Interviews With 12 SEO Bloggers About SEO in 2014

2013 Has Been Another Busy Year For The SEO And Internet Marketing Industry

I decided to interview some of the most influential SEO bloggers about their thoughts on the past year and the industry heading into 2014.

These responses are from great sources with a wealth of SEO knowledge and experience.

Strap yourselves in and get ready for an epic post that can help you with your online marketing strategies for years to come.

neil patel

Neil Patel, Cofounder of KISSmetrics, Crazyegg, and Hello Bar

Q. 1. We have seen Google come out with multiple algorithm updates that have changed SEO in 2013. What are your thoughts on the industry going in to 2014 as an SEO/Internet Marketer?

A. 1. I think if marketers focus on content rather than links they’ll see great results. Great content will create links. People have it the wrong way around often times. They look for cheap ways to get links and find out months later that they have been penalized due to an update. You’ll never be penalized for great content.

Q. 2. What tactic/strategy are you going to avoid this year that you used to implement in the past?

A. 2. I honestly am pretty quick to dump all the lousy strategies. My main focus over the past few years has been content marketing. The creation of in-depth blog posts and great content pieces like infographics are my bread and butter. I am going to try to push out more content this year though. I think everyone needs to step it up a notch to really get noticed.

Q. 3. Are there any new tactics/strategies that you will do this year that you haven’t tried or focused on in the past?

A. 3. I am going to focus on ramping up my Quick Sprout Analyzer. I have instituted a number of updates to Quick Sprout that I think will really help out the community. Keep your eyes peeled for the updates!

Q. 4. In your opinion, is Google’s web spam team making the internet a better place and causing SEO to head in the right direction?

A. 4. Yes. I think they have done a great job of weeding out content and link farms. Their focus on great content and rewarding people who create in-depth/unique content is nothing short of spectacular. They have really created an environment that rewards hard work and effort.

Q. 5. Any bold predictions for what is going to happen in the SEO industry this year?

A. 5. I think 2014 is going to be the year of the blogger. People who create great content will be rewarded immensely. I would advise people to really focus on upping the ante in regards to blogging frequency and relevancy.

charlesfloate

Charles Floate, SEO Consultant – http://godofseo.co and http://www.godlikemarketing.com

Q. 1. We have seen Google come out with multiple algorithm updates that have changed SEO in 2013. What are your thoughts on the industry going in to 2014 as an SEO/Internet Marketer?

A. 1. I’d say as Google use the Disavow files that SEOs are updating with freshly spammed domains, that it’ll get harder and harder to find links. The misconception SEOs/IM’ers have is that algorithms actually change the algorithm, when most of them are just changing the way Google finds a site that is acknowledged as “bad” which (in my theory at least) is from the millions (if not billions) of links people are uploading to the disavow tool every month. I see the industry losing a lot more of the cowboys that can no longer spam rank because of what I just said and a lot more trickery coming out over the next year.

Q. 2. What tactic/strategy are you going to avoid this year that you used to implement in the past?

A. 2. This is a hard one, I’d say I’ll be avoiding SAPE. Even though Google haven’t killed it of as many believe, I think I’ll be sticking to my more private solutions of my own completely manageable networks and link vendors.

Q. 3. Are there any new tactics/strategies that you will do this year that you haven’t tried or focused on in the past?

A. 3. I’m trying to be a lot more white hat this year. Building an actual marketing strategy, rather than just a very technical based link building strategy to rank is a lot more fun and I aim to have fun with my work. I do SEO and Internet Marketing for the fun of it as it’s a really fun job.

Q. 4. In your opinion, is Google’s web spam team making the internet a better place and causing SEO to head in the right direction?

A. 4. This is an on/off one. I have a friend who owns a big portal site that has thousands of articles that offer some really good info on how to live in a certain country, and all about that countries past but he was hit by Penguin and dropped to the 5th page for most of his keywords, after he hired “the wrong SEO” (Which I’m hearing more and more of now) yet the people ranking on the first page and generally holiday companies trying to make money out of you, where as his site doesn’t even have ads on and is a community of like minded people, loving the country they live in.

Q. 5. Any bold predictions for what is going to happen in the SEO industry this year?

A. 5. I’d say that black hats are going to turn to even darker methods. As Google starts cracking down on these networks, I’d say that they’re going to look at “REAL” black hat techniques like hacking sites and gaining links from genuine sites, I’ve already had this attempted on a company I did some work with earlier this year, they hacked his blogs WordPress and inputted a TON of relevant links to a 301.

As Google gets smarter, black hats are becoming more black hat! and I think it’s a worrying trend that is growing.

Krystian Szastok

Krystian Szastok, Senior SEO Manager- http://krystianszastok.co.uk/ & http://www.jellyfish.co.uk

Q. 1. We have seen Google come out with multiple algorithm updates that have changed SEO in 2013. What are your thoughts on the industry going in to 2014 as an SEO/Internet Marketer?

A. 1. I think Google will continue to force SEOs to clean up the internet and cracking down on quick-fix tactics and churn and burn sites.
For those trying to game the system it will become harder – large/trusted agencies however will see more clients coming with penalised sites and should grow this offering to gain new clients.

Q. 2. What tactic/strategy are you going to avoid this year that you used to implement in the past?

A. 2. I’ll probably do less guest posting and add more different tactics to different tiers of links.

Q. 3. Are there any new tactics/strategies that you will do this year that you haven’t tried or focused on in the past?

A. 3. Yes – real entity and citation building. Transfering who/what you or your business is from offline to online – building real connections, whether they give a link or no – whether its a redirect link or a nofollow, it won’t matter as Google is moving into direction of understanding things, not just reading code of websites. Co-occurence I believe will become big, growing the Google+ reach and authorship too. Actual, real authorship – actually being published, whether you get a link from it or not I believe will help Google differentiate between ‘weak’ authors and those ‘strong’ ones.

Q. 4. In your opinion, is Google’s web spam team making the internet a better place and causing SEO to head in the right direction?

A. 4. Absolutely – very slowly, but generally they are moving in the right direction. In the past it was too easy to rank no.1, SERPs were full of sites that were spamming, I’m glad that creativity has place in our work as SEOs, rather than just quantities of links.

Q. 5. Any bold predictions for what is going to happen in the SEO industry this year?

A. 5. Oh – not really bold I’m afraid, I think Google will probably roll out more updates similar to Hummingbird – updates preparing us and helping us search different kinds of data.
More knowledge graph and who knows – maybe finally some author/social based ranking signals. That would be nice.

adam-november2013

Adam Connell, Marketing Manager at UK Linkology and Founder of Blogging Wizard.

Q. 1. We have seen Google come out with multiple algorithm updates that have changed SEO in 2013. What are your thoughts on the industry going in to 2014 as an SEO/Internet Marketer?

A. 1. Content has been big for a while, but the quality of your content is going to be more important.

We are going to see more people utilising influencer marketing strategies – people’s eyes are being opened to the power of this as a strategy. I think we are going to see the start of a Facebook exodus where users flock to Google+. Both regular users, marketers and business owners. The fact that you can only reach less than 16% of your fans that you have been working so hard to accumulate is a pretty raw deal for business owners. Also, all of the sponsored content isn’t great for users. I’d imagine that we see mobile/responsive website become even more important as the use of smart phones and other devices continues to grow – and with that comes the important of loading times for websites.

Above all else, I believe 2014 will be the year of the digital influencer – where building authority through great content and incredible resources will help people become key influencers within their industry sectors and quickly rise to fame and catch those sites that got to the top simply by being the first there, not by being the best.

Q. 2. What tactic/strategy are you going to avoid this year that you used to implement in the past?

A. 2. None, what I’ve been doing in 2013 has been working well and fits in-line with what Google is looking for so I’ll keep on doing it. Writing great content and ensuring it’s promoted via as many digital marketing channels as possible is what it’s about. Thanks to this I earn links from places where most people would find it impossible to earn them from.

Here are some examples:

* The subscribers page on Crazyegg.com

* The support section on Triberr.com

* A mention on the Hootsuite.com blog which isn’t open to contributors

* A plugin page on Codecanyon.net (PR5 page)

Earning links this way is difficult – it takes time for you to build up your authority but it’s worth it, that’s for sure.

Q. 3. Are there any new tactics/strategies that you will do this year that you haven’t tried or focused on in the past?

A. 3. The main tactic that I will be focusing on this year will be creating my own products and complete the process of turning my blog from just a blog into an in depth resource to help bloggers find their feet and covers everything they need to know.

Q. 4. In your opinion, is Google’s web spam team making the internet a better place and causing SEO to head in the right direction?

A. 4. They are and they aren’t.

On the surface it all looks great and well, it sort of is – their guidelines are written with ‘doing SEO the right way’ in mind but they have an agenda, they’re a business after all. Paid content has gotten excessive and to the point where most organic content has been pushed below the fold for most queries served to users on laptops. There’s still a bit of room for those on desktops with a higher enough screen resolution.

Despite that search results are cleaner than ever and I do admit that quality is getting better but I still see plenty of results that just don’t seem to make sense. In a way Google search isn’t a complete product, I think they have a way to go until they get it nailed down and they’re giving it a good shot. There are problems though, the fact that it’s possible for a competitor to completely destroy your search rankings with dirty links and then leave you with the clean-up is not a good move.

Q. 5. Any bold predictions for what is going to happen in the SEO industry this year?

A. 5. I’m sure there will be a few updates this year that cause the usual outbreak of hysteria.

That and I can see more crackdowns on link sellers, especially marketing companies buying links from bloggers who want some fast cash. I’m not sure how they’ll figure some of these out, but I’m sure Matt Cutts has his team trying to figure this one out. It’s a shame though because a lot of bloggers don’t understand the consequences and because they don’t work in the SEO industry, they don’t know.

Overall – nothing much has really changed, what worked for us in 2013 will still work this year – there’s no need to worry too much but be prepared to step things up a gear (or maybe 2). There’s a lot to be said for simply ‘being better’ than your competitors. If you have been doing things ‘the wrong’ way then of course, worry a lot – and start removing those nasty links.

Giuseppe

Giuseppe Pastore, SEO Consultant – http://en.posizionamentozen.com/

Q. 1. We have seen Google come out with multiple algorithm updates that have changed SEO in 2013. What are your thoughts on the industry going in to 2014 as an SEO/Internet Marketer?

A. 1. I suppose trends we’ve already seen will consolidate in 2014 for our industry. Many agencies and SEOs have already embraced “content marketing” and I’m sure several others will re-position their services offer. While I agree on content being an effective weapon to be used to market a brand, anyway, I don’t see traditional SEO to die any time soon. Technical issues still have to be solved and in many cases a good on-page optimization is enough to achieve nice results in not so competitive spaces. Also, I still believe link building will still remain highly demanded by the market. Content marketing is expensive and not an option for small businesses. Moreover, it is not the only way to get links. Linkbaiting or broken link building are viable means to get good links with much less effort. Surely Link building will be more and more related to PR than in the past, but it will still remain a wider thing than “content marketing”.

I’d also say that mobile SEO will see an increasing demand, being smartphones are everywhere, and conversion rate optimization will be one of the hotter topic, as in many cases maximizing current visitors can be easier than achieving new ones from SERPs.

Q. 2. What tactic/strategy are you going to avoid this year that you used to implement in the past?

A. 2. I do only white hat for my clients, so there aren’t any “bad” strategies to avoid, but just things that are becoming less effective, in my case. In Italy some kind of easy links (article marketing, directories, cheap article links) still used to work for easy niches but are getting more and more useless.

Q. 3. Are there any new tactics/strategies that you will do this year that you haven’t tried or focused on in the past?

A. 3. Nothing that new, but I think integrating Google+ in next SEO strategies is something I’ll look for in 2014. I don’t like Google+ very much, but neutral SERPs don’t exist anymore, personalization is everywhere and author rank might come. Definitely it’s time to have a more concrete Google+ strategy in my case.

Q. 4. In your opinion, is Google’s web spam team making the internet a better place and causing SEO to head in the right direction?

A. 4. As an SEO, I think it doesn’t exist any “right” direction. Google has its own rules and SEOs can decide to stay within them, or outside of them. Unless you’re committing crimes (ie. Hacking sites) manipulating algos is just a business problem. I don’t endorse black hat because of its short term nature, in most cases, but if one is comfortable with the idea of taking the risk and use black/gray hat techniques it don’t see why not. Google doesn’t own the Internet and is not the only way to get traffic. It’s just a channel to use. You accept its rules because you value the traffic it sends to your site, but they are not “good” or “bad”. They are a way to not lose that traffic. Hopefully.

Q. 5. Any bold predictions for what is going to happen in the SEO industry this year?

A. 5. I think we’ll not see particular filtering updates in 2014 (I mean, as huge as Panda or Penguin), but maybe this will be the year in which author rank will start being a factor (I said it at the end of 2012 and I’ve been wrong…). Google is specifically looking at authorities in niches and  hope for a new query independent factor that might help in mitigating the bias towards brands due to domain authority metrics. I still don’t see real social signals having an impact on rankings, being Google unable to crawl Facebook and Twitter properly, anyway as I was saying I predict Google+ becoming a more important factor both for ranking and result personalization, as more people are using it and Google is forcing its adoption in every way.

More queries will return some kind of answers box and knowledge graphs and SERPs will be even more filled with Google’s own/scraped results.

Hummingbird’s effects will be more evident with vocal and mobile queries increasing. Also, sites with poor mobile performances will see very different placements in SERPs comparing mobile and desktop ones.

Steve Morgan

Steve Morgan, SEO Consultant – SEOno & Morgan Online Marketing You Can Also Find Him Actively Posting On Twitter @steviephil

Q. 1. We have seen Google come out with multiple algorithm updates that have changed SEO in 2013. What are your thoughts on the industry going in to 2014 as an SEO/Internet Marketer?

A. 1. Things are getting tougher, but they’re also getting better. More than ever, SEO is becoming a complementary arm of all other marketing efforts, rather than being a standalone, siloed activity. And let’s face it – that’s the way it should be. It’s a harsh truth, but SEOs who don’t get this going into 2014 are going to struggle more than ever. The true challenge however is educating clients in this way, too…

Q. 2. What tactic/strategy are you going to avoid this year that you used to implement in the past?

A. 2. I’ve avoided anything involving exact match anchor text for a number of years – it never sat right with me and I’m glad that Google effectively killed it with Penguin. As Penguin reportedly works on a ratio/percentage basis (i.e. if you have 3% exact match anchor text in your link profile you’ll probably be ok, but if it’s 30% then not so much), there’s an argument to say that you can do some exact match anchor text, but I’d rather do zero. Having done some unnatural link penalty removal work this past year, I’ve seen firsthand that Google simply doesn’t want you having any dodgy links going forward – they tell you off if you’ve removed hundreds of links but missed 1 or 2. Therefore I’m going to continue building zero exact match anchor text links for clients, and I encourage others to do the same (if they’re not doing so already).

Q. 3. Are there any new tactics/strategies that you will do this year that you haven’t tried or focused on in the past?

A. 3. I’ve championed guest blogging for the last 2-3 years, but after coming up with a great PR idea for a client a couple of months ago, I think that I’m going to place more emphasis on online PR. That’s not to say that I’ve ignored it up until now – I’m just thinking that I’ll try to incorporate it more into a clients’ link acquisition strategies going forward.

Q. 4. In your opinion, is Google’s web spam team making the internet a better place and causing SEO to head in the right direction?

A. 4. I’ve always approved of Penguin – I wrote a lengthy post about how black-hats were winning about a month before Penguin 1.0 was released, and a big gripe of mine at the time was that people were getting away with exact match anchor text, which is so obviously unnatural. However, there’s still a lot of unnaturalness (in the form of irrelevancy) out there. While I hope that Google continues to crack down on spammy and black-hat techniques, I also hope that they begin to do so more fairly, what with bigger brands seemingly getting away with and surviving punishment a lot more easily (what with the recent news regarding Rap Genius’ quick recovery)…

Q. 5. Any bold predictions for what is going to happen in the SEO industry this year?

A. 5. I hope we see more stuff around authorship (i.e. rel=”author”), as I’ve always been a fan. I think Google’s done a good job with its initial implementation of it, and I’ll be excited to see if it takes it further and – if so – in what way…

Businessportraits Brian

Brian Dean, SEO Training – http://backlinko.com

Q. 1. We have seen Google come out with multiple algorithm updates that have changed SEO in 2013. What are your thoughts on the industry going in to 2014 as an SEO/Internet Marketer?

A. 1. Well I’d disagree that Google’s algorithm updates this year “changed SEO”. Like any year there have been a few wrinkles in the algorithm. But most of Google’s changes are over-hyped by the SEO community. SEO is still about keywords, on-page SEO and links.
And I see that continuing in 2014. Google will of course roll out new versions of Penguin and get better at semantic search. But I don’t see any groundbreaking changes this year. But you never know.

Q. 2. What tactic/strategy are you going to avoid this year that you used to implement in the past?

A. 2. None. If you change your approach to SEO from year to year then you’re not very good at SEO. The only thing I’ll do differently this year is scale what’s already working.

Q. 3. Are there any new tactics/strategies that you will do this year that you haven’t tried or focused on in the past?

A. 3. I’m going to focus on producing graphs, charts and other visual assets that people can easily embed on their site. I’ve done a ton of infographics, but very few visual assets. And I’ve seen them work in several different industries.
I’m actually going to go through all of my posts and see where I can add cool charts and diagrams to make the post better but also to encourage people to use them on their site (with a link back to me of course!).

Q. 4. In your opinion, is Google’s web spam team making the internet a better place and causing SEO to head in the right direction?

A. 4. The black hat side of me wants to say “no!”. But I’ve found that search results today are better than they’ve been in a long time. Not only have updates like Penguin cleared out a lot of the crap, but it’s forced SEOs (myself included) to step their content game up.

Q. 5. Any bold predictions for what is going to happen in the SEO industry this year?

A. 5. There might be more “SEO is dead” articles this year…but I hope not.

Lewis Ogden

Lewis Ogden, SEO Consultant – http://www.cloudincome.com

Q. 1. We have seen Google come out with multiple algorithm updates that have changed SEO in 2013. What are your thoughts on the industry going in to 2014 as an SEO/Internet Marketer?

A. 1. My direction for 2014 will be massively driven by Google’s algo updates and I have already given a small taster of my thoughts in my latest article. For me, it’s time to step it up a notch and build brandable sites that don’t rely on Google for 100% of the traffic.
There are so many ways you can generate traffic these days that putting yourself at the mercy of Mr Cutts and co. just doesn’t make sense anymore. Sure, free organic traffic is awesome and I don’t think for one second that people should abandon SEO and their organic listings, however my recommendation to all those building niche sites, would be to take a step back and ask themselves 2 questions;
“Do I deserve to rank for this keyword?”
If the answer is no, then you are setting yourself up for failure.
The second questions should be;
“How can my website be bigger and better than my competition?”
Once you are thinking along those lines, I predict 2014 will become that much more exciting for all.

Q. 2. What tactic/strategy are you going to avoid this year that you used to implement in the past?

A. 2. I will avoid building links manually. Seriously, there are so many bigger, better and quicker ways to link build that it’s just not worth it. No more links from irrelevant sites and I will not be using an of these so called “Private Blog Networks”, that sell packages to anyone and everyone.
Owning your own niche specific and authority links are the way.

Q. 3. Are there any new tactics/strategies that you will do this year that you haven’t tried or focused on in the past?

A. 3. I will be trying lots of ‘Googless’ strategies. Sites that don’t rely on Google and can stand on their own 2 feet. This will involve new marketing platforms, big social media profiles and above all awesome content.Lets see if giving Google what it wants really does work. If not, well my sites won’t rely on keyword rankings anyway!
I won’t be tracking keyword rankings in 2014. This year is the time to THINK BIG and take off the “niche site” hat and build great things.

Q. 4. In your opinion, is Google’s web spam team making the internet a better place and causing SEO to head in the right direction?

A. 4. I honestly believe that the steps Google take to combat web spam, actually help improve the internet and the user experience. As they get smarter, Web Masters & SEO’s have to put that little bit extra in each time.
Better content, no spammy links, engaging images and video, active social media profiles. All of these things improve the user experience and despite what people may think of Google, they are trying to provide the best search results for the user.

Q. 5. Any bold predictions for what is going to happen in the SEO industry this year?

A. 5. I think Black Hats will get even smarter than they already are. Churn and Burn will become more mainstream as will Private Blog Networks. I’m not talking about networks like “Build My Rank”, but smaller more niche networks, owned by individuals who understand the power and benefits to owning your own backlinks.

Martin Harris

Martin Harris, Marketing Executive – http://www.martiniharris.co.uk

Q. 1.We have seen Google come out with multiple algorithm updates that have changed SEO in 2013. What are your thoughts on the industry going in to 2014 as an SEO/Internet Marketer?

A. 1. I have contrasting views as an Internet marketer and SEO. As an internet marketer I’m optimistic and excited about the potential marketing opportunities that will come about in 2014, last year there was a shit ton of opportunities available both technologically and platform based, I can only see this improving.

As an SEO I think it’s squeaky bum time for a lot of online marketers. Google is making increasing difficult not only for us to rank but to show a decent return on investment for our clients. If you can’t increase organic traffic to a point where it’s showing them a decent return. They are not going to see it as tangible investment, regardless of the amount of hours you have put in or the traffic potential.

Q. 2. What tactic/strategy are you going to avoid this year that you used to implement in the past?

A. 2. I suppose I’ll cut down on the rich anchor text rich links and I may not use Scrapebox for tier 4 blog commenting anymore as well (it was mainly used for indexing tier 3’s anyway). A few social shares per link tend to help indexing on the lower levels of link tree anyway.



Q. 3. Are there any new tactics/strategies that you will do this year that you haven’t tried or focused on in the past?

A. 3. PR, strictly speaking I use PR quite regularly, but not part of search marketing strategy. To put it simply you can spend thousands of £/$ on a content marketing campaign, implement a strategy to share it across the web and there’s still risk it won’t get you the links/ traffic you wanted. Get a decent PR agency and they will give you all the high quality links you need. People talk about relationship building, well why not outsource to someone who has great contacts that is going to get you maximum exposure? In terms of effort/ reward it actually turns out to be cheaper in the long run.

Not to mention the jump branded traffic, but of course because of (not provided) traffic is traffic these days haha

Q. 


4. In your opinion, is Google’s web spam team making the internet a better place and causing SEO to head in the right direction?

A. 4. Yes and no, just the way the algorithm is set up it’s favourable to big brands and it makes very difficult for SME’s to start online, they made a big step in helping smaller brands with the Venice update in 2012 (local optimisation) but there’s always going to be a domination for the first 10 results only a big budget is going to change that.

I suppose not seeing 100 pay day loans in the SERPs is better for the user, but the idea that small brands can rank with black hat, well I’m still all for that.

Q. 5. Any bold predictions for what is going to happen in the SEO industry this year?

A. 5. Google will continue squeeze any manipulative ranking methods. I can see them stamping down on infographics and guest posting, something that I know they have been reasonably unsuccessful with so far. I’d also guess SERP’s will become more crowded with ads, cards and info boxes, I can only see natural listings get pushed further down the fold. I’d also imagine the position of an “SEO” will slowly start to be in decline and people will focus on a more integrated marketing skill set.

Nick-Eubanks_SEO

Nick Eubanks, SEO Blogger - http://www.seonick.net

Q. 1. We have seen Google come out with multiple algorithm updates that have changed SEO in 2013. What are your thoughts on the industry going in to 2014 as an SEO/Internet Marketer?

A. 1. I think the process of document retrieval with specific respect to co-citation is only going to become more accurate. Google is getting better at sniffing out the purpose and intent of pages, and hummingbird was a big step in that direction. Jonah Stein hits the nail on the head when he talks about how individual user search history is playing an increasingly big role in the disambiguation of search intent.

Q. 2. What tactic/strategy are you going to avoid this year that you used to implement in the past?

A. 2. There was a time when we would build flat, long-form information pages and brochure sites to help fill search results. The sites often had little to no engagement and were abysmal at attracting natural links and mentions – and placeholders don’t rank like they used to. Coming back to the first answer, I see on-page and contextual information architecture playing a bigger role, but’s not the whole enchilada.. links and organic mentions still play a major role in Google’s determination of relevance.



Q. 3. Are there any new tactics/strategies that you will do this year that you haven’t tried or focused on in the past?

A. 3. We are experimenting with much larger evergreen data sets. To be very clear we are not talking about directories, but large groups of otherwise disparate data that compliments the mission of our content. In short, we are focused on creating more sustainable information strategies.

Q. 


4. In your opinion, is Google’s web spam team making the internet a better place and causing SEO to head in the right direction?

A. 4. I think they are making improvement… but I also think they continue to play a big game of FUD and Matt Cutts should be an arms lobbyist; that man is excellent at talking without saying anything of importance. Most recently I think they played the SEO industry for fools when RapGenius recovered in only 10 days when it takes the rest of the internet world weeks or even months to get a reconsideration response.

Q. 5. Any bold predictions for what is going to happen in the SEO industry this year?

A. 5. There’s going to be another 500 “experts” that launch blogs, 100 of them will include ‘income reports’ where they make up numbers and talk about how they’re living the dream. There will be no less than 1000 new ultimate guides including posts on how SEO and link building are dead. Social will become the new black, again. And a lot of businesses will spend a lot of money to rank for terms that bring them exactly $0 in revenue.

Joel Chudleigh SEO

Joel Chudleigh, Online Marketing Consultant – http://deepfootprints.co.uk

Q. 1. We have seen Google come out with multiple algorithm updates that have changed SEO in 2013. What are your thoughts on the industry going in to 2014 as an SEO/Internet Marketer?

A. 1. I think that it is an incredibly interesting time as SEO’s should now be less antsy about tweaks to the algorithm. Google have always been moving in the same direction but now are finally getting better at achieving what they set out to achieve.

This frees up SEO’s to come up with creative link building strategies and to focus on working with brands to build sites that are designed for users rather than search engines.

Q. 2. What tactic/strategy are you going to avoid this year that you used to implement in the past?

A. 2. Nothing different to be honest; I stopped doing link building en masse a few years ago and that will stay out for good I think.

Q. 3. Are there any new tactics/strategies that you will do this year that you haven’t tried or focused on in the past?

A. 3. I am sure there will be new tactics and strategies that I come up with as I always spot new things for different clients. The key thing will be staying focused on building links that are primarily aimed at generating quality referral traffic rather than search engine traffic.

Q. 4. In your opinion, is Google’s web spam team making the internet a better place and causing SEO to head in the right direction?

A. 4. Yes, definitely. There are many things that I dislike about Google in regards to their dishonest and duplicitous ways but I do believe that they are doing a great job of achieving their mission. The search results pages do still have a shed load of spam in them so there is still a long way to go but we are definitely in a better place than we were 3 years ago – this is most visible in the quality of web sites being created.

Q. 5. Any bold predictions for what is going to happen in the SEO industry this year?

A. 5. I think that the role of the SEO will broaden and blend with other marketing channels. SEO’s will be forced to be a lot more open and public about what they are doing in terms of external link building. I think that the overall traffic available from SEO will fall in 2014 as Google continue to try and answer more questions themselves (knowledgegraph, reviews, flight info etc). This will cause issues for content marketers as in many cases we will be competing against Google.

Michael King SEO

Michael King, Inbound Marketer – http://ipullrank.com

Q. 1. We have seen Google come out with multiple algorithm updates that have changed SEO in 2013. What are your thoughts on the industry going in to 2014 as an SEO/Internet Marketer?

A. 1. I don’t have too many thoughts on algorithm updates really. Google’s algorithm is about two things, surfacing the best most relevant content to keep people using it and weeding out the stuff that doesn’t have utility for the user. It will always be that way and Google is limiting the visibility of content that doesn’t do more than answer a simple question (e.g. what is my ip address?). As an end user I think it’s awesome, as a marketer it’s forcing us the think more about our audiences and their needs rather than just the nuances of search engines. These are all things I’ve been pushing for years so even with Hummingbird and 100% (not provided) my process hasn’t needed to change. What’s exciting is that Google is giving you more information on your audience and their affinities.

Q. 2. What tactic/strategy are you going to avoid this year that you used to implement in the past?

A. 2. I haven’t been doing anything that is considered spammy, so I think I’m good to go. I’m just hoping to double down on scaling the quality in the work that I’m doing. If anything I’m going to avoid working with companies that sacrifice quality for scale as that truly does not have to happen in 2014.

Q. 3. Are there any new tactics/strategies that you will do this year that you haven’t tried or focused on in the past?

A. 3. I really love and want to spend more time using Richard Baxter’s really targeted outreach methodology to drive content and outreach strategies. Like I said I really want to focus on quality and efficacy over scale.

Q. 4. In your opinion, is Google’s web spam team making the internet a better place and causing SEO to head in the right direction?

A. 4. Yes. Obviously we could all do without the collateral damage and the posturing from Matt Cutts, but in general I think they are pushing us to fight for the user rather than just game the system.

Q. 5. Any bold predictions for what is going to happen in the SEO industry this year?

A. 5. SEO will continue to cry about Google changes, argue over nomenclature and run tactics into the ground, but there will be a select few that really shine despite all of that. I look forward to those people sharing their experiences, data and case studies. Those are the people that keep me interested.

These questions and answers have provided me with a broader understanding of what to expect in the internet marketing/SEO industry. I hope that you were able to find as much value out of the interviews as I did.

I would also sincerely like to thank everyone for taking the time to be interviewed and share their thoughts!

To recap on the most important points:

  • We are seeing that the changes Google has made to their algorithms are being favored, because it rewards people who focus on creating great websites with quality content.
  • There are still those who prefer black/grey hat tactics over white hat tactics for generating traffic. In my opinion, the whole white hat vs black hat terminology is a great publicity stunt  for Google to get devoted followers for being “good”. It is just marketing preferences and what works for some isn’t profitable work for others. Focusing on the facts and real results is the way smart online marketers think.
  • Charles made a great point that the aggressive updates with penalties may cause the real spammers to dig into more aggressive and truly illegal tactics such as hacking websites. I have seen competitors create widgets/plug-ins that place a hidden link on your site that can only be found in the source code. Hopefully, Google will focus their efforts on stopping these kinds of devious tactics that are truly harmful.
  • Citation building seems to be a popular new strategy.
  • Utilizing Google + and authorship has been and will continue to be more important.
  • Social signals still haven’t made as big of an impact in rankings.
  • SEO should be part of an overall internet marketing strategy. Don’t just rely on free organic traffic, think about utilizing social media, PR, videos, infographics, relevant forums and advertising.

I hope this helps you get your SEO and internet marketing strategy for the new year off to a great start! Don’t forget to share this Epic post on your favorite social media accounts by clicking the buttons to your left.