11. The role of SEO experts will evolve. "There will be a continued rebirth of SEO agencies as content marketing or inbound marketing shops. It's already started to happen," says Chad Pollitt, director of marketing for DigitalRelevance. In addition, the marriage of SEO and traditional public relations will represent another SEO trend, taking the name "digital PR." Finally, Pollitt says, expect marketing communications and PR departments to swallow up SEO departments.
What's Your Best SEO Advice For 2014?
12. Identify your customers' biggest pain points by asking sales and support team members for feedback. "That means those questions aren't being addressed on your site," says SmartBear Software's Barker. "Write your content plan around those pain points and questions."
13. Stay honest. "Focus on generating high-quality content, creating a website that really serves your users and avoiding old link-building tactics entirely," says Namu Travel Group's Halloran. "If you build a 'killer app' of some sort, you'll most likely attract quality links regardless."
14. Be an authority, don't talk about yourself, and be better than your competitors. "Don't just have another company blog using announcements that nobody wants to read. Add value. Educate your target audience," says Adam Connell, marketing manager for Linkology. "Tap into influencers within your market sector and use them to distribute your content."
Don't worry about being unique, Connell adds; just be better than your competitors. "That's what Social Media Examiner did, and now [it's] one of the biggest marketing/business blogs on the planet."
15. Earn attention and develop your network. Pollitt recommends creating problem-solving and/or entertaining content and getting it featured by the online media and industry influencers. "Brands that can truly earn media will be the biggest SEO winners," he says.
To do this, build a network of writers, bloggers, editors, journalists and industry influencers, Pollitt says, as "these are the folks you'll rely on to write about and share your content." In addition, pitch your firm's executives as possible columnists on popular industry websites. Their expertise is valuable, Pollitt says, and the search engines respect link citations from reputable sources such as those industry sites.
16. Consider link building as another form of business networking. Jason Whitt, the "geek of all trades" at Geek Powered Studios, notes that there's been wide speculation about links becoming obsolete. "While I can understand the reasoning behind this, I don't believe it to be true," he says. "It comes down to the types of links you aim to build for a website and the intent behind acquiring the link."
Links will become obsolete if your Link-building strategy is limited to paying for inclusions in directories and posting blog comments with spammy links, Whitt says.
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