I keep creating posts about SEO best practices as they get outdated after just a few months. This is the thing about SEO: it is an ever-changing practice. I am collecting in this post what I think will be paramount to SEO this year... but watch this space! I might need to change it in a few months.
Each year, SEO becomes a more sophisticated discipline. Long gone are the times when typing a few keywords here and there was enough to get a website ranking high on search engines. It now takes a lot of strategic planning and fine copywriting skills for this to happen.
1. Content is King
We have heard this a lot in the first few months of 2015 and it is definitely true that Google's latest algorithms focuses highly on content.
It needs to be fresh, it needs to be original and it needs to avoid focusing on keywords
Instead of keyword-saturating a content, you have to take a more semantic approach. Focus on generating high-quality content that uses both relevant keywords and synonyms for those keywords.
2. Mobile usability is key
More and more people are searching for information on mobile devices and this trend is unlikely to stop anytime soon. In fact, there are a lot of people in developing countries who do not own a desktop or a tablet and whose only way to surf the net is via their smartphones. Google has been scanning the internet for mobile unfriendly websites for a couple of years and penalising them as a result.
Google's latest algorythm also encourages mobile-friendly websites when searches are made via mobile devices. This is, if your website is not mobile-friendly, ranking will be affected when a user searchs from a mobile device but not from a desktop.
However, you are missing a good opportunity to get to more people if your site is not usable on mobile devices. Look at the design, content and usability, think about creating a separate mobile version for your website, a mobile app or use a responsive web design theme.
3. Social Media
There has been a debate going on for a while about whether a brand's social media activity influences ranking or not. It is clear that social media profiles ranking contributes to overall brand awareness. Social media also helps promote a website's content, hence, driving more visitors to a website and can help bring out great success for a website, content or product.
The truth is that there are many ways in which social media impacts your SEO: social shares give your website more inbound links, visitors referred to a website from social media is organic traffic (= good quality visitors), easy to engage mobile users using social media, ...
Social signals are integrated in a website's content. High quality content gets more social shares and therefore, a higher ranking in search engine results. Thus, if you have not yet started using social media, it is never too late to start and if you are worried about your website's SEO, you should definitely start using them RIGHT NOW!
4. Visual elements
Original, high-quality content which includes graphics, images and clips is becoming increasingly important when it comes to SEO. This trend is going to grow as people (particularly mobile users) expect to see some sort of engaging visual content when they access a website. If you add this to the fact that Youtube is a Google company, it is easy to undesrtand the huge amount of link and social sharing traffic that Youtube can get for your site.
But what can be better than illustrate the above with an example:
5. Brand mention will be the focus of Link Building
Even though link building continues to be important, the way search engines interpret it has changed. With the focus now being on the content, social popularity and relevance are important factors when it comes to link building. Brand mentions and relevant information being discussed about a brand or website might not require a hyperlink but will still count SEO-wise.
I would like to know your opinion about SEO trends for 2015 so, whether you agree or disagree with me, I would love to hear from you! Let me know @Sensetr or by email.