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.
They are some of the most sought after social media thought leaders in the world. They are widely-recognized and are greatly influential on social media. We thought it would be fun to test their intelligence 😉 and ofcourse, we knew that the views and insights shared by these experts would be useful to our readers.
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:
@iMarketingCafe "Create useful content your buyers will love and share."
— Mike Volpe (@mvolpe) October 21, 2013
Jill Whalen, CEO at High Rankings, says:
@iMarketingCafe same as in 1995: SEO is making your website the best it can be for your users and the search engines.
— Jill Whalen (@jillwhalen) October 18, 2013
Gianluca Fiorelli, a Respected SEO Consultant and Moz Associate, says:
@iMarketingCafe hard in 140 characters. I can list 4 "keywords": Trust; Topical Context; Search Entities; Personalization
— Gianluca Fiorelli (@gfiorelli1) October 23, 2013
Gabriella Sannino, International SEO Consultant and Co-founder of Level343, says:
@iMarketingCafe The process may change from client to client, but certain constants remain paramount: relevance, authority & conversion.
— Gabriella Sannino (@SEOcopy) October 18, 2013
Selena Narayanaswamy, Director of Strategy at FoundationDigital, says:
@iMarketingCafe A shift towards full integration in order to support multiple channels.
— Selena Narayanasamy (@selenavidya) October 18, 2013
Surprisingly, we got a response from BruceClayInc – one of the world’s best Internet marketing companies. They say:
@iMarketingCafe SEO 2014? Search presence optimized & integrated with paid, social, conversions & the greater digital #seochat
— Bruce Clay, Inc. (@BruceClayInc) October 4, 2013
Larry Kim, Founder & CTO of WordStream Inc, says:
@iMarketingCafe SEO in 2014 is just marketing. In 90's there was "Web Marketing", now Marketing includes "web" by default. Same w/ SEO imho.
— Larry Kim (@larrykim) October 15, 2013
Takeshi Young, a well known SEO expert and Moz associate, says:
@iMarketingCafe Branding, content marketing, knowledge graph & google authorship. Plus the same stuff that's worked for the past 10 years.
— Takeshi Young (@takeshiyoung) October 8, 2013
Chris Dyson, a popular SEO consultant, says:
@iMarketingCafe 2014 won't be too different to now – if your site is crawlable & technically sound then the right links + content = success
— Chris Dyson (@ChrisLDyson) October 2, 2013
Khem Raj, a highly experienced SEO consultant, opines that spamming will continue in 2014:
@iMarketingCafe fir me SEO 2014 not different than SEO 2K. In 2K as well, u were allowed to spam, build unntural links, keyword stuffng,etc.
— khem Raj (@khem_raj) October 23, 2013
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:
@iMarketingCafe SEO 2014 == good old fashioned marketing. The sooner SEOs get on board with what that is, the less algo affected they'll be.
— MichelleRobbins (@MichelleRobbins) October 18, 2013
Adam Connell, a well-known marketer and SEO nut (as he describes himself), says:
@iMarketingCafe Great content, social activity, editorially earned links – ultimately real engagement with real people (that's my hope)
— Adam Connell (@adamjayc) September 30, 2013
Brian Dean, a popular SEO consultant, says:
@iMarketingCafe @backlinko Outstanding Content + Targeted Outreach=SEO 2014.
— Brian Dean (@Backlinko) October 1, 2013
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:
@iMarketingCafe SEO in 2014 will be driven by unbridled creativity, across technologically sound websites by multi-disciplined marketers.
— Mike Essex (@Koozai_Mike) October 3, 2013
Kane Jamison, an online marketer and owner of Content Harmony, says:
@iMarketingCafe Same as it ever was: build a large amount of content for your target audience and acquire lots of branded links.
— Kane Jamison (@KaneJamison) October 2, 2013
Harris Schachter, SEO strategist at CapitalOne and owner of OptimizePrime LLC, comes up with an interesting description:
@iMarketingCafe SEO 2014 is the result of wholistic cross-channel marketing with a delicious gooey center made of kick-ass content!
— Harris Schachter (@OptimizePrime) October 3, 2013
Another interesting comment from David Wallace, Founder & CEO of SearchRank:
@iMarketingCafe SEO 2014: Not your fathers SEO! SEO combined with content marketing & social media marketing. SEO wears many hats #seosurvey
— David Wallace (@DavidWallace) October 10, 2013
Steve Hughes, Director of Marketing at DashBurst, says:
@iMarketingCafe "Change" it's not static anymore, so don't chase it. Create solid content consistently.
— Steve Hughes (@sbhsbh) October 17, 2013
Dana Lookadoo, a popular SEO consultant and founder of YO! YO! SEO, says:
.@iMarketingCafe Define SEO 2014 for #seosurvey? Know your audience' needs & what they are seeking. Provide answers! #seochat
— Dana Lookadoo (@lookadoo) October 19, 2013
Jayson Akers, Senior Search Strategist at PMDigitial, says:
@iMarketingCafe Real content. Content marketing is dead. Long live content marketing. Successful brands will share quality, engaging…
— Jayson Akers (@azakers) October 21, 2013
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:
@iMarketingCafe continued movement towards context – local and semantic; and emphasis quality (and depth) over quantity or frequency – thnx
— Brent Carnduff (@BrentCarnduff) October 23, 2013
Tim Grice, Head of Search at Branded3, says:
@iMarketingCafe Making real stuff work for Google.
— Tim Grice (@Tim_Grice) October 8, 2013
Brian Carter, a widely-known marketer and consultant, makes a funny yet thoughtful comment:
@iMarketingCafe SEO 2014 = cuckolded eunuch… now just one less powerful arm of all digital marketing.
— Brian Carter (@briancarter) October 23, 2013
Ruud Hein, a widely known web publisher and SEO consultant, says:
@iMarketingCafe #seosurvey SEO 2014 = content SEO a la 2004: content, conversions, & user centric. Nothing new
— Ruud Hein (@RuudHein) October 23, 2013
Garth O’Brien, SEO Director at Catalyst, says:
@iMarketingCafe Chase after gimmicks or ways to manipulate the SEs and eventually you will pay for that tactic. 🙂 #penguin #panda #seochat
— Garth O'Brien – SEO (@garthobrien) October 23, 2013
@iMarketingCafe It will be the same as the last decade. Focus on the basics and the goal of the SE and you will have success. #seochat
— Garth O'Brien – SEO (@garthobrien) October 23, 2013
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:
@iMarketingCafe 'marketing' #seochat
— simon penson (@simonpenson) October 7, 2013
Alesia Krush, a Digital Marketer at LinkAssistant, makes an interesting comment:
@iMarketingCafe Masks falling down. True entities rock, can't hide behind keywords. SEOs playing WITH G, not against. Schema saves the day.
— Alesia Krush (@AlesiaKrush) October 12, 2013
Mauro D’Andrea, an Internet Marketer and Founder of Blog Growth, says:
@iMarketingCafe the more I go on, the more I understand that SEO is just a little piece of the cake 🙂
— Mauro D'Andrea (@MauroDAnd) October 15, 2013
Steve Plunkett, Sr.Search Scientist at RockFishDigital, says:
@iMarketingCafe seo = optimization of content for optimum query visibility and retrieval in a search query.
— steveplunkett (@steveplunkett) October 16, 2013
Christoph C. Cemper, an Online Marketer and CEO of LinkResearchTools, says:
@iMarketingCafe Cleaning up Toxic Links and starting to do things right.
— Christoph C. Cemper (@cemper) October 18, 2013
Nick LeRoy, an SEO consultant and Owner of BackBreakingSEO, says:
@iMarketingCafe ranking, converting, and cashing in. As simple as that. #SEO14
— Nick LeRoy (@NickLeRoy) October 5, 2013
Zac Johnson, an Internet marketing expert, says:
A big headache! Still focus on quality niche focus content. “@iMarketingCafe: @moneyreign Can you define ‘SEO 2014’? #seosurvey #seochat”
— Zac Johnson (@moneyreign) October 8, 2013
Alan Bleiweiss, a popular SEO consultant and Founder of Bleiweiss Consulting, says:
@iMarketingCafe SEO 2014: Quality Uniqueness Authority Relevance Trust QUART
— Alan Bleiweiss (@AlanBleiweiss) October 20, 2013
Andrew Girdwood, an Internet Marketer and Director at DigitasLBi, says:
@iMarketingCafe Yes, "SEO" = "Search Engine Objective" and involves Data, Audience, Engagement and Discovery. #seochat
— Andrew Girdwood (@AndrewGirdwood) October 24, 2013
Peter Attia, Director of Marketing at SkinnyLimits and Founder of CucumberNebula, says:
@iMarketingCafe The same as any form of marketing. Make things people want, instead of looking for less time/money consuming shortcuts.
— Peter Attia (@PeterAttia) October 4, 2013
Nicole Beckett, an SEO copywriter and President of Premier Content Source, says:
@iMarketingCafe Fewer tricks, more quality. Make humans happy, and you should be able to make Google happy 🙂
— Nicole Beckett (@NicoleBeckett) October 4, 2013
Erwan Derlyn, a Digital Marketing Expert and Marketing Manager at iZettle, says:
@iMarketingCafe I would say #SEO is the art of making your website appealing both for users and search engines in order to attract traffic.
— Erwan Derlyn (@AirForceWan) October 25, 2013
Joanna Vaiou, an SEO Expert and Consultant, says:
@iMarketingCafe Hi! Writing Long Tail SEO educational targeting articles & ranking visual marketing materials on top #google page. #SEO
— Joanna Vaiou (@joannavaiou) October 25, 2013
Salman Ahsan, an SEO consultant and Owner of EliteKey2Marketing, says:
@iMarketingCafe for long-term SEO & ranking, produce quality content (1000-2000 words), interlink & use Youtube and social networking sites
— Salman Ahsan (@salmanofficial) October 26, 2013
A late but apt response from Grant Simmons, SEO director at TheSearchAgency
@iMarketingCafe Missed your survey… My response? "Ensuring a match of query (intent + context) to share-worthy content answers."
— Grant Simmons (@simmonet) November 13, 2013
Robert O’Haver, a highly experienced SEO consultant and author, responds:
@iMarketingCafe The SEO fundamentals have not changed follow SEO best practices and you can't go wrong.
— Robert O'Haver (@RobertOHaver) November 26, 2013
• 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.
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This article addresses SEOs across board – so, if you are an experienced professional, you may already know some of the things I have discussed in the article and they may sound obvious but they have been purposefully discussed to connect the dots and present the whole picture so that SEOs at all levels ( including beginners/newbies ) can understand.