This year was more than significant in terms of organic SEO ranking perception due to the Google algorithm change – probably the largest in a decade. It is also the year obnoxious critics proclaimed the death of SEO on a large scale, while others stood strong in the midst of it. Here’s a breakdown of what happened and how you can stay on top despite all occurring changes.

Organic SEO Will Get Harder In Every Way

If your traffic sources aren’t diversified, you’ll more than likely find SEO difficult. In addition, it’s no longer possible to brag about ranking for certain keywords as people’s search results are becoming more personalized, and this is based upon their individual interests, social presence, history of searches and similar applicable metrics.

Some marketers might feel as if targeting keywords has been effectively rendered useless by Google, especially considering how much they’ve gone out of their way to remove what was once the most important piece of SEO information – keyword referrals. If you try to check your Google Analytics you’ll notice how you won’t be provided information on keywords which led people to your website.

Not Only Is Value In Content Prioritized, But It Will Require More Detail

If your main aim is to achieve an authority status with a brand website, you’ll have to forget about putting up thousands of short valueless content articles. Even though shorter pieces of content that are high in value will eventually lead to results, you might want to focus your attention upon longer pieces and try to address problems your target audience is facing thoroughly/in depth.

Author Authority Is Increasingly Important

Even though you have some valuable pieces of content that people have responded to and ones that matter, Google will eventually want to weigh in on your entire portfolio of work. They tend to rely upon Google Authorship in addition to their backend techniques, but the thing to remember is that Google’s aim is to develop a mechanism which helps people learn about the things you’re already addressing on your site. This will help them understand what you’re about in a better way, thus qualifying you for certain subjects more than others.

Some of the things you’ll have to pay attention to include social signals your content is generating, the frequency of your updates as well as the sites your content leads readers to. These are the things which will hold the most influence upon your SERPs and to establish yourself as the authority on a certain subject, make sure you’re utilizing Google Authorship for not only regular content, but guests post within your industry. Google Authorship is the last thing you want to miss out on.

Organic SEO Goes Hand In Hand With Social Media

Some of the biggest changes in organic SEO include the loss of keyword data and enhancing the factor of influence which social media already possesses. Google is focused on social shares and similar types of influence; hence they’re able to provide users with a calculated result. For instance, if a user searches for a generic keyword they’ll most likely encounter an article written by a friend of theirs or some content that was initially shared by a contact of theirs.

Influence levels will also majorly impact search results as established brands throughout the years known for producing quality content are going to find it easier to get organic rankings in the first place. To give you an example, Business Insider or Yahoo News will rank easier, not only because they’ve been around for years, but because their articles are shared by hundreds of thousands of visitors – notifying Google of how valuable their content is. This makes it harder for an average business to receive a certain kind of social response without making a serious effort in terms of branding.

Pay Lots Of Attention To Semantic Search

If you are a close follower of Google algorithm updates, you probably noticed how the Hummingbird update generalized a specific type of content to semantic search, meaning that long tail keywords will continue playing a role, but a diminished one at that. If you look for something very specific like a review of your favorite book written by your favorite author, or even something as simple as a recipe, you’ll notice how the top entries are basically sites with a higher number of links pointed toward their content and not entirely specific to the keyword you decided to look for in the first place.

This is a direct result of Google attempting to provide data relevant to their individual users interests. Google simply assesses what the user has commonly searched for and then proceeds to sort it out. Being that this is the case already, long tail keywords might not provide to be as effective as they did previously. What remains to be done about it? How do you stay on top of this?

Your Only Focus Should Be In Providing Substantial Core Value

Start by dropping any personal agenda of yours as far as rankings, and focus your attention to providing a good experience for visitors in addition to value in content. Having a readable design is a must. You’ll find that Google isn’t that complicated to understand as they’re only trying to retain users by providing meaningful results and having them use it frequently in addition to clicking on their ads.

Expect Google to try and weed out black-hat SEO from gaming their algorithm entirely in 2014. If your content is written for the sole purpose of obtaining a search result, you’re basically painting a target on your website’s head. This means that instead of having to write for the search engine, you should really write for the audience you’re trying to attract in the first place. Fact is, this is starting to become the same thing because when you write for an actual audience, you’re also writing for Google.

Your Website/Blog Has To Be Compatible With Tablets And Mobile Devices

Mobile is no longer an option as it’s rapidly taking over everything, and you’ll notice how a portion of your website visitors is entirely on mobile. More than half of America owns a smartphone, and a third of all internet users have tablets. In no-time we’ll see more internet users accessing the internet via their mobile devices rather than a desktop PC.

Making sure your website is compatible is the least you can do at this point. Trying to think about how to achieve productivity in terms of mobile will require some effort and a shift in mindset, but it will be worth it.

In addition to making your site compatible, you’ll have to ensure it loads fast across all devices as well. Being that people expect a speedy response now more than ever, patience is less common and can lead to frustration. Slow loading websites equal really bad customer experiences and website speeds are one of the most important factors to letting your audience get right to the value your brand stands for.

To Conclude

Things which you felt were important this year will more than likely continue to be important in 2014. Your main goal should be to diversify your traffic and remain on top of updates by providing as much value as you can and building a presence via social media outlets.

Finally, it’s worth noting that having a good content marketing strategy will almost always lead to attaining great organic rankings. Google’s changes aren’t something to be afraid of if you’re not the type to look for shortcuts as they already follow suit to what successful marketers have been doing for years: frequent posting, maintained social media presence, the initiation of social signals and a source of value for an audience.

Google Chrome, being the world’s most popular browser, has a huge number of plugins for various tasks. All of these plugins are available free from the Chrome Web Store. Since Chrome is one of the most versatile, open-source browsers out there, many search engine optimizers use it. Here are a few Chrome plugins to help you in SEO.

1. Mozbar

Mozbar is an SEO toolbar provided by SEO company Moz. The plugin provides you with quite a bit of information about the website you are browsing. ‘Domain authority’ and ‘page authority’ are two of the important metrics that Moz calculates in order to determine the ranking expectation of a website. Besides these, Mozbar provides keyword analysis, inbound link analysis, traffic data from Alexa and Quantcast, etc. The plugin also highlights links based on their attributes, such as nofollow, internal, or external.


2. WebQuantified Toolbar

WebQuantified Toolbar plugin resides on the Chrome toolbar in the form of a button. When you click on the button, you will get an overlay with all the important information about the page you are browsing. The data provided include traffic ranks, number of indexed pages on Google and Bing, number of backlinks, PageRank, social media shares, and website security information from McAfee and MyWot.


3. Nofollow Plugin

This simple Nofollow plugin highlights all the nofollow links on the page you are browsing. The plugin resides in the address bar of Chrome and highlights all the nofollow links on the page. The plugin also informs you whether the page itself is blocked from the search index with a Robots Meta tag or the robots.txt file. The plugin is customizable: you can set a CSS style for highlighting the nofollow links.

4. Wappalyzer

You can use this great plugin for competition analysis. You may need to know from time to time what technologies and platforms your competitors use. Wappalyzer plugin immediately tells you the content management system, programming language, scripting language, analytics tool, etc., that any website uses. This way, you can stay ahead of competition at all times.


5. YSlow

YSlow is a Yahoo! tool for analyzing a website’s performance. The performance testing of a website is based on a predefined or a user-defined rule set. YSlow suggests important improvements that you can have on your web page.

YSlow Official Open Source Project Website

6. SEO SERP Workbench

SEO SERP Workbench is simple SEO tool helps in competitor analysis. You can use this plugin to check the ranking of your site as well as your competitors’ sites for any keyword.

7. SEOquake

SEOquake is extensive SEO plugin provides a huge number of features: Google PageRank, Alexa rank, index statistics, nofollow links highlighting, Whois information, etc. The plugin also checks the links displayed in search results of Google and allows you to sort the links according to various factors, such as Alexa rank or PageRank.


Since Google’s own browser is extremely popular and powerful, SEO has become easier than ever. A few years ago when the SEO community did not have access to SEO tools, simple tasks like finding whether a link is nofollow required looking at the source code of the web page. With Chrome’s tools, several SEO tasks have become so simplified that we can concentrate on things that are more important

The last few weeks have led to many changes with Google’s algorithm. The changes have rearranged much of the search results. Some webmasters are happy with the results, and others have seen rank plummet. If you have a significant change in Google search engine rank, you could be a part of the changes made during Google’s Hummingbird, Penguin and Mugshot algorithm changes.

What is Google Hummingbird?

Google Hummingbird is probably the most innocuous of all three changes. While some people attribute change in rank with Hummingbird, the fact is that this change was mostly an infrastructure change. Every once in a while, development companies overhaul code. Google is no different, and Hummingbird was a restructure and rewrite of the search engine’s code. Although Google does not divulge specifics about its algorithm or code, it’s safe to say that a restructure means they implemented some newer technology and upgraded the code for speed. Google implemented Hummingbird a month before the change was announced, and the company announced that they did not expect it to change much of the search results.

Penguin 2.1: Fighting Spam

Penguin isn’t a new algorithm change, but Google continues to refine the system and runs updates several times a year. Google recently announced its release of Penguin 2.1, which was supposed to affect about one percent of searches.

Penguin’s biggest target is link spammers. Google indicates in its guidelines that links created to manipulate PageRank (and ultimately search engine rank) are against company terms. Building links and spam have been abused, and Google took action in early 2012. The result is many of the link builders and spammers have lost rank due to Penguin. Penguin 2.1 is even more sensitive, and many webmasters who contributed to forum and blog spam have been caught it the algorithm’s demotion.

To avoid Penguin’s grasp, avoid any link building, especially link building that focuses on primary anchor text. If you have an issue with Penguin 2.1, your search traffic will reflect it in a decline around October 4, 2013. The only way to fix the issue is to remove spam links that could be interpreted as unnatural.

Mugshot Site Changes

For years, people have dealt with the mugshot sites displaying personal information. The problem increasingly became worse as more mugshot sites continued to pop up and scrape other sites with personal images. The problem was that potential employers sometimes search for a person’s information in Google. Even if the offense is minor, the mugshot sites showed up for a query on the person’s name.

Google decided to take action against these sites and devalue them in the search engine’s result pages. The result is that people who made minor errors in their life will no longer have those mistakes haunt them during future career endeavors.

These changes have shifted much of the search engine results. If you rely on Google for income and traffic, read Google’s guidelines and make sure you follow them to avoid being hit with any negative effects from major algorithm changes.

Adaptation is the key to survival in the world of business. Companies not adapting to change and updating their services will find themselves at the bottom of the heap or out of business altogether. One could hardly blame Google for the myriad of changes it’s been rolling out this year, from AdWords changes to Penguin and Panda updates.

Google’s Analytics blog posted an update on 28 March that four big improvements were coming to Google Analytics’ real-time reporting system. The moves are designed to improve the analytical capability of businesses in real time.

What is Google Analytics?

The real-time reports offered by Google Analytics was rolled out in 2011 to give site owners the opportunity to see how changes made to their website had an impact in real-time. Rather than simply analyzing past performance on the site, real-time reports measure campaign success and social media impact.

Google Analytics has quickly become the most popular website statistics service available. According to Alexa Internet, an internet analyst subsidiary of Amazon, Google Analytics is used by 55% of the top 10,000 websites and 49.95% of the top 1,000,000 websites.

Changes to Google Analytics Real-Time Reports

In its blog post on 28 March,Google Analytics announced that there would be four improvements for the real-time reporting system that would allow users to better understand how email marketing campaigns and trending social media topics are impacting their site. The improvements came in the following four areas:

– Events reports in real-time
– Traffic breakdowns by mobile, tablet, and desktop
– Shortcuts for the users favorite real-time segments
– Option to compare specific real-time data with overall real-time data

The improvement to real-time event reports allows users to see how new events have an impact on site traffic in real-time. The changes even allow users to see which particular segments of visitors are triggering which events on their site.

Real-Time Reports

Content Breakdown by Device

The world is going mobile with more and more people around the globe accessing the Internet from tablets and smartphones over laptops and desktops. Sales of mobile devices in the United States alone are expected to see annual growth rates of 16.6% through 2015, putting more and more mobile devices in the hands of web surfers.
Real-time reports now allows users to view the number of visitors on their website at any given time and see a breakdown of access based upon the type of device users are accessing the site through. The breakdown filters access devices by desktop, tablet, and smartphone.

Traffic breakdowns by mobile, tablet, and desktop

New Shortcuts to Real-time Segments

This particular move from Google came as a result of user comments on the good and bad features of real-time reports. Users have always been able to view the segments of individuals visiting their site in real-time, however the process was cumbersome and required users to set up filters each time they wanted to view a different segment.
Now visitors can be viewed more quickly in real-time by setting up shortcuts to specific visitor segments. Users can set up their filters to view particular visitor segments and then save those settings as a shortcut, allowing them to quickly flip between real-time information on visitor segments.

Shortcuts are stored on the left-side navigation menu. Now users need only open the navigation menu and click on a visitor segment to see the real-time data for that particular group.

New Shortcuts to Real-time Segments

Comparing Real-time to Overall Data

Last but not least, real-time report users can now compare real-time data on visitor segments and page views against the overall data for traffic, page views, and more. This tool allows users to quickly see how traffic for visitor segments changes as events occur, and compare that to historical trends for similar events.

For example, the comparison tool allows users to see how visitor segments access the site after a social media post. Users might see that mobile devices are driving page views in the immediate aftermath of a social media post.

Comparing Real-time to Overall Data

With 2013 just wrapping up, Google has been busy with updates and changes. Penguin and Panda updates aside, Google’s updates and improvements to AdWords and now Google Analytics shows an increasing commitment to greater control over web marketing for Google users. The AdWords changes earlier this year allowed users greater control over specialized marketing campaign tools.

Now these Google Analytics changes for Real-time Reports allow users to get immediate information about those marketing campaigns and who is coming to their site in the aftermath.

Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) offers webmasters a glimpse into how Googlebot views and crawls your website. It’s a great SEO tool, and it’s free to sign up. Google Webmaster Tool links your Google account with your websites, so you can manage all sites under one umbrella. Google Webmaster Tool shows you the number of impressions you received each day, the clicks you received from those impressions, the increase or decrease in search engine rank, and the number of websites linking back to you. Webmaster tool is not only a good statistical tool, but it also helps identify technical errors with your site.

Impressions and Clicks

Webmaster Tools - Search Queries

Click “Search Traffic” in the left navigation panel, and then click “Search Queries.” This graph displays the number of impressions your site receives in blue and the number of clicks in red. Click the “With Change” button. This button displays the change in query visibility in red or green. Green is a positive increase in query visibility. Red means you’ve had a decrease.

This graph is where most SEOs spend their day. Several other tools on the market promise to show you search engine visibility, but this graph is straight from Google and more reliable. This graph helps you identify queries that aren’t performing as well, so you can identify pages that need improvement.

Links to Your Site

The “Links to Your Site” link is directly under “Search Queries.” This is another useful SEO tool, because you can identify the sites linking to your pages. It also has an indirect advantage of finding scrapers that are stealing your content. Scrapers generally scrape entire HTML and don’t strip out the links. This means that the scraper links back to you, and these links will show up in this graph.

You have the option to download links to a spreadsheet from this page. If you’ve received a notice of unnatural links or think your site has been affected by Penguin, this list of links is what you need to fix the issue. To have the unnatural links penalty removed, you must request removal of any unnatural link from the webmaster and file a reconsideration request with Google. Reconsideration requests are also processed through Google Webmaster Tool.

Indexed Pages

Webmaster Tools - Index Status

The another SEO tool in Google Webmaster Tool is the “Index Status” section. This graph shows you the number of indexed pages. Remember, a physical page can be hundreds or even thousands of virtual pages. It’s typical to have thousands of pages indexed even if you only have a few hundred physical pages. Duplicate content and low-quality pages are filtered from the index, and this graph also shows you pages that were crawled versus pages that are indexed and not indexed. This graph is a good indicator for the quality and originality of your pages.

Google Webmaster Tools has several other advantages, but these three screens provide you with Search engine optimization resources to analyze how the site performs in Google. Bing has its own tools, so this tool is only useful with Google. For a better look at Bing results, you must use Bing’s tools. With Google owning most of the search engine market, this tool is a must-have for webmasters.

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