The New Year has finally arrived so we at NetTonic decided to spend an hour talking about the key factors that will influence SEO 2015.
We started our conversation with a “Stating the Obvious” moment, SEO tactics constantly change! No longer is SEO a standalone skill once the property of internet marketing intellects today the best campaign strategies include SEO as a component which embellishes and supplements your marketing efforts.
To construct a plan for the future it is often worth looking over our shoulder at what has happened which is likely to influence our decision processes. In 2014 alone according to Moz history change there was 13 updates to Googles algorithm, plus all the almost daily refreshes. Clearly we live in a land dominated by one big player Google, it is very much their train set and they can do what they like. So with rumours around that Apple are looking at creating a search engine should we really put all our eggs into one basket:
Look At Other Search Engines Besides Google
Yahoo will be probably this year become the default browser for Firefox, and Google’s agreement with Safari is about to expire. Add Apple to the mix and the relative easier pathway to ranking it is certainly a route to gaining additional traffic
Concentrate on The User Experience
Google is placing an increasing amount of focus on user experience. Today mobile website traffic exceeds desktop traffic. In the past many sites ignored the user preferring to optimise for the search engines, this is no longer acceptable. All search engines give preference to websites that utilize responsive design; poor mobile optimisation can lead to higher bounce rates and have a negative impact on SEO results.
Earn Your Links
Inbound links are still a strong sign of authority what has changed is how you go about obtaining these. Much of our time at NetTonic is spent trying to clean out and remove toxic spammy links. Google has got very good at detecting these and will only get better, so my advice is forget about article spinning software, cheap content writers churning out rubbish that know body wants to read. Concentrate on quality; try to be a leader not a follower.
The factor that everyone is talking about and one that is certainly generating varied opinions. Fact…Google recently announced that HTTPS will become a ranking signal which means that secure sites will receive a slight ranking advantage. However this signal is so weak at the moment that I would suggest there are greater priorities to concentrate on before you spend your hard earned cash. Let’s face it secure sites are supposed to stop Hackers…really!! I am sure Mr Smith selling candles from his brochure site is not really what Google had in mind.
Don’t Ignore Long tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are beneficial because there may be less competition and thus easier to rank for. With the introduction of Google’s Hummingbird update there is no longer the need to match specific keywords to pages. Google is increasingly trying to understand the searcher intention and provide results which are best associated with the key term. So consider plurals and similes or even targeting responses to questions mobile users may e.g. Apples SIRI.
We decided to stop after 5 as most of the other suggestions really just reinforced what we know as both onsite and offsite best practices. In conclusion we all agreed that SEO is certainly getting harder and to use a football analogy…if you want to compete with the top teams you have to be prepared to invest in the right players, managers, facilities etc. Not every company will have a Roman Abramovich budget to invest in SEO so make sure your expectations are realistic. Finally I commented that SEO is getting harder, well this is not totally true! Googles best practices have not really changed much, what has changed is their ability to qualify what is good and penalise what is bad. I don’t like to say you get what you pay for because it’s not always true but achieving quality does come at a cost.