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December 4, 2015

Learning From 2015’s SEO Successes, Failures

SEO-Tips

Every year brings a variety of promising new SEO tactics and strategies that business owners hope will launch their sites onto the first page of the SERPs. Throughout the course of the year, many sites implement these practices and ultimately end up in an SEO tailspin, only to crash and burn because of some tactic or understanding that went horribly awry.

2015 was no different. This year was a whirlwind of SEO news; numerous updates to Google’s algorithms, new factors to weigh and consider, and old methods reaching their demise. The SEO scene is in some ways unrecognizable, and in others it’s reliably consistent. The paradox is part of what keeps us on our toes.

As we reach the end of 2015, it is time to look back and reflect on what worked for throughout the year, what failed miserably, and what to carry with you into 2016.

Here is the 2015 SEO recap:

The Biggest Failures

Throughout the year, various aspects to SEO were altered, leaving many sites in dire conditions because of a lack of effort or by utilizing outdated strategies. Here are the prime areas of colossal mistakes:

Keywords 

In 2015, one of the main changes to the landscape was found in keywords. Ranking for single short-tailed keywords simply does not hold the weight that it once did. With Google’s popular voice to text search feature, more and more folks are posing casual questions to the search giant for their queries. This means that mid- to long-tailed keywords have become more prevalent, more popular and more powerful than ever before. It used to be that shorter keywords were golden if you could cut through the competition. The way people search – especially on mobile devices – is changing the game.

Content

While content itself did not fail, certain types most certainly did. With Google’s Panda update, hordes of websites were demoted and severely dropped in rankings due to content that was thin, poorly-written, unoriginal, unhelpful, duplicate and more. Google now holds the value and usefulness of content to extremely high standards which means that content creators need to be on their A-game. No more mediocre efforts if you expect to rise above the clutter.

Backlinks

This is another SEO aspect that didn’t necessarily fail, but tactics did change, leading many sites to falter because of their unwillingness to update outmoded methods. When Google’s Penguin update hit the scene this year, sites that contained paid-links, unnatural links, spam-like links, links from sites with low-quality content and more were destroyed by the algorithm. Many folks have since made great friends with Google’s disavow tool but are still struggling to regain their stature in the ranks.

Success to Celebrate

There was plenty of good news on the SEO front this year; here were the biggest headlines:

User Experience

As far as Google is concerned, user experience on sites is paramount. This is why Google is constantly making updates, alterations, and adjustments to algorithms; for a better user experience. With that, Google is now beginning to expect the same from the sites that rank on the engine. For sites that contain a clean design, superior usability, and top-notch content, Google will ultimately favor your site versus one with a lower-class experience. This is a major win for all Internet users because it’s forcing companies to design people-friendly websites, not those that cater to bots.

Mobile Optimization

The advent of “Mobilegeddon” came with a warning to all site owners; optimize now or pay the price later. And as for those who did heed Google’s warning, it was reported in the six weeks following the update that mobile-friendly sites saw an 11 percent increase. With mobile devices taking over, it has become imperative that businesses ensure their sites are optimized for mobile in order to retain the competitive edge in SEO.

Local SEO

Local SEO shook things up a whole lot this year since people are increasingly conducting mobile searches seeking local solutions. According to Google, four out of five searchers use search engines for this exact reason. This year Google upped the ante for local businesses: it reduced results from displaying seven listings, to a condensed local three-pack; making local SEO all the more important.

What SEO Tips are Crucial in 2016

With 2016 just around the corner, it is time to begin refining your strategy for what comes next. Certain consistent aspects such as top-notch content, proper back linking, high-end UX, and optimum page speed will still apply, but a few newer elements will see an increase in importance.

The first big one is mobile; it is critical to implement a strong mobile design that seamlessly integrates all desktop features. Desktop has officially begun its demise and without a blueprint for mobile SEO, your site will increasingly drop in rank.

Next up are social signals. Social signals currently play a minimal role in SEO, but with Google now embedding Twitter tweets into search results, you had better expect social media to grow in importance as it relates to search visibility.

Lastly, video content will officially begin its takeover as the preferred content medium. With platforms like Vine, Periscope, Snapchat, and Blab surging in popularity, user priority is now shifting to favor visual content above all else. Google’s algorithms are becoming more sophisticated in ranking visual content, but it’s still crucial to include text descriptions with keywords for all of these related posts.

It’s no secret that SEO is constantly changing. To remain relevant in the coming year, you must embrace both the consistent and dynamic tricks. As 2016 approaches, prepare your blueprint with what you know will remain as a staple, what you can see coming down the pipeline, and as always, be ready to bend and flex because things will unforeseeably shift throughout the year.

How did your site fair in 2015 with SEO? What were your biggest lessons?


avatar

Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

33 Responses to “Learning From 2015’s SEO Successes, Failures

    avatar World Jobs says:

    I add my website in last few days in many social network and directories some are free and some payable directories but still not indexed in google is it normal will take some times?
    I am new and I try to read more and more about seo and I found your site have deep knowledge about
    Thanks

    avatar Sudeep says:

    Thanks Tina for some good tips for 2016!

    avatar Jasa SEO says:

    Totally agree with this. Some people don’t like the obvious shift to local SEO for local business, but I think it’s a good and obvious shift. I think Google and other SERPs were getting a bad name for the fact that they had created a place where the small local coffee shop couldn’t compete with the likes of big brands such as Starbucks and costa due to the amount of back links those could get.

    A good summary. We have seen some of this first hand and adjusted our approach to the new ideas.

    avatar Jere says:

    Thanks for another good summary article, Tina. I found it useful and helpful. I said to my partner here, “Huh! The last few times I have read an article about SEO that was actually useful, it was written by Tina Courtney-Brown! But she needs a better photo on her bio….”

    Thanks for the insightful content. I agree with you that Local SEO, Content, Mobile optimization and user experience create a buzz this year. I have swallow the best lesson and I am heading into 2016 waiting for Google surprises.

    avatar George says:

    Hi
    Thanks for your tips. Please tell me some more SEO factors to get a good rank in SERP.

    avatar baguz says:

    A lot of optimization need. a good template and meta description need to success in SEO not juts OFF page, But Onpage to.

    avatar How2This says:

    Hey Tina, I think the biggest thing to learn in 2015 was the optimizations for speed and mobile friendly design. If you look deep into the search results on a mobile, then you’ll find a clear tag of which sites are mobile friendly.
    Also, if a site is slow to load, then Google even puts a tag in the SERP itself. This is clearly a new thing for most of us. :)
    Other key points you pointed are good for newbies. It will help them all!

    I have seen that many changes are happening in SEO in a very quick time which never allows webmaster to make a similar kind of strategy to make a continue success.

    Nice information. Too much to learn from 2015 SEO failures here. Thanks to posting it for us. We are very thankful to sitepro news.

    hello dear,
    What will be the 2016 organic view of google can you please guide me more.
    Thanks
    Sagar Ganatra

    I really like how you talked about Learning From 2015’s SEO Successes, Failures. That idea/tip on (What SEO Tips are Crucial in 2016) was very helpful.
    I have a site built around Seo learning tips. Feel free to check it out if you’d like to: My Research Blog

    avatar Beth Simpson says:

    Totally agree with this. Some people don’t like the obvious shift to local SEO for local business, but i think it’s a good and obvious shift. I think Google and other SERP’s were getting a bad name for the fact that they had created a place where the small local coffee shop couldn’t compete with the likes of big brands such as Starbucks and costa due to the amount of back links those could get. But now they base the relevance on search location as a huge ranking factor, especially with the maps at the top of search. It has helped the smaller shops be competitive and I think it’s a good thing.

    avatar delizard says:

    Nice article! I think video will be the most important seo/marketing area in the future!

    avatar Frazer says:

    Yeah video will be a big thing going forward

    avatar duduul says:

    I really like how you talked about Learning From 2015’s SEO Successes, Nice article! I think video will be the most important seo/marketing area in the future!

    avatar Brainpulse says:

    Another great post, with great ideas ….

    The latest innovations necessary for 2016. Thank you for sharing this great article

    avatar Neo Ni says:

    Hi Tina,

    Great piece of content, Tina. Congratulations!

    In Given article all kinds of tips about SEO perspective is more beneficial for us, One of the best key points of this article is Backlinks, and that has proved how it worked and grow up any websites, and excellent worked and nice article.

    avatar FHx COC says:

    Thanks Tina for some good tips for 2016!

    avatar vikki says:

    Good information. Happy to see valuable details of SEO. We are expecting 2016 good tricks.

    avatar Tino Berita says:

    Learn more here about the things that are related with the success and failure in implementing SEO Chairman in 2015

    avatar Uber says:

    I have facing lot of seo failures after i realize what are the things are negative and positive. So currently i m doing a Positive strategy and a huge success in SEO. Thanks for the more tip sitepro. Always Awesome share.

    avatar Tally says:

    Thanks once again another great example and lots of useful information. It is really helpful

    That’s the very nice post you have shared with us. I really liked it. Please keep sharing more and more information.

    avatar Jasa SEO says:

    Thanks for another good summary article, Tina. I found it useful and helpful. I said to my partner here, “Huh! The last few times I have read an article about SEO that was actually useful, it was written by Tina Courtney-Brown! But she needs a better photo on her bio….”

    avatar harga bondek says:

    A good summary. We have seen some of this first hand and adjusted our approach to the new ideas

    This post is very informative and also useful for all readers. Thanks for sharing this article with all of us.

    avatar Foto Bugil says:

    Thanks for another good summary article, Tina. I found it useful and helpful. I said to my partner here, “Huh! The last few times I have read an article about SEO that was actually useful, it was written by Tina Courtney-Brown! But she needs a better photo on her bio….”,,

    avatar Video Bokep says:

    Thanks once again another great example and lots of useful information. It is really helpful…

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