SEO has always been a complex and nuanced practice. As search engines, like Google, continually and consistently update their search engine ranking algorithms, SEO experts have had to try to stay one step ahead in the effort to get their clients to that coveted first page.
With the most recent search engine changes and an emphasis on filtering out sites that employ black-hat SEO tactics like key-word stuffing, the practice of SEO is leaning heavily toward a preference for quality content like copy and videos. In this blog, we’ll explore the newest trends and provide some tips to use when developing your SEO plan for the new year.
1. Utilization of Conversational Keyword Phrases
Back in 2013, Google caused a shake-up in keyword practices with its Hummingbird Update. This considerable update improved the way the search engine’s algorithm interpret “conversational” or “long-tail” phrases. This update was aimed at ensuring that whole phrases are understood fully rather than just as a string of singular search terms. How does this effect SEO efforts? By forcing those who employ them to think more organically.
SEO experts can no longer focus on single keywords and expect positive results. Rather, they need to make every effort make ensure that anchor text linking back to the sites they are SEO-ing is more conversational and less focused on hitting the right isolated keywords.
2. Inbound links and Brand Mentions
Inbound links are largely considered one of the biggest factors influencing search engine page ranking. However, the means by which Google interprets and measures these links has seen some recent changes. Google has been quick to identify and react to certain unseemly practices brought on by the unfettered practice of link building campaigns. It is no longer a case of ‘a link is a link’. Under new methods, Google now takes into consideration any “implied links,” or “brand mentions” and the ratio with which they are disseminated across the internet.
Ensure that any links to or from your site appear natural. Also, make every effort to employ sources with a high perception of authority and legitimacy if you are pursuing a link-building campaign. Establishing and expressing your own brand’s authority is another important factor that will have a large influence on your ranking.
3. Mobile Optimization and User Behavior
Mobile Optimization is by no means a new trend, but it is one that some major brand and companies are still seemingly struggling with. Most experts predict 2015 to be the year that mobile web access eclipses home computer web access, so any business that isn’t on board with mobile optimization is missing the boat in a big way.
2015 will see a strong emphasis on SEO campaigns that support mobile optimization strategies, beyond the bare minimum of simply having a mobile responsive site. Google has implemented new ‘mobile friendly’ tags, spotlighting those sites that view and function well on smart phones and tablets. As it becomes the norm for users to select web sites based on a mobile criteria, any company that refuses to adopt them is doing their bottom line a serious disservice.
4. Long Live Content!
If you want to rank for relevant and profitable search terms and phrases, then your website must engage and entertain visitors every bit as well as it funnels them towards conversion. The days of employing ‘black hat’ trickery to creep up search rankings are well and truly over. At this point, search engines like Google have become quite proficient at breaking down and making sense of content so as to provide users with the most relevant websites. What that means is, if you your websites content is of low or unscrupulous quality, its search engine ranking will suffer.
5. Social Media Integration
Google’s search algorithms are moving ever closer toward legitimate artificial intelligence. Does this mean the robot apocalypse is upon us? Hardly! But it does mean that human signals will begin to play a more pivotal role in the future of SEO efforts. A strong social media presence and strategy that entices users to find and share your content can go a long way toward enriching your sights SEO.
Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. You can either ignore it and miss out on tons of growth opportunities, or embrace it and reap the many benefits it affords.
SEO is a critical component of any online marketing strategy, and staying on top of the latest developments in the field can provide you with the insight to more effectively position your business or product in the online marketplace. Hopefully this article has provided some insight and helped to illuminate the developments in SEO tactics that will influence the success or failure of digital marketing campaigns in the new year.