The SEO industry continues to change drastically as shifting consumer behavior and course of purchasing decisions are forcing search engines to revive their standards for organic indexation. Precisely what any intelligent search engine such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, or even DuckDuckGo would do if market share domination was in their forecast. As we slowly easy into 2015, every website owner begs to wonder about future SEO strategies. Ones that will help them boost their organic visibility, drive more targeted inbound traffic, and ultimately increase their bottom line potential.
On annual basis, Google alone implements anywhere between 500-600 algorithmic changes as reported in the change history developed by Moz. That’s an astronomically large number of refinements to improve search quality and information available to end users. As a digital marketer with strong interest in the search world, I find this quite ludicrous yet necessary in acknowledging the notion Google puts forth with intent of refining the overall user search experience. After all, that’s their ultimate goal and one that has attributed to dominating nearly 70% of the overall search market share.
Amping up SEO endeavors for 2015 will entail in paying closer attention to key areas that may not have been considered as significant previously.
Mobile Isn’t On the Uprise, It’s Dominating
A study performed in 2012 by comScore predicted that mobile traffic activity will surpass desktop in 2014. Well, they were right! The innovation of technology particularly with smartphones and tablets has allowed consumers to absorb information more efficiently thru their devices rather than resorting to a desktop experience. Accessibility plays an intricate role in consumer behavior by allowing each user to absorb information in a way unlike ever before. So, as we slowly slide into 2015, it’s critical to ensure that your website offers a mobile-friendly presence. The Google mobile-friendly tool is an excellent resource for identifying the compliance of your site with its criteria for optimal user engagement.
UX/UI elements also stand of critical importance as they attribute to the overall user experience and interaction in the mobile environment. Here’s a few specific tips to consider on the mobile front as you amp up into 2015:
- One platform for all devices. If your website does not offering a responsive design format, consider pursuit of one. Separate mobile-specific websites are now redundant due to the evolution of HTML5, jQuery, and CSS3 languages.
- Simple is more. Presentation of information should be offered in an effective yet efficient manner. Consider the flat design approach.
- Test for desktop and mobile visibility. What users see on desktop should not necessarily equate to the same amount of information on mobile devices. Mainly due to the confinements of the device viewport which does not allow for presentation of heavy amounts of information.
- Focus on improvements around typography and stylistic elements that portray across information in a more succinct fashion.
- Explore cross-browser compliance testing that ensures congruent presentation of your website on major browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla FireFox, Safari, Opera, and even Internet Explorer.
Expand Search Visibility on Other Engines
It has been discussed year-over-year that there could a potential gap close on search market share by other engines. This seems to be a hot topic of discussion and one that could catch some momentum in 2015. FireFox, one of world’s most popular web browsers recently decided to ditch Google as its default search engine and replace it with Yahoo. Google’s agreement with Apple’s Safari browser will also expire in 2015 and Bing or Yahoo area already bidding for the soon to be open spot. This move could potentially open up additional visibility opportunities for website owners and brands seeking additional exposure in search. Additional options for switching default browsers on iOS 8 and OS X such as Google are apparently also in existence allowing for more user flexibility.
With Google fading away as the default search engine in FireFox, it opens up areas of focus for optimization on the Yahoo search engine. Definitely something worth exploring further even if Yahoo only spans a mere 3% search market share.
Shift From Keyword Rankings to Bottom Line Results
The fundamentals of independent keyword rankings are long gone. However, even to this day I’ve encountered SEO agencies and clients equally that pose questions such as “How do I rank on Page 1 of Google?” or “I’d like to rank on Page 1 of Google for “X” keyword.” The entire mentality behind keyword rankings seems absolutely silly these days but a good portion of website owners out there still operate under such belief. In the reality of things, there’s two questions you need to ask yourself as we slide into 2015:
- Do you care about a fancy report that shows some fluff data about keyword rankings?
- Is impact on bottom line more important and data the reflects on such results displaying profitable outcome far more important?
Keyword rankings matter in a sense that they drive targeted inbound traffic that can assist with improved conversions and ROI. But to get stuck in the mentality of keyword rankings along as means of SEO success is absolutely rudimentary.
Social Media Sparks Conversations, Generates Awareness, Invokes Interest
Even several years now into the social media bubble, I still hear conversations floating around regarding ROI from social media. How can you place monetary value on a conversation? Can you monetize a new relationship by placing ROI on it? Perhaps, these are questions that some brands are still led to believe but in the reality of things social media is for relationship building and not selling. Social signals play a small role in the SEO formula even as a small percentage of the pie. But, they do matter and you should consider social media integration within your site.
Here’s a few tips to consider that coincides with SEO on a grand scale:
- Ensure that your site offers social sharing capabilities so that your visitors have the flexibility of sharing the content onto their favorite social platforms. Typically these consist of Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn.
- Integration social sharing tracking capabilities within Google Analytics so you can measure interactions with your visitors and the social channels. This will help determine the specific interest around your content that peaks visitors liking.
- Monitor interactions between visitors to your site and social sharing trends to determine specific patterns. Analyzing this data further will help determine specific areas of interest.
Focus on Building Trust & Authority
Trust and authority stands of critical importance in the eyes of search engines. Establishment of credibility though is perhaps one of the toughest tasks to accomplish on the web. With that being said, there’s a few things to consider strongly as you attempt to dominate the search interwebz.
- Stop pursuit of building mass quantities of backlinks thru irrelevant blogs, sites, or directories. Those are useless at this point in time.
- Focus on building valuable relationships on the web by earning links in the old fashioned way. Request a link manually from a trusted resource and one that resonates with your own business model.
- Avoid link farms or link exchange opportunities as those are typically gimmicks. The Google Penguin update specifically focused on eliminating sites that contained spammy backlinks.
The every changing SEO world is hard enough to maneuver as is but considering strategic maneuvers in 2015 will help improve visibility and open doors to improved traffic potential. In the ideal world I would also consider acquiring an SEO audit followed by a strategic SEO plan from a seasoned professional to assist in paving a path to success in the organic space for your brand.
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