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SEO in 2014: Preparing for the Unexpected

There was no surprise that 2013 was full of algorithm updates. Google released updated versions of both Penguin and Panda, as well as a structural algorithm update called Hummingbird – which no one saw coming.

The year 2013 had many people thinking SEO was dead or at the least it was dying, but we all know that to be untrue. Instead it has changed and evolved and it’s safe to say that 2014 will bring similar results.

If you’re like us then you probably keep seeing articles written about the future of SEO and what it might hold during 2014. The truth is that no one really knows what surprises Google might throw our way. We typically have a sense of when an algorithm update will happen, but generally it’s no more than a month or two in advance.

Google is full of surprises and that’s why we do our best to prepare for the unexpected. Earlier this year Matt Cutts, Google’s head of web spam, said there wouldn’t be an update to PageRank before 2014 and rumors began swirling that it was dead. However in perfect Google fashion PageRank was unexpectedly updated before the new year began.

Although 2014 will certainly be full of its own surprises, there are many facets of search engine optimization that we know will stay true throughout the year.

Staying Ahead in 2014

If we consider Google’s recent history of updating algorithms, it’s safe to expect that the search engine will make adjustments to their Panda and Penguin algorithms at some point this year. Even if they don’t, creating high quality content and building high quality links should remain a focal point for any company performing SEO.

If you haven’t already established Google Authorship for your content and synced it with your Google+ account, let the beginning of 2014 be your starting point. Studies are indicating that Google Authorship and Google+ are playing more significant roles in the SERPs.

If there was ever a year for mobile SEO it’s 2014. Google’s release of Hummingbird is probably just the beginning of the search engine’s attempt to respond to the increase use of smartphones and tablets. Throughout 2013 Google repeatedly stated a site’s mobile performance influences rankings so it’s time to jump onboard. Consider responsive website design when you do feel it’s time to create a mobile website.

Guest posting was one of the primary forms of link building throughout 2013 and this should stay the same in 2014 unless Google decides otherwise. Guest posting is all about creating quality content for quality and relevant sites. Failure to do so will result in penalties and a drop in rankings.

The SEO industry experiences significant changes each year and it can be overwhelming to strategize for 2014. The safest thing you can do is look back at previous years and follow the trend. Google’s ability to recognize manipulative attempts to influence rankings is getting better each year and as SEOs we have to improve our strategies as well.

Contact us today to find out how we can improve your rankings in 2014.