2014 will be a year of consolidation for online PR and marketing.
Much of this will be building on the significant Google algorithm updates during 2011 – 2013. The most notable ones were Panda and Penguin (targeting quality of links and quality of content), followed by Hummingbird last year – a brand new algorithm to respond to more complex search queries.
The beginning of the year is as good a time as any to predict where your PR and marketing efforts need to be focused in 2014, so what’s hot and what’s not?
It’s no longer a matter of updating your website as and when you feel like it – a content marketing plan is essential. It should include regular, helpful content that will answer search queries, be designed to attract social sharing, links from other websites and help to position you as experts.
Content marketing plans should be identifying which networks for which audiences, and which type of content to engage them. We now know that social signals are important for search engine optimisation and an increasing position in search results.
Critical for your SEO, there’s no ignoring it. If you’re a local business (link to blog), think about a Google Local profile and all of us should be thinking about Authorship, and +1s as an important measure for Google.
With the removal of keyword data from Google Analytics, online advertising will become an important feature of SEO activity (link to blog) and to increase reach, for social media activity too. In 2014 you will have to re-evaluate your POEM, the mix of paid, owned and earned media.
Paid = advertising
Owned = your website, social media, blogs, newsletters
Earned = exposure through sharing, comments, reviews, press coverage.
You will need a combination of all 3 for success.
Unless you’re attracting links because you’ve got awesome content, link-building (as we knew it) is not a key SEO activity. Create good content for search and the links will come. It doesn’t stop you telling people that you’ve got some good content to link to but it must be useful.
Even a mobile version of your website is better than nothing but if you’re building a new website this year make it responsive. Signs are that following on from Hummingbird, mobile is going to be a bigger consideration in the Google search algorithm as search on the move grows. http://econsultancy.com/blog/64054-five-mobile-predictions-for-2014
Stop using email marketing and social media to broadcast messages, rather than tailoring and personalising to your target audience. Testing your content is also crucial to determine what gets better engagement, try testing subject lines, layouts, types of content.
Focusing on keywords
It’s not just about keywords anymore. It has to be about the whole content experience for your visitors, fans and subscribers. Hummingbird takes account of more detailed search queries and seeks to provide answers to questions rather than just short keywords and phrases.
Lots to think about in 2014, but with the emphasis on quality content it does feel like it’s going in the right direction.