Rethinking Your SEO Strategies for 2014With the end of 2013 coming up a little more quickly than perhaps we’d like, it’s time to start thinking about our resolutions for next year. The top of the list might be working off those extra Holiday pounds, but if you’re an online marketer, an equally important priority will be revisiting your SEO techniques in 2014.

Search Engine Optimization really is an ongoing process. While the coming and going of the years might bring in subtle changes, most of the skills you’ve accumulated this year will translate fairly well into the next. Stick with us here for a look at some important resolutions you’ll want to commit to for another successful year of online marketing.

Resolve to Learn Something New

The start of a new year might be just the kick in the pants you need to look at your skill set a little more objectively. While you may be perfectly competent and comfortable with your current success rate, web marketing remains a fickle mistress. There’s always a new trick to learn.

Case in point: Google. The big news in SEO in the second half of 2013 was Google’s new “Hummingbird” algorithm. Now that we’re living in an increasingly mobile-first world, Google stepped up its game and introduced new techniques to factor in the increasing number of mobile searches being performed.

In other words, there are new tricks for marketers to learn in the coming year and beyond. Hummingbird is taking into account the fact that more searches than ever are being dictated in the form of a question; as a result, subtle tweaks will need to be made to future content.

Due in no small part to Google’s influence, 2013 has been called the year of mobile search. More accurately, there will be multiple “years of mobile search,” and we’re right in the middle of them.

Resolve to Increase Your Conversions

This is what it’s all about, right? If you’ve found your conversions lagging this year, 2014 is the perfect opportunity to revisit your conversion process. You might think the biggest driver of conversions is increasing organic search traffic, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Quite frankly, the problem might be one that happens after visitors have already made it to your site.

That’s where Analytics comes in. Whether you’re using Google Analytics or something similar, resolve in 2014 to really dig into the details to see what might be getting in the way of your website conversions. Take a look at the keywords that are driving the most conversions, as well as which pages have been most successful.

When it comes to eCommerce websites, there are a number of unique problems that can arise. For example: an online retailer might be struggling with cart abandonment. If this describes you, make a resolution to get to the bottom of it. Revisit your checkout process and iron out potential frustrations like compulsory site registration or unclear pricing.

Resolve to Love Social Media

2013 may have been the year of mobile search, but it was also the year of Pinterest. Throughout the past year, Pinterest has grown significantly, boasting huge gains throughout the year and launching in new countries.

In the third quarter of 2013, Pinterest grew by a stunning 19.22%, while Facebook posted a gain of 14.78% and Twitter actually fell by nearly 8%. While this is certainly indicative of the familiar cycle of social media platforms rising and then falling out of favor, it’s still proof positive that marketers need to have their ear to the ground in 2014 and beyond. Staying on top of social trends will reveal new opportunities for growth.

That’s not to say that now-familiar social sites like Facebook and Twitter should be neglected. Twitter continues to evolve, as seen in the new scheduling tool and ads retargeting. It has created new opportunities for brands to set themselves apart from the crowd.

Meanwhile, Pinterest will follow in the footsteps of Twitter’s promoted tweets by taking its first step toward monetizing its services. According to Ben Silbermann, CEO of Pinterest, the site is going to be experimenting with promoted pins as they move forward into the new year.

The short version of this is that, as a marketer, it’s going to be important to remember that social media is here to stay, offering new challenges and opportunities all the while.

Resolve to Provide Higher Quality Content

It might actually be passé by now to echo Google’s mantra of “content is king.” No matter how self-evident it might be, though, it’s still easy to forget sometimes. As a marketer, chances are good you’ve made use of guest blog posts from time to time, or you might even do so regularly. This is a great practice in moderation, but it can be easy to let sub-standard guest posts through the gates from time to time.

Link building is not to be taken lightly. If guest posts are a staple of your web campaigns, resolve in 2014 to hold yourself to a higher standard by being pickier when it comes to lousy guests posts.

Providing quality content to your visitors is also going to require a better attention to detail when it comes to understanding the needs of different types of customers.

For example: not everybody will be visiting your blog or website from a desktop. As a result, your conversion rate might suffer among mobile users if your site takes too long to load.

The phrase “responsive web design” will continue to be heard throughout 2014, and one of the tenets of its design philosophy is to provide an optimal experience to everybody, no matter their platform of choice.

Closing Thoughts

2014 is going to be a big year for marketers. Let’s welcome it by echoing our first resolution: don’t forget to learn something new. We face learning curves all the time in our personal and professional lives. Besting them and coming out the other side will prove not only that our campaigns will continue to thrive, but that they deserve to do so.