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2014 Year in Review for SEO and Going Into 2015

With Google continuing its plight to be the best of the search engines for delivering good and informative web pages to you when you search online, you should note that most of the 2014 year brought Google algorithm changes as the highlight for SEO items and impacting business websites for Search online.

Here is some of what factored into 2014 from an SEO perspective:

Pigeon Updates – added to the algorithm in 2014 to help provide signals to improve distance and local ranking parameters. Expect these changes to continue being updated as Google refines how this will really work, for whom, when and where. It’s got some quirky aspects depending on what it is and where you are searching for things.

Hummingbird Updates – even though this set of updates to the Google algorithm first appeared in 2013, Google’s description for this update to help make Search more “precise and fast” is still true for 2014.  This update continued to affect Search by catching and creating algorithm signals to note where you are (in your home, out on the town, in another country, etc), what device you are using (mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop, etc) – what it is you are asking for (what words you used, how you query the database, etc).

Penguin Updates – hit the Google algorithm in 2012 affecting a lot of websites across the board. It was designed to determine and penalize those performing bad or unnatural Link Building techniques. And, it will continue to be factored in and with more updates year after year. This came with many creating new tools for finding bad links and with Google allowing for Disavow link procedures. Don’t expect this to lighten up but also know when and if you need to disavow a link or not. Spend your time creating good pages, blogs or online items that others will naturally want to link to. Then you’ll have no problems.

Panda Updates – the Google Panda update was first introduced in 2011. It has had continued updates and affects on web pages during 2014 because … it should. Because it’s an algorithm update helping to determine and rank pages that have content that is useful, well-presented, unique and trustworthy, the signals used for “Panda” will remain and will most likely continue to incur updates to keep good, quality content as a result on the Google SERPs.

Authorship Removed – this update didn’t hurt anyone’s rankings. It was, however, an item that SEOs used to take advantage of a small image block shown in the Google SERPS. It was a piece of code (rel= author code on web pages) designed by Google to show author images of those writing blogs or articles either on their own websites or on other authoritative sites.  But, turns out it didn’t do what Google intended and it gave SEOs a “trick” to use to help pages be seen better. It was frustrating us to see the misuse by others and so we were perfectly happy to see it go away.

Security & Privacy – Google states that security is a top priority for them. So, in 2014, they called for websites to go from “http” to “https” everywhere. But, don’t block your “http” from your robots.txt file! It wasn’t that long ago that we would see webmasters causing duplicate content issues with having both http and https pages on one website. So don’t do that either and you’ll be just fine!

Going into 2015 What SEO Factors Should Your Website Factor In:

  • Organic still brings the most in quality leads to businesses online. So, please, do not neglect making sure that your SEO factors are considered and any new SEO factors built in as needed.
  • High quality content. Content is still “king” and can only be king if the people around it (your traffic) feel yours deserves to be king. So do what you can to make sure your content is worthwhile, accurate, useful, up-to-date, informative….all that!
  • Strong website & web page architecture is important. Make sure that once someone, or Google, comes to your site, they can figure out where to go, why to keep going and what all you have to offer. These things will help your users and Google. That’s the goal!
  • User-signals & Social-signals are all important factors for 2015. We will see that user-signals (bounce rates, length of time on page, which pages are visited, etc) will hold more weight than a social-signal, but both should play factors in optimizing your online presence.
  • Mobile traffic is increasing. Responsive-design is the way to go if you haven’t considered it already. We bet it will factor in even more this next year!

These set of SEO factors will continue to affect how we optimize website pages for businesses online. If you need help with how to assess these factors for your online and website presence, just ask us. We have great plans for greater online success for 2015!

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