In the ever-evolving arena of SEO, Google is always making algorithmic changes that affect which techniques are effective and which are passé. During the course of 2013 alone, marketers have had to make adjustments to accommodate Penguin 2.0 and Hummingbird.

Here are some of the major SEO trends that you can expect in 2014.

1. More semantic-based search

One of the primary goals of Hummingbird was to match search engine users with the most relevant results by making generalizations. Google believes that people are using more semantic queries to find what they’re looking for, so understanding this trend is important for success in the New Year.

Because of this, there has been speculation that long-tail keywords will no longer get the results they used to. Instead of trying to compete for longer phrases, most experts agree that it’s better to create more in-depth articles that cover a topic extensively so no stones are left unturned.

According to Vocus, “the first ten entries of the SERP for a selected set of keywords averaged about 2000 words.”

2. Mobile optimization

The number of people using mobile devices to browse the Internet and perform Google searches is at an all-time high. While catering to this trend was optional a couple years ago, it’s now become a necessity if you want to thrive and maintain search traffic volumes.

Although there are several ways to optimize a website for mobile devices, Google recommends responsive web design for the best results. Rather than simply making an alternate version of a site or using HTML5 technology, RWD makes a single version of a site that can be viewed on almost any screen size.

This should improve SEO and prepare you for an increasingly mobile-centric future.

3. The need for analytics

As marketers become smarter and more competitive, it’s become a necessity to analyze your traffic and spot overarching patterns. Google Analytics is one of the most popular platforms for extracting data from search, social media, on-site clicks, etc.

This is helpful for showing you exactly where traffic is coming from, which content is most popular, and how long people are staying on your site. By using traffic analysis, you can quickly maximize your marketing campaign so no efforts and wasted and ineffective practices can be eliminated.

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