2014 is here and it’s time to review, revise and update your SEO strategies. The New Year also means that plenty of changes have been made to search engines making them smarter and better able to cater to their users. They have become more advanced and you can’t rely on Black Hat SEO techniques. Black Hat SEO techniques will just get your website marked as spam by search engines. There is an increased focus on social media, especially Google Plus which you have to keep in account.

So what changes should you be making to your SEO strategy.

Take a Different Angle to Keywords

Keywords no longer work the way they use to. Search engines are not selecting content based on the keywords typed by the user. Google’s Hummingbird update has made the search engines look at the intent behind the search query. Don’t just use direct keywords, use synonyms that relate to your content.

Also, more importantly, begin shifting your keyword strategy towards long tail keywords and keyword phrases. This is because they are better equipped at capturing the intent of the user. You cannot rely on an anchor keyword to gain attention for a search engine.

Social Media is Gaining a Bigger Role

Search engines cannot ignore social media platform because they play a big role in improving traffic to a website and are a major reason for making content go viral. Facebook’s Graph Search and Google Plus’s improvements are creating better user experiences. Information on a user is crossing social media and search engines to give better results.

You cannot avoid Google Plus any more. The Hummingbird update has increased the role of Google Plus in a user’s search and creating your Google Plus profile will give a boost to your page rank.

Also, the number of followers you are getting on a social platform will better your SEO rank. You have to increase your focus on social media and do it right.

Become Mobile Friendly

2012 saw 30 billion searches through mobile devices and analytics firm BIA / Kelsey projects that mobile queries will overtake desktop searches by 2015. Search engines are looking at how friendly your website is to mobiles users. You have focus on aspects of design optimisation, text reduction, the pages available, the website load time and others. A user should be able to easily access your website through a 4 inch, 5 inch and 10 inch screen. Your website can’t take more than 2 seconds to load and its aspect ratio should adjust for most major devices.

Content is the Way to Go

The more changes that occur on search engines, the more it points to the need to focus on the content you are creating. Come up with content which users are likely to search for. A simple way to do this is use Google Prompts. Create content around topics, not keywords.

The content you craft has to cater to your audience; it has to be well researched, well written and of good quality.

Keywords are slowly being phased out and you have to look to content creation to lead the way in your SEO strategy. At the same time, for everything you create, you should have an alternative mobile friendly page.  This New Year the SEO world is changing and you need to change with it.