One thing you can count on in life is change. The same goes for digital marketing. Google has already made a drastic change to their algorithm this year to favor mobile friendly websites (read more about that HERE), so what is coming next?
Well, I don't know, but I have made some very educated guesses based on trends and data analysis to know what things to focus on.
1. Content is King, and should stay that way.
Just make sure it is engaging and relevant to your keywords and audience. Google’s latest search engine algorithm focuses more on content, which means there is less focus on keyword saturation and more focus on the quality and relevancy of the content to the reader. You should continue to generate custom content that uses relevant keywords and synonyms but focus more on the content than the words themselves. This is the next step that trends along with the Google's 2012 Penguin update; "The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s quality guidelines. This algorithm represents another step in our efforts to reduce webspam/blackhat tactics and promote high-quality content."
2. Mobile-Friendly SEO is now a must.
With Google's most recent mobile friendly algorithm update, the mobile user experience is now a very important factor in Google’s search engine ranking algorithm. In January 2015, mobile searches officially surpassed the desktop searches and will continue to grow throughout the year. Early estimates say that there will be as many as 50 billion local searches using mobile devices in 2015.
Luckily Google has provided us an easy tool to see if our websites are mobile friendly. If it is not, you could lose as much as 30% of your search traffic. Don't you want to be found in those searches?
3. Increased focus on conversations and quality content instead of keywords.
In 2013, semantic search became a big deal with Google’s Hummingbird update. Search engines are now using intent, context, and meaning in a search query, instead of focusing on keywords to an industry topic. This means "conversational" (or long-tail keyword) phrases will continue to grow in importance for SEO rankings. Now is the time to start tailoring your SEO efforts to engage in a conversation with search engine users.
4. Brand Mentions will be Paramount for Link Building.
In 2015, proper link building will continue to be necessary. Search engines are now interpreting backlinks coming to and from a website to be more content focused. So content will need to be relevant and trending positively in social media. Brand mentions, or relevant information that the source website is discussing your brand or website, will factor into your SEO ranking efforts.
5. Visual-Based SEO Will Be Making More of an Impact.
High quality, quality content including visual media elements like graphics, images, and video were becoming a focus of performance for the top-ranked web pages in 2014, and this is highly expected to continue through 2015. Visual elements combined with Rich Text gets priority in SERPs over web pages with only text. Also, video marketing on YouTube can generate a massive amount of link and social sharing traffic for your site.
6. Social Engagement Will Be Even More Important.
Changes within the Google's algorithm have not only placed more importance on original content, but they have also begun to rely more on social signals to elevate importance in search engine ranking. We believe eventually, people can expect to see content and social signals integrated. With content of higher quality getting more social shares usually results in ranking higher in the search engines.
7. Online Security Is Becoming More Important in Rankings.
If your website manages online payments and personal customer information, you have to make sure proper security measures are taken to safeguard that information. For example, using security certificates and HTTPS instead of HTTP will help your website rise in search engine rankings this year. All major Content Management Systems will have validators to ensure security measures on your website. Be sure to contact your support team if you do not know what security tactics are being used for your customers.
8. So Long Keyword Rankings, Hello to ROI!
A large focus in 2015 will switch from keyword rankings to more important tactics that would directly impact your ROI. If your top-ranked web page does not generate conversions and sales, then it needs to be updated or changed to meet your conversion goals. You will need to apply new SEO strategies that look beyond link building and keyword ranking, and focus your content on engagement with your audience, which will eventually convince them to convert into a lead or sale. Creating an SEO strategy based around this ideas is the single most important thing you can do if you want your digital marketing strategy to succeed.
2015 is passing fast, so start using these trends and best practices now to be ahead of the game all year. In fact, here are a few resources to help you get started: