10 SEO Commandments for 2014

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The year 2013 was indeed a fairly bumpy ride for search engine optimizers. Google, in a bid to improve its search accuracy and reduce spam, released a series of updates, most of which influenced the placement of websites in one way or another.

Websites that had original, informative content and reputable links were rewarded with enhanced visibility, and at the same time, those resorting to unethical means to manipulate search rankings found themselves at the receiving end of the search engine’s fury.

The result: thousands of websites got blacklisted by the search major, while millions of websites lost their much treasured pole positions, resulting in radical decline in exposure, traffic, and of course, conversions.

Lesson Learned – Ethical is the ONLY way!

Here are 10 SEO commandments to help ensure your SEO efforts are impervious to future algorithm updates by Google and other search majors.

1. Thou Shalt Not Use Unnatural Links
Bid farewell to link exchange programs, paid for advertorials, links with optimized anchor text, and malpractices such as article syndication. Resorting to these options is sure to attract penalty from Google; it’s not a matter of whether, it’s just about when.

2. Thou Shalt Not Ignore the Brand
A lot of search optimizers focus on improving the “ranking” of their websites. Agreed, that’s the way it has to be. But what about that little thing called “brand”. Your business may or may not have an established brand; in both cases, brand promotion is a must for ensuring sustainable growth.

3. Thou Shalt Improve User Experience
Your visitors land on your website with a certain need. Make sure all the SEO and website management are focused on improving user experience. Your website must provide absolutely clear descriptions of the solutions on offer, helping the users to make a well-informed decision.

4. Thou Shalt Share Valuable Content
Solve real problems, provide real solutions; no beating around the bush in 2014. The conversation on your website needs to be more about your “customers” and their needs, rather than your business or its “specializations”. To create a reputable image, you need to consolidate your branding efforts.

5. Thou Shalt Improve Website Focus
A website is a marketing campaign in itself. You need to identify the areas of your website that are delivering sizeable conversions and those that are not so effective. You can use AB testing tools to find out what works best for your audience and your business.

6. Thou Shalt Integrate Social Media
Social media, without a doubt, spells the future of the web. In fact, contrary to general misconception, leveraging social media can be a game changer for your website’s SEO. Make sure you have an active presence on all social media majors.

7. Thou Shalt Explore Aiding Avenues
Services such as Conversion rate and Online Reputation Management can play a pivotal role in optimizing the ROI of your SEO. For instance, if your website is lacking conversions despite higher ranking, conversion rate optimization is a certain way out.

8. Thou Shalt Focus on Authority
Google has made it clear that in 2014 it would be on a lookout for in-depth content by authors with expertise in a specific space. This clarifies two aspects – 1) make sure that the content you share provides valuable information, and 2) rope in writers with relevant knowledge and authority.

9. Thou Shalt Leverage Mobile Web
It is estimated that the number of mobile internet users will surpass the number of people accessing the web via desktop and notebook computers. This leaves no need to elaborate why you need to focus on tapping into the mobile web and ensuring your website is responsive to all popular platforms.

10. Thou Shalt Not Indulge in Early Celebration
One of the biggest mistakes made by organization investing in SEO is that they believe the job is done as soon as the website gets better search placement and discontinue the campaign. Well, these people need to understand that SEO is an “ongoing” process. Thus, don’t lose focus!

Hopefully this concise read comes in handy in ensuring a successful SEO campaign for your organization. Do share your views in the comment section; we’d love to hear from you!

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