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Could your business survive a manual or algorithmic Google penalty? That's the most important question for SEOs in 2014.
Over the past two years we have seen the number and frequency of algorithm updates and manual penalties increase as Google's Webmaster Spam team gets better at identifying tactics. This only looks set to continue over the next two years.
So how can you adjust your tactics to get results without risking everything?*
In this post I'm going to run through an SEO strategy that meets Google's Webmaster Guidelines, takes advantage of new and developing technologies and diversifies your traffic sources so that you're not so heavily reliant on Google search traffic.
If you're completely stuck with SEO or unsure you're going about it the right way then you can learn everything in this post on our hands-on, workshop-style SEO training courses.
I've included tips for content, link building, technical, offline, local, social and mobile considerations to create an overall picture of what search engines see as a 'good' site and help you give your SEO strategy a makeover for 2014.
Last month, Danny Sullivan revealed that search marketers were to lose a new source of referrer data - iOS 6 Google searches. This comes off the back of updates to Google and Firefox in the past year that have also resulted in less referrer data. Thanks to a clever Google Analytics dashboard from Dan Barker, we can now see the true impact of the iOS 6 update. The less referrer data there is, the harder it is for search marketers to monitor and refine their strategy based on actual data rather than guesswork.
Something that Brandwatch's Andy Keetch spoke about at the Content Marketing Show we really emphasise on our SEO courses is the importance of data-informed marketing - that's hard to reinforce when that data is disappearing!
So where has all the referrer data gone? And how can we get it back? Let's think like Sherlock and go hunting for answers...
The Great Loss of Referral Data - Background
Just over a year ago in October 2011, Google created SSL search for signed-in users in an effort to improve privacy. This meant that any organic searches were put through to analytics with the keyword (not provided), which immediately created a headache on our Google Analytics courses with everyone wanted to know what was going on!
So in your traffic report you can see how many people arrived on your site via organic search, but for over 30% of searches you just see (not provided) as a keyword. Google originally said this would only affect single figures.
Firefox then did the same earlier this year - switching to Google SSL search by default when using the built in search bar.
Interestingly, while the move to SSL is touted as a 'privacy' measure, if the clicks come from paid ads, you can see the keywords that sent people to your site. This muddies the waters a bit when it comes to privacy and comes close to being a 'pay for data' issue.
However, hiding keyword data was just the start...
To go with our new site, we've created an even more comprehensive content marketing resource: our Content Marketing eBook which can (and should!) be downloaded here.
On Tuesday 20th November we attended the first Content Marketing Show in London, a new offshoot of BrightonSEO. As you can probably guess, it was a day dedicated to content marketing in all shapes and sizes, with a diverse line-up of speakers giving insight into how to source, create and promote your business using content.
We decided that instead of the usual conference round-up post, we would compile the best advice from the day into a complete guide to content marketing. We've also added our own insight based on our experiences at Silicon Beach as well advice from top industry experts. Hopefully this will serve as a one-stop resource to learn about content marketing - but don't forget that we do run regular content marketing workshops in Brighton! We also touch on content marketing from an SEO perspective on our SEO courses if you want to learn more about how content works as part of a wider marketing strategy.
We've picked our top 16 points, but if you feel we've missed anything then please let us know in the comments or tweet us @sbttraining and we'll be happy to add it in.
TL;DR - Tell Stories, Draw an Emotional Response, Everyone is Influential, Be Bold, Be Different, Be Nice, Know your Audience, Know yourself, Use the Tools at your Disposal, Use Data to Drive Content, Perfect your Briefs, Pitch it Right, Content Flows, and finally If in Doubt, Steal from the Experts.