Google is always tweaking the way it ranks websites so it improves their users’ experience. It doesn’t care about you or your website, only whether it deserves to rank higher because it matches a continuously changing set of conditions so people using Google will get their query answered more effectively.
Recently it has taken to giving these updates friendly names such as Panda and Penguin, but the implications for anyone running a website or promoting a business using a website are vital. The latest Panda algorithm, which was designed to help boost great-quality content sites while pushing down thin or low-quality content sites in the search results, has always targeted scraper sites and low-quality content sites in order to provide searchers with the best search results possible. We won’t go into the details about what and why Google is making these changes (visit this article for information: More Panda 4.0 Findings: Syndication, User Engagement, Indexation & Keyword Hoarding) but here are some important points to consider:
- Content is still king – good quality content that is regularly updated, viewed, shared and linked to still rates highly with Google.
- Regular, helpful content targeted at your audience.
- Social signals from regular sharing and engagement.
- Freshness or signs that your site is alive and growing.
- Increasing authority connected to your body of work.
- Social media plays an increasingly visible role – Companies and SEO professionals will need to be asking the following questions in the year ahead:
- Are we taking our social media seriously?
- Is easy social sharing enabled for all of our content?
- Does our content strategy include a dissemination phase that includes maximizing its potential for distribution through social networks?
- Are we active on the social networks that matter in our industry?
- Are we active on the social networks that matter to our customers?
- Are we active on the social networks that matter to the search engines?
- Does our social media marketing strategy stimulate the level of social signals required to achieve our goals?
- Set up a Google+ presence – although much maligned Google+ is increasingly important for boosting SEO
- Mobile performance is increasingly important – about half of UK adults own smartphones and use them to connect to the web so if you don’t have a mobile-optimized website, this needs to be your top priority in terms of SEO and web design investments for 2014.
More detailed information can be found here: SEO in 2014: How to Prepare for Google’s 2014 Algorithm Updates