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January 16, 2015

The Top SEO Trends Your Website Should Cover in 2015

Now that 2014 is behind us, it would be wise to stay abreast of the trends and innovations that expert observers anticipate in the coming months. When you evaluate your website, digital marketing and SEO strategies, you should be aware of a number of predictions that will likely have an effect on your fortunes in 2015.

If you start to incorporate the latest SEO best practices right away, then you’ll be amply prepared for whatever happens in the next 12 months. Here’s what the smart folks are doing:

Focus on mobile

If you’ve paid any attention to SEO trends in 2014, the push for responsive websites was strong, but it’s predicted to strengthen even more in the coming year. As the number of mobile users continues to grow, firms that have responsive websites are more likely to experience increased traffic, audience engagement, and social exposure.

If you don’t have it already, shifting to responsive web design ensures your content will appear clearly and your website is navigable on any device.

Invest in social

Social signals, once suspected to be a factor in search algorithms, have officially become a vital metric of a site’s relevance. Social sharing, mentions, and likes all contribute to a website’s social significance, but marketers in 2015 will need to take social media marketing strategies to the next level by incorporating customer service.

Many social users agree that personalized messaging and individualized attention work together to build customer trust and loyalty. If you claim social profiles and frequently engage with your audience, you’re certain to enjoy a jump in ranking.

Target long-tail keywords and phrases

Finding the golden keyword is no longer your ticket to a successful digital presence. Now SEOs are expected to incorporate long-tail keywords and phrases into website content to enhance their relevance and rankings.

The benefits of using long-tail keywords are twofold. First, the strategic placement of long-tail keywords and phrases can help search engines index your site for content that’s specific to actual user searches, which improves a customer’s ability to find information quickly.

Second, long-tail keywords or phrases generally face less competition than primary key terms, and that means your website will have a better chance of landing a first-page ranking.

Concentrate on earned links

A decade-long crackdown on spammy and paid links has led SEO-conscious webmasters to one conclusion: It’s better to earn quality links slowly but steadily than to build a network of backlinks swiftly through the use of unethical tactics.

As if the threat of de-indexing weren’t enough, using black-hat techniques to generate links back to your website is highly discouraged. Instead, experts recommend reaching out to thought leaders and social influencers in your industry to build a reliable network of backlinks.

Publish a variety of content

Contrary to the beliefs of some, not all content is created equal. In 2014, we saw an increased focus on visual content, including infographics, video, and memes.

Many marketers experienced higher returns on investment from visual content as opposed to text, but all would agree that a dynamic mix of content is the “secret sauce” for companies that seek to establish a strong digital presence. Design a content plan that contains original, syndicated, and curated content in order to give readers variety.

Be proactive about addressing bad SEO

Nothing’s perfect, and the Internet is clearly no exception. Whether your site is the victim of black-hat tactics by competitors or you realize you’ve been following outdated tactics, evaluate your site’s pages to identify and eliminate any SEO red flags.

Try to redress any of the following concerns as soon as possible:

  • Influx of backlinks from unverified sources.
  • Pages with keyword densities that exceed three percent.
  • Broken links throughout your site.
  • Duplicated or scraped content.

Acknowledge the importance of site speed

An essential ranking factor for Google these days, site and page load speed has an impact on multiple aspects of your website, from position in SERPs to bounce rate. It’s particularly significant when visitors access your site from a mobile device.

Poor site load speed can be the difference between a lost lead and new sale. Depending on your website’s development platform, there are many ways to improve load speed:

  • Remove unneeded plugins.
  • Optimize images and video.
  • Eliminate flash.
  • Use browser caching for faster load speed.
  • Compress large pages.
  • Switch to a more reliable hosting company.

A world outside of Google

Move over, Google. There’s been talk of a new search engine, and it’s not Yahoo or Bing. DuckDuckGo, a search engine that’s made its debut on iOS devices, is gaining popularity among Apple enthusiasts and may be 2015’s most significant competition for Google.

While the full potential effects of a new search engine aren’t clear, the emergence of DuckDuckGo has encouraged heightened awareness of new possibilities in 2015. In addition to tracking algorithm updates issued by Google and Bing, SEO practitioners may have to consider the impact of newer search engines.

Ring in the New Year

Now that you’ve seen some of the SEO predictions for 2015, are you prepared for the changes to come? If not, start implementing small changes now.

Whether you remove a few unnecessary plugins to improve site speed or aim for increased audience engagement with revamped content, now’s a great time to take steps to stay on top of the action in 2015.


Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.