December 22, 2014
It’s that time of year again; time to wrap up the past year and to start focusing forward on what’s ahead. This applies not only to personal agendas and priorities, but also to your brand strategy. This means that now is the time to focus on how to take your brand to the next level in 2015. A great place to start? Preparing to revamp your SEO strategy for the New Year.
One year ago, I discussed ways to rethink your SEO strategy for 2014. Now that the year is drawing to a close, where do those strategies stand? What has changed? What’s coming for 2015 that you should be aware of now?
Resolutions from Last Year that Still Hold True
Certain things have not and will not change relating to SEO and how you approach it as a brand manager. Last year, the ideas of resolving to learn something new and to increase conversions were critical. They haven’t changed.
As an SEO professional, it’s your responsibility to learn on a regular basis. Case in point: last year, the Hummingbird update was crucial for anyone looking to maximize SEO potential. Since then, Pigeon and Penguin 3.0 have taken over. These regular updates are designed to increase search efficiency and to cut down on spam – which results in more accurate listings for searchers and requires new SEO approaches for brands.
Professionals looking to increase the effectiveness of SEO by focusing on an increase in conversions must understand that it’s an evolving, constantly changing process that has the potential to change overnight – and frequently does just that.
In addition to those basic resolutions, the idea that social media is linked to SEO became popular in 2014; it’s still just as relevant heading into 2015. SEO increases traffic, provides important links, allows authorship to be established, increases site engagement and even improves index times by 50%. This means that social media should be just as much of a focus – if not more – as the New Year approaches.
As 2015 draws near, what else should you be prepared for in order to get your SEO off to a great start? Keep reading to find out.
Resolve to Research and Put Conversational Queries to Work
Over the past decade, online users have become accustomed to typing in short keyword phrases that will yield the search results they’re looking for. This often led to frustration: apple the fruit or Apple the company? Banana Republic the clothing brand or the retailer of bananas? With the search updates listed above, and “smarter” searches in general, these frustrations have been lessened; search engine crawlers have become more conversational. To revamp your SEO strategy, this should matter to you. Two areas of focus include long-tail keywords and LSI keywords.
Long-tail keywords are more conversational in structure, they include full phrases like “how do you…” and “where to find…” along with specific items and actions. In 2015, resolve to learn exactly what your customers are searching for, and to change your strategy to reflect those phrases. By using long-tail keywords, you’ll cut down on the competition and drive targeted visitors to your site.
Latent semantic indexing, or LSI, takes various forms of certain words and related terms into account. It allows Google to understand how certain keywords are related to one another so that if a user searches for “apple” as mentioned above, the search engine crawler can find words like “fruit,” red” and other related terms and link them all together to provide the right results.
Learning more about LSI and long-tail keywords is an important step for moving into the New Year.
Resolve to Optimize for Other Search Engines
It might sound slightly blasphemous – optimizing for search sites other than Google. However, some new trends are pointing in this direction. With major browsers switching loyalties – Firefox has made Yahoo the default search engine and Internet Explorer has moved to Bing – now may be the best time to be proactive.
Take the time to research these other search engines and to optimize appropriately. Paying attention to Google’s latest algorithm changes is still important, but, your target market may be searching elsewhere, especially in the near future.
Resolve to Jump on the App Scene
The world has gone mobile. This has not been an overnight change, or a surprise, but it’s the direction in which our society continues to move at a breakneck pace. This means that the time to create a mobile app for your company – if it hasn’t already passed – is now.
Furthermore, speculation exists that in the next year, major search engines will begin indexing pages and information from mobile apps just as much as from physical websites. This means that for your SEO strategy to compete with your competitors, an app almost has to be a part of the equation. Resolve to look into creating a mobile app and optimizing it for SEO in 2015.
Resolve to Build Relationships On- and Off- line in 2015
This resolution takes on a variety of forms and is important for a number of reasons.
Social Network Engagement
While Matt Cutts and the Google team have admitted that “likes” and comments may not affect SEO rankings at all, social signals still create links that help in overall link-building efforts. This means that instead of trying to buy followers and create contests for “liking and commenting,” your social efforts should be focused on engaging and connecting with your followers. The more engaged a community is, the more likely they are to share the content you post. They’re also more likely to visit your site, increasing traffic and overall search rankings. Engage your community in 2015.
Earning Links instead of Buying
It’s official: the days of buying links and trying to get hundreds of backlinks on irrelevant blogs and pages are done. Search engine crawlers have begun to punish or at least ignore sites who use this approach. This means that it’s time to earn valuable, relevant links instead. To do this, focus on building relationships with leaders in your industry. Share their content and get noticed. Put simply, work hard to build relationships with those who are relevant to your brand and earn your links.
Building Offline Relationships
It might seem like a waste in the SEO scheme, however, offline relationships can lead to online attention, citations and shares. To build these relationships, think outside the box. You can do so by:
- Hosting networking events.
- Staging seminars and conferences.
- Sponsoring events – industry-related and otherwise.
- Hosting contests.
- Joining professional membership associations.
The more awareness you bring to your brand offline, the more likely you are to gain attention online, increasing your link building potential.
The time to renew your interest in your brand’s SEO strategy and to make changes is now. What will you resolve to do in 2015?
Adrienne Erin writes weekly for SiteProNews about online marketing strategies that help businesses succeed. Follow @adrienneerin on Twitter or visit her blog Miss Rx to see more of her work or get in touch.