is simply too high in all industries now; thereâ€™s always going to be at least one other brand doing it better and spending a higher budget than you.