Best SEO Practices for your Business in 2014

January 30, 2014 at 12:40 PM

SEO - the art and science of ranking highly on search engines -  is ever-evolving. As we start 2014, there are many important changes that small business owners and webmasters who wish to maximize their online presence and search engine results may wish to take note of.

Since SEO began, links have been the currency of the industry.  As a result, direct “Link-Building” was the mainstream method of gaining high rankings; and so commenced the creation of thousands of poorly written & designed guest posts, sponsored posts, and embeddable infographics. Since the latest and greatest Google Algorithm update – “Humming Bird” and their announcement that guest posts will be of very limited SEO value moving forwards, SEO professionals have had to reevaluate their tactics. Humming Bird is a totally new algorithm and has reinforced the need for websites to focus on the production of high quality content with greater semantic relevance being afforded to Google Authorship and features such as In-Depth Articles.

Google NOW (Google’s version of  the iPhone’s Siri) has placed more emphasis on personalized and local search; whilst the restriction of keywords data in Google Analytics has created a bit of an industry headache to say the least.

Sign Up for E-News

Google Analytics and the (Not Provided) Keywords

Understanding how people reach your site is a crucial aspect of SEO for many reasons, making Google Analytics a must for anyone serious about SEO. In the past, you could use Google Analytics to see what people searched for, before clicking through to your website. This allowed you to understand the demand for certain products, the return on investment in terms of your SEO campaigns, and the ‘quality’ and profitability of traffic that was referred from different sources and searches.  Google withdrew this data in 2013 and replaced all the keywords with “(Not Provided)”.

This was big news in the industry and caused several issues for SEO professionals and webmasters alike. To a certain extent it was rectified in January 2014 when Google reintroduced keyword reporting in Google WebMaster Tools:

image05

You only get data for from the previous 90 days, but this is still extremely useful. You’ll need a Google account to get WebMaster Tools and Google Analytics. This URL is the best place to sign up. For wordpress.org users, go to your plugins menu, and search for Google Analyticator.

You can also glean more useful keyword data from:

  • Paid Search data (if you have Pay Per Click advertising)
  • Bing Webmaster tools provides full keyword data, but obviously, only from their search engine
  • Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends still provide important information on search volumes

Local Search & Google Maps

LocalSEO

With the introduction of local SEO map/business listings and Google NOW using Google’s social media website – Google+ has become more crucial than ever. Google NOW remembers a user’s location, previous searches and even YouTube viewing history to make personalized search results on people’s cell phones. To adapt to this, webmasters must recognize the importance of local map listings and set up a Google+ business page.

To create a Google+ business page go to - http://www.google.com/+/business/ and follow the steps. I found one step in the page setup slightly confusing – if you choose “local business or place” as your type of listing, Google invites you to search for your business on Google Maps, but you’ll only be able to find it if your business is already listed with Google in some way, or if you have set up rich snippets code (which most people don’t even know how to do). If your business isn’t already listed, try searching for your business name anyway, then choose “No, these are not my businesses” to get to the next stage:

BusinessPageThe rest of the process is pretty straight forward and should only take a few minutes to fill in.  You do however need to confirm your address via phone call or postcard so that Google can be sure you are the business owner and you are located where you say you are.

Authorship

Google Authorship can provide your site with more authority if used properly. It also displays a small picture of the author in the SERPs which increases click-through-rate:

InDepthArticles

You’ll need a Google+ account to set this up. The process is fairly straight forward and is outlined in my blog post.  If you do write any high-quality guest posts for websites that you are familiar with (remember not to overuse this link building technique), put a link back to your Google+ page from each article, or from the author page you have on the blog/website for which you write. This will mean that all your contributions are associated with your ‘authorship’. The more linked to and shared your articles are, the more authority your authorship will possess. This in turn will influence the SEO metrics of your own domain and guest posts.

Conclusion

SEO in 2014 is still all about ‘great content’ such as relevant and interesting articles and entertaining and/or educational videos which are likely to create social shares and generate natural links online. Overall, SEO is moving toward integrated marketing campaigns and away from online-only strategies such as guest posting and embeddable infographics. If you are a small business owner, be sure to have a Google account in order to get access to programs such as Google Analytics, and create a business page to make sure that you appear on Google Local Search results. In addition, if you are creating a lot of articles on your company blog, and doing high quality guest posts, you should set up Google Authorship, and link back to Google+ account in any guest posts that you write.

I hope this article has been useful, and thank you for taking the time to read it. Many of the recent changes to SEO have been technical but this should not demotivate anyone.  You can still gain high rankings and reap high financial reward for your SEO efforts without a high level of technical SEO and code.

Photo by Eddie Codel

AnnMarie Quintaglie McIlwain is a former marketing executive with Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson and consultant to several Fortune 100 companies.  Now, as Founder and CEO of CareerFuel.net, she is a social entrepreneur who connects people with the information and inspiration they need in order to get jobs and start businesses. CareerFuel is the only site that gives people what they need to know to find jobs or start businesses plus blogs and short films about real people who made it happen. 

A recipient of numerous civic and leadership awards, AnnMarie is a Board member of CFIRA.org, was a participant in the first White House Entrepreneurial Session, the recent WeOwnIt Summit, and the first Alley to the Valley Event.  She is also a member of 85Broads and Startup America.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Summit

Summit’s Unfortunate Message to Its Kindergarten Students

November 30, 2016

When we drop off our five-year old daughter at the public school where she currently attends kindergarten in Summit, New Jersey, she and her friends all appear quite similar. I see the same smiles, the same backpacks and the same level of excitement about learning. However, there is one difference among the students. Some of the children attend a full-day kindergarten program, while others, a ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, December 6, 10:15 AM

SAGE Eldercare, Summit

Fun-to-Be-Fit Exercise Class

Community Calendar

Tue, December 6, 11:30 AM

SAGE Eldercare, Summit

Tai Chi

Community Calendar

Summit Police Blotter

December 5, 2016

11/15 - At 0905 hours a report was taken for a theft from a business. The incident occurred between 11/4 at 1500 hours and 11/9 at 0830 hours at a business on Beauvoir Avenue. The victim reported that two HP Chromebooks were taken; valued at approximately $500.00 each.

11/17 - Sandra M. Cruz-Huertas, 33, of Bound Brook was arrested and charged with theft by deception. Ms. Cruz-Huertas was ...

Summit Free Public Library Board of Trustees Meeting Set for Dec. 14; Facility Notes Delayed Opening Dec. 16

December 5, 2016

The Board of Trustees of the Summit Free Public Library will hold its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, December 14, at the Library. The meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m.

The Library also announced it will open late, at 10:30 a.m., on Friday, December 16, 2016, due to a staff event.

The library hours are Monday through Thursday, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm; Friday and Saturday 9:00 am to 5:00 ...

Video: Point View's Petrides Indicates Volatile Variables Could Spoil Market's Momentum

Point View Wealth Management Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, live on CNBC from 30 Rock discussing potential near-term risks to the market:

video.cnbc.com

Point View Wealth Management, Inc. works with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and comprehensive financial planning, to develop and ...

Beckerman’s Theory of Everything

Any armchair theoretical physicist knows that Stephen Hawking has pursued a lifelong quest to come up with a Theory of Everything. This all-encompassing theory would tie together general relativity (large scale and high mass galaxies, stars, etc), quantum theory (quantum mechanics, quarks, atoms, subatomic particles), and Newtonian physics (gravity on small bodies, gas laws, electromagnetism) to ...

Retirement Planning in the Gig Economy

Self-employed? Add one more responsibility to your to do list: managing your own retirement plan. Whether you work for yourself on the side, outside of your “real” job, or you are solely self-employed, you have options. As is the case with employer-provided plans, almost all of them allow you to deduct contributions now, avoid current tax on earnings, and take taxable distributions ...

Ain't That Grand?

'Tis The Season to Enjoy 'Off Peak' Pricing for Weddings and Special Events at Legendary Destination

The Grand Summit Hotel in prestigious Summit has been synonymous with high-end social events for more than 145 years. Long considered to be among the most prolific food and beverage programs in North Jersey, the culinary program strives to stay ahead of the latest trends under the direction of Executive Chef Charles Burke.

It has been an industry secret for years, that the best deals can be ...

Hair Matters

Dry Scalp?... RELAX

As we approach the time of year that can become hectic and sometimes stressful, finding time to relax and take care of "you" can become a bit of a challenge.  Also this time of year, many of us start  to experience a dry scalp. Did you know that in less than a half an hour a nice, soothing scalp massage can ease you through the stress of the season and ...

Getting a Handle on Thanksgiving

This year, on our National Day of Thanks, I would like to express my gratitude for having hands.

We typically don’t thank our body parts because they seldom leave us.  Most of us have not experienced unfortunate accidents or suffered the horrible consequences of war; tragic events  which might cause us to lose a limb.  

Most of us take our fingers and hands and elbows ...