SEO 2014: The Biggest SEO Survey of the Year

Kavin Paulson
Published on November 10, 2013
Jill Whalen, SEO Expert

Why did we do this survey? As Google tightened the screws on SEOs lately by specifically targeting what used to be one the most important parts of SEO process, i.e. link building, we wanted to take the pulse of the SEO community. We wanted to know how SEO experts viewed this significant change implemented by Google that transformed the whole SEO landscape.

This has been the biggest SEO survey of its kind in this year so far. We conducted it on Twitter. It was not a general survey. We wanted to collect the opinions of only the experts in the field. The iMarketing Café team contacted more than 300 SEO experts around the world. We, as far as possible, expected them to define ‘SEO 2014’ in 140 characters (a tweet) and some of them really came up with great answers. We got a decent response from the SEO community even though the survey was not much publicized. All those who have responded are truly experts and have several years of experience in the SEO industry.


The iMarketing Café team heartily thanks them for taking time out to respond to our tweets. Here by, we bring you some interesting expert opinions on how will SEO change in 2014.

Mike Volpe, CMO at Hubspot, says:

Jill Whalen, CEO at High Rankings, says:

Gianluca Fiorelli, a Respected SEO Consultant and Moz Associate, says:

Gabriella Sannino, International SEO Consultant and Co-founder of Level343, says:

Selena Narayanaswamy, Director of Strategy at FoundationDigital, says:

Surprisingly, we got a response from BruceClayInc – one of the world’s best Internet marketing companies. They say:

Larry Kim, Founder & CTO of WordStream Inc, says:

Takeshi Young, a well known SEO expert and Moz associate, says:

Chris Dyson, a popular SEO consultant, says:

Khem Raj, a highly experienced SEO consultant, opines that spamming will continue in 2014:

Bill Sebald, a notable SEO consultant and owner of Greenlane SEO, says:

I’m banking on next year’s SEO centering around more creative online marketing campaigns. A lot of SEOs focus on raw data insights for their work, without appending that data to marketing ideas. Now with some of that data being restricted in [not provided], and Google turning up still somewhat-unknown other factors, the bigger sites, making the bigger brand moves, are going to get SERP recognition because they’ve always been more “big picture”.

If big brands are doing so well in Google, and it’s not because of a conspiracy, then it might be because Google is focusing on the big marketing contributions (and/or returns) through other algorithm signals. I believe in 2014, SEOs are going to want to put their marketing hat on even tighter and make more creative marketing and brand decisions to get Google’s attention.

FYI: Email response

Michelle Robbins, Vice President of Technology at Third Door Media, says:

Adam Connell, a well-known marketer and SEO nut (as he describes himself), says:

Brian Dean, a popular SEO consultant, says:

Brett Synder, Director of SEO at NeboWeb, has shared lots of insight. Friend, read between the lines.

September was a pretty telling month for SEOs to understand where the industry is going in 2014. We officially lost our keyword referring data and Google rolled out what they’re calling the biggest algorithm change since 2001. Before we talk about what SEO in 2014 is going to be about, we have to talk about what its not going to be about. It’s not going to be about keywords anymore. Hummingbird was designed to focus on the meaning behind words, not necessarily the words themselves. Removing keyword data, if you think about it, is a means to the same end. It forces SEOs to think about the meaning, the intent, and the motivation behind the keywords rather than the keywords themselves. It would be cliche to say SEO in 2014 is going to be more about the user because that’s what SEO was in 2013, in 2012, and so on back to the beginning of search. SEO in 2014, therefore, is going to be defined by analysis at a much deeper level than ever before. It’s going to be defined bywhy and not by what.

Simply put, SEO in 2014 is going to be defined by psychographics. Search engines (not just Google!) want to focus on user intent and generate results based on that user intent. Market research will become even more important and communicating the competitive advantages of your product/service effectively will drive success. Keywords remain, of course, a necessary conduit to your users but recognize the shifts in the landscape dictate that SEOs must refocus their efforts toward how and why their product/service solves a human need to be successful in 2014 and beyond.

FYI: Email response

Mike Essex, Online Marketing Manager at Koozai, says:

Kane Jamison, an online marketer and owner of Content Harmony, says:

Harris Schachter, SEO strategist at CapitalOne and owner of OptimizePrime LLC, comes up with an interesting description:

Another interesting comment from David Wallace, Founder & CEO of SearchRank:

Steve Hughes, Director of Marketing at DashBurst, says:

Dana Lookadoo, a popular SEO consultant and founder of YO! YO! SEO, says:

Jayson Akers, Senior Search Strategist at PMDigitial, says:

Jayson’s full response given below:

Real content. Content marketing is dead. Long live content marketing. Successful brands will share quality, engaging…expert-crafted content published cross channel (on/offsite,social) in a variety of forms (static articles to dynamic IGs). Serious brands should be expanding digital marketing budgets to include robust content strategy & expert copywriting

Brent Carnduff, a marketing specialist and founder of Echelon SEO, says:

Tim Grice, Head of Search at Branded3, says:

Brian Carter, a widely-known marketer and consultant, makes a funny yet thoughtful comment:

Ruud Hein, a widely known web publisher and SEO consultant, says:

Garth O’Brien, SEO Director at Catalyst, says:

Garth shared some more points later.

@iMarketingCafe agree with @lookadoo Sites need to grow a pair & publish content their customers are seeking. Not marketing lingo &……image laden pages. Content = targeted and focused text. 🙂

Simon Pension, a widely-known Marketer and Owner of ZazzleMedia, simply puts it:

Alesia Krush, a Digital Marketer at LinkAssistant, makes an interesting comment:

Mauro D’Andrea, an Internet Marketer and Founder of Blog Growth, says:

Steve Plunkett, Sr.Search Scientist at RockFishDigital, says:

Christoph C. Cemper, an Online Marketer and CEO of LinkResearchTools, says:

Nick LeRoy, an SEO consultant and Owner of BackBreakingSEO, says:

Zac Johnson, an Internet marketing expert, says:

Alan Bleiweiss, a popular SEO consultant and Founder of Bleiweiss Consulting, says:

Andrew Girdwood, an Internet Marketer and Director at DigitasLBi, says:

Peter Attia, Director of Marketing at SkinnyLimits and Founder of CucumberNebula, says:

Nicole Beckett, an SEO copywriter and President of Premier Content Source, says:

Erwan Derlyn, a Digital Marketing Expert and Marketing Manager at iZettle, says:

Joanna Vaiou, an SEO Expert and Consultant, says:

Salman Ahsan, an SEO consultant and Owner of EliteKey2Marketing, says:

A late but apt response from Grant Simmons, SEO director at TheSearchAgency

Robert O’Haver, a highly experienced SEO consultant and author, responds:


• Content is emperor now, not king 😉

• Creating great content is not an option anymore. You don’t have a choice.

• Greater Inclination towards content marketing

• Social signals will play a significant role (step up your social presence, engage your target audience effectively and meaningfully)

• SEO continues to evolve. The term ‘inbound marketing’ is often used interchangeably by the Industry leaders these days.

• No more shortcuts

• Shift from link building to link earning

• Be creative in order to compete and excel

• Focus more on user intent and requirements.

• Build audience, trust, authority and presence. Don’t get too obsessed with keyword rankings. When you get obsessed, you are likely to make mistakes.

• Spamming will still continue in 2014 (But, chances of getting caught are MUCH higher)

• Clean up all the toxic links, even if you have still not got affected. The worst is yet to come.

• Factors that are gaining importance: Topical context, semantic search, Google authorship, relationship between search entities, Schema, Personalization, Co-occurrence and co-citation.

• Basic technical stuff still matters a lot.

• Good Links are still powerful

• Provide best user experience in all possible ways

• Don’t ignore mobile SEO

• SEO 2014 = Marketing

Please do let us know your views in the comment section below. Tell us how you think SEO will change in 2014.

You can also ask questions to these experts. Ask questions to a person of your choice by mentioning his/her name.

Please like, tweet and share this post around, help us to spread the word! Thanks.

Presented by: TheiMarketingCafe Team

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Copyright @ TheiMarketingCafé.com . You can use/publish excerpts from this post provided you give us the credit (link back).


Kavin Paulson


Kavin is a seasoned digital marketer with more than 10 years of hands-on experience handling multiple projects of various clients from different industries. A decade-long career in digital marketing has helped him gain diverse skill sets, rich experience and in-depth knowledge of how things work in the digital ecosystem. As a digital marketing consultant over a period of 10+ years, he has led many digital marketing campaigns to achieve set objectives and have delivered impressive results. Apart from working on digital marketing projects and handling clients, he does read, analyze and write about all things digital. "I welcome you to the community and invite you to be a part of it. Hope you like what we do here at The iMarketing Café. Your valuable suggestions and feedback is always welcome. Stay tuned!" - Kavin

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