2014 marks the beginning of yet another era for SEO (Search Engine optimization) in Canada. As evident in the past, SEO is ever changing and 2014 brings more possibilities for your websites exposure online. Search engine algorithms are becoming more 'intelligent' as they strive to provide the correct info to the right users in the right location at the right time. As a result, Canada and the world as a whole is moving fr om a keyword-based search to a semantic one. This is just one of the many aspects of SEO that you should keep in stride if you want your website to rank high in search engines. Other things that are bound to affect SEO in 2014 and beyond are mobile websites and mobile browsing, content quality, user experience optimization and page load speeds.
Mobile Browsing and Mobile Websites
Technology is definitely going places. Today, more and more people are switching to tablets and smartphones powered by the latest telecommunication systems such as 4G networks. This means that the browsing experience on the move is ever increasing. It can be quite frustrating for one to surf a website designed for a full-screen PC on a smartphone hence the need for responsive web design. Any website dedicated to providing the ideal user experience should incorporate a responsive design for all types of devices. You can alternatively create a dedicated mobile site with a 'Click to Call' feature.
One of the buzz phrases of the SEO world back in 2013 was, 'Content is King'. This buzz phrase still holds true for 2014, but in this case, it's the quality that is going just a notch higher. Unlike previous years wh ere the focus was on keywords – using them in the title, meta tags, URLs et al - the focus has now shifted to the topic of the content. Google and other search engines have studied search trends and have made great efforts to improve synonym identification and concept grouping. This implies that your content should have a number of synonyms related to the main keyword.
Long gone are the days that a 250-words long article would do well in improving search engine ranking. You should also be advised to write longer and more relevant content in view of the new changes done to search engines. If however, you like writing short articles, then combining 3 or 4 of them to make one long piece can work just as well. The piece should be well written, grammatically correct and meaningful. Rather than focus on quantity think of its quality. Other factors that should be considered with regard to content quality include:
1. Description - should be focused on increasing 'click through' rate. Every page in your website should have a unique and enticing meta description tag. As a standard, make sure it does not exceed 150 words.
2. Page URLs - should be readable so as to get better 'click through' rate and back-links to other pages.
3. Structured data markup - a typical search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo! shows search results in the format it wants to so that visitors get the required info. Employing a structured data markup in your website provides maximum info to search engines implying that users get the information they are looking for. Author tags and publishers are the two must-have structured data markups for your website in 2014 and beyond.
User Experience Optimization
This is another aspect of web development or design that feeds into SEO and is tied nicely to the mobile and content points made earlier. For your website to rank high in search engines it has to be visually appealing, easy to navigate, have a call to action and provide detailed information related to your niche. You should also note that a good experience fosters better conversion rates, social sharing and better content performance. If it's something you have been working on, you’ll have to do twice as well in 2014. In summary:
1. Ensure you have a call-to-action at the bottom of each webpage. It could be a social sharing/ commenting button or a subscription to your newsletter.
2. Use any visitor analytics package to see which webpage retains the most visitors and which does not, then identify strategies to help you retain them for much longer.
Page Load Speed
Although it has been argued that speed does not account much for search engine rankings, it does affect bounce rate. Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to a website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. Faster page load speeds tend to lower the bounce rate as users are not stuck waiting around for the page to load.
These are some of the SEO trends expected to dominate websites and search engines in 2014 in Canada and throughout the world. The list may be long, but with these 4 core tips, you'll make big strides in bringing your business further up the rankings.