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With every passing Google algorithm update, it gets harder and harder to cheat the system. If your goal in the coming year is to get results at any cost through black hat tactics, you’re in for a rude awakening. We have finally arrived in a time where quality surpasses quantity by a landslide. Quality content that searchers love has become the prerequisite for search rankings and anything less will feel the wrath of Google’s penalty.
In this post, there are SEO trends, predictions for the coming year, and how you can do it:
1. Social signals ranking you higher in search results
After seeing sources like Mashable and Business Insider conclude that Google+ has failed, it seems like Google has given authority back to social signals. So the more your website is mentioned on social platforms, the more likely your website will rank in search results.
Although we don’t know the full implications of this yet since it’s fairly new, I’ve begun seeing hints confirming this is true.
2. Link disavowing
If you keep hitting walls with your SEO results (with strategies that should be working), it might be an ugly past haunting you. Many of the blackhat techniques and old school tactics from the early days of SEO are no longer relevant.
For your current SEO results to succeed, one strategy is to remove spammy, artificial, or low-quality links to your website with link disavowing. This strategy removes links that are damaging your credibility with Google’s algorithm.
3. Replace inactive links with active links for sites in your industry
This is a great way to help other people with SEO, and grow backlinks to your own website.
Here’s the three step process:
1. Use the dead link checker to find broken links on websites relevant to your market
2. Let them know about the broken links via email
3. Suggest they replace the broken links with your active link
Co-citation is like link building without link building. It sounds weird, I know.
According to Kissmetrics, “Co-citation is when one website or brand is mentioned (not linked) by two different sources.” Or you can think of it like families who talk about other families in a neighborhood. Google is paying attention to family A’s conversation about family’s B and C even though B and C don’t know each other. These mentions are used as a ranking factor, even though there’s no direct link.
5. SEO Audits
Check your SEO score with WooRank. If it’s low, there’s a good chance the site will give you tasks like “Create and configure your robots.txt file” or “Optimize your site speed performance.” This is the new standard.
If you are fixing an older website or building a new website from scratch, invest in a developer who can do the job right. The process is only going to get more technical so don’t cheap out because you will end up paying for it in the long run.
6. The Skyscraper Method
The Skyscraper Method is finding the biggest content skyscraper that exists, and building a skyscraper that’s bigger, better, and irresistible to link to.
Follow these steps to try The Skyscraper Method for yourself:
1. Find content being linked to by sites with a ton of domain authority. You can use Site Explorer to do this.
2. Make content that’s better, longer, or more thorough.
3. Reach out to the same bloggers that linked to the original articles you researched, and share your newly created content.
4. Rake in the traffic and place yourself as the leader in the industry.
Living in an age of sharing, acquiring backlinks is not only hard, but it’s like doing SEO blindfolded. You have the power to win backlinks with The Skyscraper Method.
7. Link to other leaders in the game
Link to popular content creators in your industry, and then message them to let them know without asking for anything in return. I suggest making this 10-20% of your monthly efforts. Think of it as an SEO tax.
Not only does this help you build your community, it’ll put you on the radar of other content creators who may link to you in the future.
No SEO strategy matters without research. If you are implementing more than you are researching, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and make sure you’re heading in the right direction.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
SEO is a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words on your page to the way other sites link to you on the web. Sometimes SEO is simply a matter of making sure your site is structured in a way that search engines understand.
SEO isn’t just about building search engine-friendly websites. It’s about making your site better for people too.
Why does my website need SEO?
The majority of web traffic is driven by the major commercial search engines, Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. Although social media and other types of traffic can generate visits to your website, search engines are the primary method of navigation for most Internet users. This is true whether your site provides content, services, products, information, or just about anything else.
Search engines are unique in that they provide targeted traffic—people looking for what you offer. Search engines are the roadways that make this happen. If search engines cannot find your site, or add your content to their databases, you miss out on incredible opportunities to drive traffic to your site.
Search queries—the words that users type into the search box—carry extraordinary value. Experience has shown that search engine traffic can make (or break) an organization’s success. Targeted traffic to a website can provide publicity, revenue, and exposure like no other channel of marketing. Investing in SEO can have an exceptional rate of return compared to other types of marketing and promotion.
Why can’t the search engines figure out my site without SEO?
Search engines are smart, but they still need help. The major engines are always working to improve their technology to crawl the web more deeply and return better results to users. However, there is a limit to how search engines can operate. Whereas the right SEO can net you thousands of visitors and increased attention, the wrong moves can hide or bury your site deep in the search results where visibility is minimal.
In addition to making content available to search engines, SEO also helps boost rankings so that content will be placed where searchers will more readily find it. The Internet is becoming increasingly competitive, and those companies who perform SEO will have a decided advantage in visitors and customers.
Can I do SEO for myself?
The world of SEO is complex, but most people can easily understand the basics. Even a small amount of knowledge can make a big difference. Free SEO education is widely available on the web, including in guides like this. Combine this with a little practice and you are well on your way to becoming a guru.
Depending on your time commitment, your willingness to learn, and the complexity of your website(s), you may decide you need an expert to handle things for you. Firms that practice SEO can vary; some have a highly specialized focus, while others take a broader and more general approach.
In any case, it’s good to have a firm grasp of the core concepts.
How much of this article do I need to read?
If you are serious about improving search traffic and are unfamiliar with SEO, we recommend reading this guide front-to-back. We’ve tried to make it as concise as possible and easy to understand. There’s a printable PDF version for those who’d prefer, and dozens of linked-to resources on other sites and pages that are also worthy of your attention.