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April 29, 2015

SEO Best Practices in 2015

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Photo Credit: Augur Marketing via flickr

If there’s one constant in the world of search engine optimization – or SEO for short – it’s this: change. Practices and techniques that may have worked just a couple of years ago may no longer be working in your best interests. And making sure your brand is doing everything it can to maximize its exposure online through search engines like Google is absolutely key to taking your business to the next level. Sure, posting great, value-laden content is still key to building your brand’s authority and reach online. But there are also a few technical elements that can play a massive role in your overall SEO success. Let’s take a look at a few of these technical elements and how they can help improve your search rankings in 2015 and beyond.

Mobile Usability is Key

With more than 58 percent of Americans owning a Smartphone, and more than 42 percent owning a tablet, making sure your site looks great and functions well on a wide range of mobile devices is absolutely key to killing it with SEO in 2015. More and more people are searching for information via mobile devices, and it seems as if this trend is unlikely to stop anytime soon. Since 2012, Google has been actively scanning the Internet for websites that aren’t mobile friendly, and penalizing them as a result. So if your site isn’t mobile friendly – in terms of overall design, usability and content – turn it around, and either create a separate mobile version of your site, a mobile app, or use a responsive Web design theme. Mobile search is here to stay, and the sooner you jump on board, the sooner you’ll see a significant boost to your rankings in 2015.

Social Signals and Higher Rankings

Although Google has consistently denied in the past that social signals are used in its search algorithm, numerous studies have shown a strong correlation between social signals and rankings. And as we move through 2015, the evidence appears to be overwhelming that Facebook likes/shares and retweets play a significant role on rankings. For example, a brand that has more than 10,000 likes on Facebook and more than 10,000 followers on Twitter will have a higher authority and consequently higher search rankings than a similar brand with a smaller social presence. So work on building your following through these different social channels in 2015 by posting great content and engaging your audience. It may take a while, but by doing so, your brand will see significant results over the long-term.

Keep Your URL Short and Punchy

Shorter URLs (i.e., less than 60 characters) fare much better than longer URLs in the new SEO landscape of 2015. If you have URLs pushing more than 100 characters, then it will be in your best interests to shorten them and make them more readable to visitors. Why? Well, this isn’t really an issue for the likes of Google and Bing per se: they can easily process longer URLs. Rather, this has everything to do with human usability and user experience. In general, search engines are committed to making it as easy as possible for users to search for content online. And this means ensuring that not only the content is easy to read, but the URLs too. Shorter URLs are also much easier to copy and paste, share on social media, and to embed. And as we’ve seen above, social sharing is a key SEO metric moving into 2015.

The nature of SEO is always subject to change. That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of new developments and to tweak your approach accordingly. Because at the end of the day, if you’re an expert in the world of SEO and you understand how Google determines its rankings, then you can tailor your own content to play by their rules and gain a significant advantage over your competitors.


John Wieber is a partner at He has 13-plus years experience in Web development, eCommerce, and Internet marketing. He has been actively involved in the Internet marketing efforts of more than 100 websites in some of the most competitive industries online.