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Most search engine-optimization (SEO) practitioners (71%) say understanding the link between social sharing and search rankings is more important in 2014 than it was last year, according to a recent report from BrightEdge.

Measuring rank in Google Universal Search results (those that include photos, videos, etc.) is also seen as increasingly necessary by SEO professionals (57% say it is more important in 2014), as is measuring presence and rank in Google Carousel results (72% view as more important).

Less than half (46%) of respondents say finding anomalies in keyword rank is more important this year than last, perhaps reflecting the search engines' changing emphasis on keywords as a ranking factor.

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji