Those of you who’ve been keeping up with the Hooked On Blog will understand that 2013 was a year of immense digital change. Google updated the Panda and Penguin algorithms in the aim of ensuring the promotion of high quality websites and improving the linked landscape. They also caused some consternation by refusing to provide keyword data. However, the event which captured the greatest amount of interest was the introduction of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm. This article will highlight the lasting impact of the Google updates and outline the potential for further change during 2014.

Hummingbird

Content Development

Google have developed increasingly advanced ways of identifying the quality of website content over the last few years. They have taken account of social media signals and featured in-depth articles in the search results. The digital marketeers have realised that they have to produce a diverse range of content which engages specific online audiences. The Content Marketing Institute have revealed that 56% of marketing professionals plan on spending more time and money on the creation of quality content in 2014.

Those business owners who want to establish a greater online presence are urged to find new and interesting ways of targeting prospective customers this year. They should provide comprehensive company insights and harness the power of the social media networks. Google have even reserved the award of author rank status to digital producers who produce the most engaging content and engage with networks such as Google + on a regular basis.

Link Building

The introduction of the Google Penguin has had a significant impact on the types of linking strategies employed by digital marketeers. The article directories and link exchanges have been avoided. Some webmasters have opted to use the link disavow tool in order to clean up their digital profiles. However, Matt Cutts has said that ‘links are still the best way that we’ve found to discover (the relevance and importance of websites) and maybe, over time, social or authorship or other types of mark-up will give us a lot more information about that.’

Links will certainly be an important part of the digital mix in 2014. However, those marketeers who are keen to stay in Google’s good books should seek editorially approved links. They should maintain the expansion of quality content portfolios in the aim of gaining exposure on the best third party websites. It is quite likely that Google will implement an advanced link analysis system in the near future. They may also find new ways of safeguarding webmasters against the risk of negative SEO.

Social Media

Webmasters can be in no doubt about the importance of social media in 2014. The search engines will continue to pay attention to content which is shared and discussed on major networks such as Facebook and Twitter. The Hooked On Media team wouldn’t be surprised if Google made the decision to de-rank or omit those websites which don’t have social media profiles. They may also reward the most active users of Google +.

There may be an increase in the number of companies opting to harness the marketing potential of the social networks over the next few months. They may follow the example of Toyota and use Google + post advertisements to promote brand new products and services. Youtube and Facebook video advertisements may be used as a means of capturing the interest of potential customers. And the online marketeers might also realise the opportunity of audience targeting via Twitter.

Mobile Marketing

It has been claimed that people will be spending more time on mobile phones than desktop computers in 2014. Leading researchers have also revealed that mobile website visitors are more likely to buy products and services than their desktop counterparts. However, there are still a number of business owners who are yet to realise the benefits of mobile optimisation. The situation will change in 2014 as Google impose increasingly severe penalties upon those webmasters who fail to meet the expectations of the mobile audience.

Company owners will have to find ways of enhancing the mobile experience in order to gain a competitive advantage over the coming months. They will have to minimise website loading times and ensure that mobile users are allowed easy access to the most relevant information. Digital purchasing funnels should be optimised in order to increase the likelihood of conversions. It will be also be important to account for voiced searches.

Adapting To Change In 2014

Those of you who’ve been involved in digital marketing for some time will probably not be surprised by the talk of change. You’ll realise that digital evolution continues on a day-to-day basis. However, it is absolutely essential to prepare for the kinds of developments outlined in this article. If you’re really keen to boost the chances of success in 2014 then it would be worth enlisting the professional support of Hooked On Media.