Google search gets a major refresh in their incessant efforts to make googling even more conversational for users to arrive at documents on the web easier. Ever since Google embarked on their semantic web move, search marketers and webmasters have been jostling to ensure their search engine result page ranking intact. While SEO is now more about credibility and trustworthiness and less of a technical thing, the onus now shifts to the 'content'. The authority of your web content will define its search friendlilness and not keyphrases. Because Google's ultimate goal is to help users find documents on the web that best match their criteria. And to ensure this, there is also Google Penalty which downscales a webpage's visibility if it does not conform to the set standards.
We spoke with the CEO of PageTraffic WebTech, Navneet Kaushal,to guide you on how stay atop search results and never fall victim to Google Sandbox Effect.
* The future of 'Search' is about things, not (keyword) strings, says Matt Cutts.
* Search results will base on search intent --geo location, interrelation of words.
* 'Hummingbird ' will make the web increasingly mobile and conversational
* Google+ will gradually become an integral part of Google's strategy for SEO
* Gone are the days of link building, now, you have to earn links
* SEO is now more about people, places, things, credibility, and trustworthiness
* Content is the King" will remain a key phrase for webmasters & marketers
* Gaining authority will overriding, web content should be focused around niche topics
* Google Now will pay a more important role in pushing semantic search
1. Now that Google search is going semantic in true sense, what's the way forward for search engine marketers and web optimizers?
Semantic search is all about understanding the searcher's intent and the reason behind his query, which is a level above just parsing through keywords. Hummingbird is the biggest algorithmic change introduced by Google since 2000. It is aimed at making the web increasingly mobile and conversational. Semantic search will play a great role in ensuring that Hummingbird acquires its due objective. This algorithm is a new approach to search. It will get users results based on key phrase search intent, geo location, inter relation of words and more. I think the time has come to focus on the real cause of people visiting your website. If your goal is to provide high quality content, the task will seem easier to you. SEOs would need to focus more on market research instead on keyword based research. Since, Google will be delivering results on the basis of context of the question & content on your webpage, you will likely have to add long-tail key phrases to your content. As Matt Cutts said, "the future is about things, not (keyword) strings", we have to accept the fact.
2. 90% of search results are affected by Hummingbird! What does Google Hummingbird algorithm translate to for an website optimizer?
Hummingbird is affecting 90% of the searches worldwide but most of the people didnâ??t notice. The reason being, Hummingbird is targeted towards making the results more useful & relevant, especially when one asks a long and complex questions on Google. For website optimizers, it is much required to make the content easy to read & remember. Make sure that writing is tight and based on subjects that are easily identified by people as well as Google Search.
There are a few more things SEOs would need to do
* Link out to relevant & respected sources
* Demonstrate subject expertise to build authority
* Engage in social outreach aimed at earning true fans
* Focus more on brand building & traditional marketing
3. Are businesses going Google+? How can businesses leverage Google+ for their SMO benefit?
Google+ has the second highest number of monthly users after Facebook. Businesses are going Google+ and the trend will continue to grow in 2014. Businesses should not think Google+ as just another social network. It is gradually becoming an integral part of Google's strategy for SEO, social signals, and providing an improved personalized search experience. There are ample evidence which proves that Google+ authorship improves the authority and search performance. Google gives higher weightage to authoritative content in the search, therefore, businesses should pay emphasis on creating high quality content that is liked & shared by readers. Use the featured links in Google Plus post, as it will pass rank to the page it is linked to. The best way is to connect your website to the Google plus page, as this will increase the relevancy of the website content as well as contribute to search ranking. Use of hashtag will increase amongst businesses in 2014. By using hashtag in Google Plus, every post can be connected to a search on the Google platform.
4. Links continue to reign supreme as the ultimate SEO authority signal! How can businesses gain popularity of their online contents?
It is important for us to understand that "Gone are the days of link building. Now, you have to earn links". Develop content that earns you links, user votes, likes and share. For years, link builders were using keywords as anchor texts to build links. With the recent Google algorithmic updates, the concept of using keywords in anchor text has perished.. Google has made link building far more challenging. You no longer can buy a few links or blog posts for ranking. Post Hummingbird, long tail keywords have become more vital for your link building strategy. It is essential that you rely less on anchor text and more on long tail keywords, synonyms, theme of the page you are hoping to get a link from, author of the page, and credibility Google is showing for that site. There are several factors worth paying attention to, which start from set of keywords and remain important even when planning a content creation & outreach strategy. Keyword and SEO is now less of a technical thing. It has become more about people, places, things, credibility, and trustworthiness. There's no need for the keywords to be present in anchor text but it should be present in the content, where you are seeking a link from.
5. Can you share with us the latest from Pubcon?
Attending Pubcon in Las Vegas has always been a great experience. When the industry's most prominent names are around you & you get a chance to listen to them, it certainly adds on to your experience. PageTraffic was media & Press Partner, which worked well for us. We got a better opportunity to cover sessions live and share the insights with everyone. The key theme of Pubcon was Social and Content, which clearly shows where the search is heading towards.
6. What can we expect from Google search in 2014?
When Google tells us to be prepared for more algorithmic changes and updates in coming time, it is easy to predict that 2014 will see a major overhaul in terms of SEO & SEM. Matt Cutts too in his Keynote at Pubcon 2013 talked about "moonshoot" changes, communication, future of search, and core quality & webspam changes.
We might see:
Searches going beyond just words in the query. Hummingbird has made semantic search more important and so will the coming updates. "Content is the King" will remain a key phrase for webmasters & marketers. Google Voice Search, Conversational Search, and Google Now will pay a more important role in pushing semantic search.
Gaining authority will be another focus area. Webmasters should continue to have mastery on certain topics, so as to increase their authority & gain attention.
Who Needs to Be Careful?
Porn & payday sites are getting all-Google Attention and will continue to getting so.
Google has placed restriction on publishers involved in selling ads that appear as editorial & have dofollow links. So, if you are paying for links to pass PageRank, Beware!
Google is aiming at providing relevant & informative results instead of just being a machine to respond to specific & unique queries. And to get Google's attention, you need to create real content. The year 2014 will see more experiments with the content strategy by SEOs. We can expect it to be the year of information rich web pages, interesting infographics, detailed whitepapers, brochures, short videos, and more.
Since, most of the Internet users now prefer to be connected through their smartphones, mobile search market will grow at a faster pace. It's time to turn your website into a mobile friendly one. Google has already announced its love for authority sites & authorship. So, it won't come as a surprise to us if Google continues to emphasize more on social media as a ranking factor for the websites. The future of SEO will be all about user-intent search, authorship, robust snippets, mobile strategy, and natural link building. So, businesses have to create more authoritative content & emphasize higher on social media & sharing.
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