The State of SEO in 2014

I haven’t written here in some time. Used to be that I could quit working at my job at 5 p.m. and then, write a blog post about something SEO or marketing. But when you no longer have a j-o-b (which is great, thank you very much), you really don’t have set hours. I like that and I sometimes hate it.computer keyboard

Jobs have to be completed on time and so, as in the case of the last few weeks, I’ve worked 18 days straight without a day off.  And I don’t quit at 5 anymore, either. So, there are pluses and minuses. Most of my work days last about 4-5 hours, and in slow periods, I might only work 3 days out of the week. It just depends on the workload and how much of it the people who work with me can do and how much I have to do myself. We handle SEO jobs, but we also handle any other digital marketing process from copywriting to web design and Facebook ads. We do it all, which keeps things fun and varied. I love this business!

SEO Has Morphed Dramatically Over the Last 10 Years

Oh, yes, my friends. There have been HUGE ups and downs in the world of SEO (where I have lived for the past 10 years or so). The state of SEO in 2014 is totally NOT the SEO of 2007.

For example, we used to be able to load up footers with rich anchor text links, spin content and post it everywhere, buy anchor text links on other sites and sell them, and even load up keywords until your page would almost burst under the weight of  them.  That was all well and good for getting search positions, but some of that stuff wasn’t so for your visitors.

I can’t say that I ever did things that wasn’t good for visitors.

Yet, duplicate content was totally OK. You could upload a piece of writing to 187 directories and stuff like that, I did for my job. Yet, I never saw the percentage in doing that. I mean, nobody wants to read the same information more than once, unless there is some time in between reads and they had time to forget what they read, right?  Well, if your piece of content took up every listing on page 1 of Google for a certain keyword, all they got was the same stuff just published on several different sites. Not good for Google, their audience, and IMO, not good for us webmasters, either.

One thing that hasn’t changed is that content is GOOD for your SEO. Content has always been and will continue to be Queen (you can call it King, if you like). That hasn’t changed one iota. But…

What Makes Content Effective?

on-page optimization doesn't matterOne thing that has changed is that the content you deliver has to be awesome, not just rich with information, but init needs good grammar and perfect spelling, as well. It has to flow. It needs images to accompany it, and it should be broken down by sub-heads, bullets, pull quotes and stuff that makes it look easier to read. Plus, don’t use ONE paragraph for the whole article. If you do all the no-nos, why bother? Google won’t even count your content contribution as viable.

Another thing you have to remember these days is that your content can’t be generic. It needs stats, a good angle (the perspective from which you view the topic),  and quotes from known authorities. Who wants to read the same old hashed and re-hashed information about on-page optimization, right? Not me. I can write about that in my sleep.

But if I said on-page optimization doesn’t matter? That would make you wonder why? Am I right?

Guess what? On -page optimization doesn’t matter — at least not as it did in the past. Sure, you should have your meta tags completed properly, but not to the point of over-optimization. If you choose a keyword, it shouldn’t be forced into the piece, you should write the piece and then, perhaps decide what the keyword should be. Think content value, not keywords.

My advice for 2014

If I were to give my ONE piece of advice for  SEO in 2014, it would be this: Learn to write well.

That’s it.

Google is now more about the content you provide than anything else. So, if you suck at writing, don’t want to write, or know that you’ll never get it done, forget all that slick, chocolate-y goodness of free, targeted SEO traffic. You see, without content out there with your brand on it, you’re sunk. Even e-commerce stores should have a blog.

In his article, “SEO in 2014: How to Prepare for Google’s 2014 Updates” at Search Engine Watch, Jayson DeMers wrote:

“Content marketing will move from buzzword to mature marketing movement in 2014. From an SEO perspective, Google will be looking at companies that have robust content marketing efforts as a sign that they’re the kind of business Google wants to support.”

I totally agree with what Jayson wrote there. Content is about marketing — more than ever before, but also about SEO.

But here’s the thing: If you can’t write, don’t want to write, or don’t have the time, hire someone to do all of that for you. That’s what my company does. We write for people, and we post each piece content in one good place, not two or three or a hundred. We use our clients’ voices and just write about topics that they know about and want to promote.  And without breaking any proprietary secrets, I can just say that it works like CRAZY!  When I started with one of my clients, they were making $7K a week. Now, they’re averaging $32K a week. BIG diff, eh?

If you want to do well in search in 2014? Write… Write well… And if you can’t to that, pay someone else to do it for you. Make a difference in your niche, and Google won’t just rank you. They’ll love you. Why?

Because you’ll actually be adding value to the Web. It’s all about that.

Want more SEO advice? Visit me at SEMRush’s blog, where I post twice a month. Here are some of the most recent posts:

And a bunch more. If I helped you at all, please drop me a comment!