Every year, Google makes about 500 changes in its search engine algorithm. Google has driven digital marketers away from performance data and keyword usage. The “game” of SEO is constantly changing. In 2013, digital markets struggled to manage all of Google’s updates.

Is digital marketing moving to a Post-SEO Era to focus more on Content Marketing and Results Tracking? Simply stated, SEO will always exist to market content. Businesses have stopped focusing on algorithms and focus upon metrics-based content creation.

In 2014, there will be several new aspects of SEO. Search engines are becoming more intelligent. They determine what sites have valuable, relevant, detailed and engaging content versus those that do not.SEO and content marketing are becoming synonymous. Sites are concentrating more and more on high-quality content.  Generating content will drive traffic to your website. However, SEO basics are not going away. Keyword search, tagging and website structure are just as important as they have been.

A strong social media presence will be more important than search results. It is a reliable way to not only build brand awareness, but also drive traffic to your brand. When you put out relevant and engaging content, people will share it and ultimately spread your company or organization.

Mobile SEO has become paramount. Today, more than 40 percent of emails are viewed on a mobile device. David Finkelstein of KEMP Technologies explains, “…email can create the viral marketing effect like no other app.” Content adjusted for the mobile platform will continue to be a huge trend and challenge to digital marketers. Building a single site for both desktop and mobile users is most efficient.

Search engines like Google and Bing will continue to localize search results. Some predict “the death of ‘national’ search in many verticals.” Also, natural language queries will be more important this year. Digital marketers must take advantage of Google’s Hummingbird SEO service.

Become an authority on your business realm. Be better than your competitors and educate your target audience and customers. Utilize your market influences and use them to distribute your content. For example, don’t just link your articles on Facebook, post your articles in your LinkedIn groups as well. Earn attention and further develop your network through the power of sharing.

Link building is still relevant. Nevertheless, links will become obsolete if your strategy is limited to inclusions in directories and posting blog comments with spam links. The more effort and time put into link building will produce better traffic results.

Long-tail keywords are expected to become more prevalent. These keywords contain more words and are usually less competitive. They are more laser-targeted. When you find the perfect one for your audience, it works tremendously.

As the web has evolved, so has HTML format. The latest version, HTML5, has incorporated a set of tags to help search engines understand structured data. These are referenced and cataloged on Schema.org. Structured data helps search engines understand the different aspects of a page, such as events, articles and local address information.

Ultimately, in 2014, businesses should focus on responsive website design. They should also determine a digital marketing plan, engage in social sharing and utilize long-tail keywords.

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