SEO is both static and dynamic: Some things, like great informative content, never go out of style. Other tricks and crafty switch-ups are out of date almost by the time they’re implemented. Part of this is simply the nature of the web; ever-evolving as it is. Other challenges are the mysterious and sometimes surprising shifts in Google’s algorithm. For many marketers, this results in the feeling that it’s nearly impossible to keep up.
Here’s the good news: While we can’t predict the unpredictable, most shifts in the landscape come with plenty of warning. As we look ahead to 2015, there are some relatively obvious directions that SEO is likely to take. Below you’ll find the most promising techniques that are most likely to pay off big in the coming year.
Remember that you don’t have to master all the elements of great SEO: Just those that make the most sense for your business. If any of the tactics below feel relevant, make them your SEO priorities for the new year.
1. Social is the New SEO
While I encourage you to not believe the hype that SEO is dead, social is in fact a stronger player going into 2015. Because social media now accounts for over 25% of all time spent online, it’s an undeniable force. Social signals are therefore being more smartly integrated into all the major search engines’ algorithms.
Your first tip for SEO magic in 2015 is therefore a very strong and consistent social presence. Plan cohesive and wide-reaching social media campaigns, and tie them in to the content marketing efforts you’re creating for great SEO too. The more cohesive your marketing messages are across all channels, the clearer the message you are sending to your target audience. Consistency ranks as one of the top marketing techniques that is truly timeless; utilize this in your social campaigns and you’ll see the positive results.
2. Approach SEO as a Real-Time Practice
With the enormous list of powerful real-time social analytics tools, you can now adjust your strategies in seconds and respond to data that clearly articulates strengths and weaknesses. If you’re still using the old school approach of looking at metrics monthly and then plotting future changes, you are way behind your more crafty competitors. SEO needs to have a balance between careful planning and real-time response. If you know something isn’t working, be it incorrectly targeted keywords or website content that isn’t converting, changing it is better than watching more negative results quantify. Use these tools wisely and make educated adjustments in your SEO, and you’ll see the analytics shift into your favor in no time.
3. Go Mobile or Go Down in Flames
It’s just not an option for nearly any business to ignore the incredible impact of mobile on SEO. Experts expect mobile to overtake traditional web browsing in nearly all categories in 2015, so a great mobile SEO strategy is key. Mobile keywords and web use is vastly different than desktop usage in many ways. Study how your target user searches for your content on mobile, and have a small-screen centric strategy to reach as many of these folks as you can. Since this audience is likely to only continue to rise, it’s your go-to if you can only focus on a single segment. Nowadays, it’s better to target just mobile than just desktop searchers.
4. Fast Sites Equal Faster Profits
Slower sites are getting left behind more and more as user attention spans get shorter and shorter. Google has always penalized slower sites and that appears to be increasing, likely in part to the mobile craze. Searchers are even more impatient when accessing data on small screens, so make sure your content and sites load quickly and clearly on all devices. And it goes without saying that everything needs to be intuitively designed, and mobile-friendly too.
5. Timeliness is Godliness
Working in tandem with the real-time philosophy, aim to keep your content as fresh and relevant as possible. Leaving holiday content up even a few days after events have passed can damage search results and credibility in the eyes of your users. Content marketing strategies need to be consistent and frequent. Releasing content just once a week, as an example, will likely not cut it if you want to rank in the top 5 of your industry. Quantity and quality are becoming more and more critical as competition increases.
6. Email is Still a Powerful Force
Don’t count this old standby out as a significant marketing tool. With all the web clutter, well-written and appropriately targeted email campaigns still have some of the best ROI results around.
By coupling email campaigns, SEO, content marketing tactics, and social media marketing in consistent, cohesive, and relevant ways, you have the perfect trifecta to score big in 2015.
As you can see, none of these tips include any black hat tactics – those are becoming increasingly dangerous, as repercussions are significant and can mean your business all but disappears. Search engines and users are on to tricks that lack meaning and integrity. Focus on giving value to your customers, and search engines will certainly take notice too.
What other SEO tactics seem imperative for 2015?