Google, in its quest to organize the world's information in the best possible manner, introduced a lot of exciting algorithmic changes in 2013. Google Panda, the first major change by Google, was rolled out in 2011 and the next year saw Penguin arrive. It was in 2013 that Google released Hummingbird, the biggest change to search since 2001. Apart from being a tweak to the search functionality, the algorithm is completely new and affects 90 percent of the searches. As a result, I believe that content and authority will lead your Web optimization mantras in 2014.
While the old search engine optimization (SEO) strategies have received a much-needed facelift, how are you gearing up for the changing SEO landscape?
A report by Conductor and another study by Econsultancy revealed that while there were 249,595 SEO professionals on LinkedIn in July 2011, the number grew to 528,642 in one year and reached a whopping figure of 963,219 in July 2013.
Image Credit: Conductor
There has been an increase in the number of SEO professionals in the past few years, but the rising numbers do not indicate that SEO is the easiest profession anybody can dive into. They do, however, indicate that there’s a strong demand for SEO professionals. With changing market trends, stricter algorithms, and an increasing penchant for quality, the basics and fundamentals of SEO have become more important than ever. Professionals need to become more mature with the changing landscape of SEO and adapt themselves to the rising level.
It's time to have a multifaceted approach toward SEO. Here are the skills that’ll remain the most in-demand in 2014, making it even more mandatory for SEO professionals to hone them.
1. Community Building and Management
Google is increasingly pushing Google+ as a community platform, which shows that community building is going to be an important part of SEO. A successful community is an amalgamation of brand building and social media management that businesses nowadays are leveraging in a big way. So, an SEO professional will be expected to have complete knowledge of establishing and managing a robust community.
2. Public Relations
Public relations is one of the oldest and most successful marketing practices. It’s been here for years and is expected to soon become a full-fledged part of an SEO campaign. A professional who knows how to engage with media outlets to build a brand and promote a campaign will definitely get a preference over others.
Google has become stricter with the Penguin update and search engines no longer entertain aggressive link building. So PR is being looked as a Penguin-proof way of earning powerful links. If you have an understanding of how to pitch the story to news outlets, get it to publish, and link back to your site, you’re all set to give a stiff fight to your competition in the online arena.
3. Content Marketing
You can no longer get away without having sharp content writing skills, especially if you’re an SEO professional. In the world where "content has always been the king," it becomes even more essential for SEO practitioners to know how to play with words. Whether you’re marketing a blog or doing a simple Facebook update, it should be enticing enough to get the attention and the buzz.
While the content team will be there to write crisp copy for you, everything else from conceptualization to what goes online when and where will depend on you. SEO professionals who can foresee the changing content needs and what exactly to deliver to the target audience will definitely have their campaigns running successfully.
Studies have shown that readers love the attractively designed infographics, which are rich in graphics and also loaded with information. An essential element of visual revolution, infographics are a great way to use the abundant data available to tell a story. SEOs will have to hone their skills to create visually stimulating designs to convey the core information in the right way.
5. Video Creation and Distribution
Video should continue its upward ascent in search for 2014 as well, so SEO professionals must be well acquainted with the skills of video creation. Short videos will particularly become a big hit, as we can already see that 100 hours of short videos are uploaded on YouTube, Vine, and other video sites every day. It's time for SEOs to learn to be able to create quick, inexpensive, and efficient videos that get the desired response from the audience. If a picture is worth a thousand words, videos are definitely worth a million.
The best SEOs know something about everything. If you’re thinking of advancing your career or adding a skill to your CV, make sure you at least have a command over these five essentials.
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Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic. A leading search engine strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. He has helped value-conscious businesses build site traffic, increase the user base, boost web sales and bolster customer satisfaction. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies in Asia. PageTraffic's solid results and acclaimed process has earned it a place in Red Herring Asia Top 100 and Topseos's global top 30. He is also an expert panelist on various forums including TFM&A India, 42inception and more.
March 19, 2014