Having websites on top of search results is a dream of every business. If you are able to speak about your product or service you're really proud of will definitely improve your online presence. Getting correct customers on website can only be happen with proper planning & execution. Now businesses must start planning budget & defensive strategies to cope up with the SEO challenges in 2014.
Being the Head of SEO at Envigo Marketing, my responsibility is to work on generating ROIs for clients. Evaluating certain KPIs – often organic traffic growth, conversions & revenue from organic traffic are some important metrics we must consider before planning. If you are thinking about just recording top landing pages or your keywords which are generating high traffic from Google Analytics for further planning, then I have news for you – "You are on wrong track". Google Analytics cannot only give the complete picture for your target. Taking decisions on the basis of incomplete data will not only waste your resources and time but will also result in the failure of ROI. Lot of other important analysis is required to have proper SEO planning in 2014.
- Google trends or social networking sites will give you some data about latest trends in searches on internet.
- Competitive analysis to find out competitor's presence by using various top online analytics websites like Moz, majesticseo, Ahrefs etc .
- Use GWT to have links analysis of last year of the website. Classify them into bad & good links.
- Checklist of all important factors needs to be listed out to have benchmarks in 2014.
There are some challenges which we normally face while on our way to the right track:
- Market & Google Flux: Google is now frequently updating its algorithm to fight with spam and it will continue to do so in the future. If your website is ranking well this year and earning a lot from Google, it doesn't automatically mean that the same condition will be there the next year. Always be up-to-date about the latest algorithms of Google and find out if your website is being affected due to their update.
- Website structure: Take a hard look at your website's navigational structure. Use Google Analytics to know entry/ Exit paths, bounce rates etc. Try to perform A/B testing of the website through which you can get an idea of user behavior. How they are navigating to internal pages and from which page they are exiting? Providing easy navigation to users will help in reducing bounce rates & increasing time spent which will also result in rankings improvements. Great design matters if it is able to drive conversions.
- Traditional SEO is dying : SEO is not dead completely but underhanded techniques surely are. Websites having low quality links have been degraded by Google now. The days when SEOs did unlimited link building to gain rankings are long gone. Lots of free web directories and article sites have been delisted due to low quality content and link spamming. Please stop doing this traditional spamming SEO and plan to impress users in 2014
- Content has always been king : Content Marketing has now entered into the SEO industry. This is one of most effective way of engaging users. Find out your customers, their needs and list them out. By answering their queries and participating in daily discussions will surely help in improving your visibility. Try to build trust not just by sharing links of website but by understanding their needs.
- Bad links pointing to your website: Sometimes some spammers link your website with spammed websites and one day you lost all your traffic & rankings from search engines. I would suggest you to keep looking at links pointing to your websites and use disavow tools to remove them from Google Index.
- Getting correct & accurate data: Calculate & estimate trends to see how much traffic can be expected from organic searches. Get information about user data such as how they are reaching your website. Find out sources from where you are getting most traffic, metrics like operating systems, browsers used, location etc. Also, what could be the reason of not getting traffic from other sources? Use GWT to know about those keywords which are coming under "not provided" section of Google Analytics. Google trends will also help you to prepare your next target.
Conclusion: I am sure that there would be some critical challenges that I have missed. I would love to hear from you. What other important challenges might/have come your way? Let me know in the comments below.