How to Optimize Your Content for SEO in 2014

Search Engines in 2014:
The arena has changed from previous years in which a website could use “keyword stuffing tactics” in content without value for the user to potentially gain rankings. Google has re-written their search engine to promote a new approach that analyzes a page for relative semantic value. (The official industry name for this change is called “Hummingbird“)

User queries in search engines of course still make use of keywords to find pages. What has changed is how much value a page is given over a page that offers poor or weak (thin) content while still trying to gain rankings by the use of “keywords only”.

4 prime SEO recommendations for healthy content creation include:

  • 1- Unique
  • 2- Shareable
  • 3- Engaging
  • 4- Useful

My favorite analogy of this approach is asking yourself “Does the page content solve a problem?

(Straight from the 2014 Google Guidelines Employee classified Training Manual) (screenshot)
Google now uses the E-A-T system to determine if a page presents value described as:
“Content must reflect expertise and be authoritative and trustworthy”



Key Content Directives for 2014+:

  • 2014 “Hummingbird” Update recommends “more content, longer overall lengths optimized for better user experience” with specific content preferred over thin content. – (not an opinion…this has been mentioned in over 12 articles I’ve read)
  • Focus of content for SEO has moved away from keywords and more towards “content that answers queries
    (Note: Google has gotten smarter, they can determine “traffic content” over “beneficial content”)
    (solve their problems…aka “what is population health management and why is it important?”)

  • Consider an ecosystem of related terms in your content. This is described as breaking down content into both “relative” keywords and “proof” keywords (keywords used by top ranking sites to gain ranking for their query pages)
  • Writers need to use words that their audience uses (this also trickles over into social media tactics)
  • Make sure the content legitimately offers value to the reader
  • Try and be as unique as possible in your copy writing
  • Avoid duplicate content (not a direct Search engine penalty, but a factor that can impede rankings and/or indexation)
  • Take into consideration that “Shareable” content is now a important factor which arrives form the notion that “shared content” indicates credibility and trust thru user interaction.  (aka E-A-T system indicated above)
  • Lots of great content will keep the search engines happy, thin content will not (Note: Recent Panda 4.0 ( algorithm ) update is designed around this idea)

“The Panda algorithm, which was designed to help boost great-quality content sites while pushing down thin or low-quality content sites in the search results. The idea with the Panda updates is to try and send searchers to sites with high quality, helpful, unique and relevant content that’s going to satisfy the intention behind their query in the best way possible.

  • Weed out and discontinue thin or weak content to elevate high value to the overall site. Suggestions also include re-conditioning old content to ramp it up to more value-driven.

Google has been stated as putting more value on CTR and the amount of time spent on a site over “bounce rates”.
I translated this to meaning that you should worry less about if a user checks your site’s latest content and then leaves, as long as they keep returning.

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