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February 28, 2014

SEO Tips for 2014 — As Told By Abraham Lincoln

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via flickr

Abraham Lincoln is regarded as one of the most influential and important individuals in American history. Much of what he said applies to what is happening in our country today. In fact, I would wager that, with a few alterations, much of his insight could be applied to our online marketing efforts. Without further adieu, I present SEO Tips for 2014, As Told By Abraham Lincoln.

The Googleburg Address: “Four score and several months ago, our search engine brought forth on this Internet, a new algorithm, conceived in semantics and dedicated to the proposition that all content is not created equal.”

What Mr. Lincoln was trying to say:

Last year was the year of ‘Content is King,’ and that is certainly going to be the case in 2014 and beyond. Websites with strong content are going to be in a much better position than those that have been relying on low quality links or spammy content to get traffic to their website. While content is certainly the king of the SEO process, not all content is worthy of a crown. As you can see in the Googleburg Address above, not all content is created equal in the eyes of the search engines. The Hummingbird algorithm update has shifted the focus from content at a pure composition level, to one that is focused on the usefulness for the end user. Matching up online content with the intent of the user’s search query is going to be the crown jewel of the content crown moving forward.

“A website divided against itself cannot stand.”

What Mr. Lincoln was trying to say:

The original purpose of search engine optimization has not changed since the first Google search was made. Search engine effectiveness is measured by one thing: how effectively it delivers relevant results to its users. For many SEO professionals, it can become more important to use ranking tactics than it is to provide the correct content to the intended user. Website owners need to refocus their efforts on providing a quality experience for users, rather than dividing themselves and their websites between what search engines want, and what users need. Search engine bots should be treated like any other customer who would want to enjoy a quality Web experience. As Mr. Lincoln would say, “A website divided against itself cannot stand.”

“Be sure to place your links in the right place, then stand firm.”

What Mr. Lincoln was trying to say:

Link farms will come and go as Google updates algorithms and changes what is defined as a “good link.” However, creating a strong internal and external linking structure, and then maintaining that course, is the key to linking success in the future. Begin by having a strong link structure for internal pages. This makes it easier for users to move from page to page on your website, and it is easier to rank with a search bot-friendly design. As far as external links are concerned, it is important to place your links in relevant and authoritative places. Regardless of follow status, a relevant link from a high authority site will be more helpful to a link profile than working with previously penalized farms or spammy link-heavy sites. Even the most trusted link-building processes, such as guest blogging, have become more difficult with changes in the online landscape and underhanded practices. If you have been creating and maintaining a clean link profile, then stay on course. If you have been straying into dangerous waters with your links, right the ship and stick to a better direction for your online marketing.

“The best thing about online marketing is that it comes one day at a time.”

What Mr Lincoln was trying to say:

It is important to remember that all of the changes to your website do not have to occur at the same time. If you try to redesign your website, adopt an effective link strategy, and start creating stellar content all in the same day, it can be overwhelming to fix your online marketing strategy. Make changes to your strategy one step at a time. This allows you to find out what needs to be done as soon as possible to allow growth in the short-term, and you can create long-term goals for sustained growth. The Internet is mostly about instant gratification and immediate results. It is important to remember that effective marketing can be a long process. You need to build up a client base and adopt an effective strategy to maintain and grow that same group.

“Better to remain silent on social media and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

What Mr Lincoln was trying to say:

The world of social media as it relates to online marketing is a double-edged sword. If you have no presence established, it is very difficult to establish a rapport and get customers talking about your business. However, if you do not use social media outlets correctly, it can be worse than having no presence at all. If you over-promote, or annoy your customers with your social media efforts, you may find out that you have lost ground, and are in a worse position than when you started. Social signals are becoming more important for SEO as Google places value on how much users want to share and interact with your content and brand. The emergence of Google Authorship as it relates to Google+ is another way that social media is becoming much more than sharing a link to your organization’s website. It is important to come up with an effective social media strategy before you start tweeting and sharing with reckless abandon.

Who knew that Abraham Lincoln had so much to say about the world of online marketing? Use these tips and you will find that you can enjoy SEO success no matter what year it is. Good luck and thanks for reading.


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Evan Wright is the digital content manager at DigitalParc, a Minneapolis Web design and SEO company in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is also the author of The Art of Saving: How to Create Your Money Masterpiece, a consumer advice book. Evan specializes in content strategy, SEO, and online marketing.

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