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SMEs – Make Sure You Stay Ahead of The Google Updates in 2014.

Every year Google makes approximately 500 – 600 changes to its algorithms. While most of these changes are minor, sometimes Google rolls out a major algorithmic update that has a huge impact on search result rankings. Notable examples of such changes include the recent: Panda, Penguin and Humming Bird updates of 2013.

Throughout the year these updates caused much confusion amongst business owners and marketers alike, as Google began to further increase its definition of spam tenfold.

The frequency and effects of these updates became quite alarming as even websites with long term rankings began to fall.As we entered 2014 the effects of the Google updates and updates to come remained to be quite a topical issue; it was abundantly clear that many business owners, marketers and SEO enthusiasts alike had not yet recognized the reasoning behind Google’s algorithm changes.

Yet almost every update Google has ever made has been focused on creating a better experience for searchers – 2013 was no different.

The Google Panda was rolled out as early as January 22nd, 2013: quickly followed with further updates to this algorithm and the re-introduction of the Google Penguin. Though changes to these algorithms were on-going; notable updates took place in March, May June, July and October of last year. Again each of these updates was aimed at creating a better experience for searchers by “removing spam for the sake of searchers”.
Google was taking a zero tolerance stance against those who used poor SEO tactics to manipulate its search results.

To achieve better results for searchers Google began to rewarded websites with high quality information and top tier, “earned” back links. In effect these updatesde-ranked spammy websitesor websites that had gained Google rankings via the creation of spammy back links.

In the midst of the frequent Panda / Penguin and other speculated updates, Google was busy creating one of its most effective algorithmic changes to date – this quickly became known the “Humming Bird”.
The Humming Bird was introduced in August, 2013; its objective was to create semantic search for the masses, due to a high rise in mobile/ tablet usage and a notable increase in voice search amongst the younger generation. – A generation that does not identify with the use of keyword searches but rather conversational queries.

Although there was no dramatic impact on rankings due to The Humming Bird update – this algorithmic change was again to enhance searchers experience by placing more emphasizes on the creation of high quality content.-Thus increasing the importance of social media synergy.

There is no doubt that the 2013 changes to Google’s algorithm were the most influential of alland that these updates will long continue as the online market place continues to progress – so just how do SMEs stay ahead of further Google updates in 2014?

It is expected that more business than ever before will be completed online in 2014. But with over 80% of the population not scrolling past Google page 1, competition is fierce.To stay ahead in search rankings it is now more important than ever before to remember:

1. Only bring-home relevant back links:

Links are a great addition to your website and also very important with regards to search engine ranking. In fact your site will go nowhere fast without them. In 2014 back links are going to be more important than ever – but they must be achieved not bought or built from spammy connections. To be accredited for your link building efforts you must:

  1. Build relationships then links (organically)
  2. Link build at slow pace
  3. Only link to relevant websites.
  4. Avoid low quality back links

2. Content is King:

Content has always been important to achieve rankings. However the term “content is king” will be the saying of the year for 2014. Content will now play a pivotal role onsite as well as offsite. Thus it is important that you

  1. Fully optimize all onsite content.
  2. Use Info-graphics to display data
  3. Create high quality content for all offsite activities:
    1. Blogs
    2. Article marketing
    3. Guest blogging
    4. Content sharing

3. Be Sociable:

In 2014 it is important to build your brand an audience via social media.
As you may have notice Google has already began to rank blogs, videos and locations via maps. In 2014 this will also include social media rankings based on popularity and interaction.
Thus it is important that you engage in some form of social media marketing or at least create and update the following accounts on a regular basis:

  1. Google Plus
  2. Facebook
  3. LinkedIn
  4. Twitter twits with blog links
  5. YouTube video sharing

4. Be Human:

Google updates are all about creating a better experience for searchers.
As such it is important when creating content, building a link, or posting on social media’s to think of your audience. Finding the balance between optimizing your website / online activities for people and search engines will be a key successor for SMEs in 2014.

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