It’s 2014, folks, and Google isn’t waiting around anymore for bloggers who can’t keep up with the changing times. “SEO” is now an outdated term and has officially been archived, living out its retirement along with the phrase, “serving the web.” Digital marketing is now in full swing and more important than ever before as the world continues to move online. Speaking of moving online, if you find yourself still saying, “social media is about to take over,” go ahead and take a seat on the bench—it’s already happened and you’re going to need a bit of practice to get good at the game. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to become a blogging MVP and not let your site fall by the wayside.
The Time Is Now…Mobilize Your Site
How long has your digital marketing professional been telling you that you need a “mobile-friendly” website? Well, mark my words: that time is now. Of the world’s four billion mobile phones in use, over a quarter are smartphones. In addition to that, Microsoft confirmed that people are spending more time than ever glued to their smartphones, at about 2.7 hours per day. You can be sure that these smartphone users won’t be bothering with your site if it isn’t optimized for mobile, so don’t risk losing any business and get that site of yours mobilized. Before you launch your brand new site, jump on your smartphone and iPad to see how your website looks—after all, mobile usage is expected to take over desktop usage in 2014, and you don’t want to be left in the dust.
Don’t Be That Weird Kid In The Corner…Just Socialize
So now that you have a mobile-friendly website, it’s time to pay attention to your online social skills. You may be an introvert as a person, but your business is no longer allowed—and cannot afford—to be a wallflower. Being active on social media is crucial for your business survival and growth. The days of waiting on the sidelines to join social media are over, so you’re either in or you’re out. Dust off those Facebook pages that you claimed over three years ago, and start updating them daily or watch as your site sinks into irrelevance. Josh Bachyniski, a talented Google Webmasters stalker, even warned us that links are out and social is in—so get used to the ways of the changing online world. If you’re running short on time, pick one or two social networks and dominate them; knowing a lot about a few is better than knowing a little about a lot in this instance, and it’s easier to remember to update two networks than twenty networks. With that being said, make sure that Google+ is one of your options—after all, the future of Google is Google+.
Hummingbird-ize!….It’s a Thing, I Swear
Think of Google Hummingbird as that geeky kid in class who tattles on everyone else for cheating: everyone is getting along great and sailing through the day without really maintaining anything of significance, and before they know it they are being asked to give a speech in class. Only those who actually paid attention in class are the ones who pass, and that geeky kid doesn’t miss a beat of it. Until now, we’ve been able to get away with throwing in keywords and links; but if you haven’t been keeping up with the times, you’re going to be stuck like that kid scrambling to give an impromptu speech to the class. Stop stuffing keywords into your content—in fact, stop using the word “keyword” altogether. Keywords are a thing of the past, and content has taken its place. Stop trying to “look” smart and just be smart by filling your content with relevant and useful information. Forget about trying to squeeze in keywords and target phrases, just share your vast knowledge and keywords will start to naturally fall into place. Become the expert that your site claims you are—and yes, it’s really that simple.
In 2014, it’s going to be a whole new ballgame. From 2011 to 2013, we were setting up for the day when increased relevant content, optimized mobile sites and social platforms reigned supreme. Well, that day is finally here and it’s time for us to put all of those lessons and preparation to good use. If your mobile and tablet site isn’t optimized and meeting the new standards, it WILL cost you. This isn’t just a phase, so don’t try to sit out on these new adjustments. Google continues to get smarter with every change in the game, and it’s up to you to stay a step ahead so that your business continues to thrive.