"Real link building is hard work, and it is in no way quick. The easiest way to look at legitimate link building is to view each link as a business relationship. The more time and effort you put into that relationship, the more likely that relationship will help you grow into the position you want to be."
17. Focus on quality in all its forms. Yes, your content should be "compelling, descriptive and differentiated," says Joelle Kaufman, head of partnerships and marketing for BloomReach - but quality extends to the technical side of your site, too. Kaufman's tips:
- Identify and reduce or eliminate duplicate pages and content.
- Make sure your "in-linking" helps users and search engines find their way around your site.
- Identify sources of insight from within and beyond your site to guide the content you create, curate and retain.
- Ensure your content is accessible and optimized for mobile searchers, who Kaufman says are already reaching 50 percent of search traffic.
18. Build a single site for mobile and desktop users. As the digital divide evolves and segments Web searches, there's an increased need for adaptable websites that are cleanly viewed on smartphones, tablets and computers, says Jayme Pretzloff, online marketing director for Wixon Jewelers. Instead of developing a site for each device, consider responsive Web design, which adapts to a device's browser size. In addition to improving the user experience, Pretzloff says this boosts SEO thanks to increased visits, reduced bounce rates, better search engine result rankings, more return visits and more social shares.
19. Look for the best long-tail keywords. Kelly Boyer Sagert, content services manager for The Search Guru, says long-tail keywords are expected to become more important Hummingbird era of Google. Long-tail keywords typically contain more words, and are therefore usually less competitive. They are also more laser-targeted. (Examples include bedroom closet organization tips and kitchen pantry organization tips.) When you find one that perfectly fits your intended audience, it's a terrific find, Sagert says.
20. Schema markup will grow in importance."Since the beginning of the Web, the most important Web coding language has been HTML. As the Web has evolved, so has HTML," Sagert says. The latest version, HTML 5, incorporates sets of HTML tags that help search engines understand structured data. (These tags are cataloged and referenced from Schema.org.) "Structured data helps the search engines quickly and easily understand the different elements of a page, such as articles, events and local address information," she says.
Ultimately, SEO Will Be What It Should've Always Been
"In 2013, the SEO of the last 10 years died - and thank goodness it did," says John Lincoln, co-owner and president of SEO and social at Ignite Visibility. In 2014, he says, SEO will be all about what it always should've been about: "Create a responsive design site, develop a content marketing strategy, engage in social advertising, make sure your website is technically sound and go after as many long-tail keywords as you can, in a responsible way."
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