In business nothing remains static for long, so it’s no surprise that there have been many changes in the way we conduct online marketing in recent years. Updates to the Google Algorithm over the last 3-5 years has permanently altered the Search Engine Optimization landscape. Search engine marketing is no longer about latching onto a range of keywords and building links regardless of quality. These old tactics can actually be a detriment to your search results and to your web traffic. In fact “bad” SEO is now being punished by Google, and considering they own a staggering 67.6% of the search engine market you don’t want to be on their bad side…
The new approach to SEO is focused on the user and providing relevant information to the query, in essence it’s about crafting your offerings in a way that match up to what your target customers are searching for – and really isn’t that what good overall marketing should be?
“Change brings opportunities. On the other hand, change can be confusing.”
To help you adapt, we have summarized the key areas of change for SEO in 2015. If you haven’t been migrating in this direction we suggest you start planning to do so!
Mobile web browsing is changing the landscape of search. The behaviors and needs of mobile users are different from those of desktop users, and since mobile browsing is now overtaking desktop browsing in market share by massive proportions this is a critical consideration. Mobile users are on the go, they are often searching for something they need in the immediate moment. A market research study on mobile behavior identified that 70% of mobile searches lead to action on websites within 1 hour, and 40% of users will choose another result if the first is not mobile friendly. This is why responsive website design is so important! Also, responsive design is SEO friendly because it reduces the chance of faulty redirects from using separate URLs to serve desktop and smartphone users.
In a search, users will usually not take the time to scroll past the first few results. Google local results are often the first to appear (after ads) and provide direct links to your website and phone number. If your business is serving customers in your local area and you’re not taking advantage of your Google local listing, you are likely missing out.
Content is King
“Content Marketing: The overarching practice of using information and entertainment to promote a brand or product.”
As was mentioned, the new SEO is about providing relevant answers to a query. You should care about topics, not keywords. Information that is useful to the user’s query increases the likeliness that they will click on your search result. Also, the information presented once a user lands on the page must be relevant or they will navigate away. Tailor your content around topics related to how what you have to offer will solve their problem, blanket keywords applied to every page on your site just won’t cut it.
This is your opportunity to show your expertise, be a resource to your customers and build a reputation for your brand. Of course planning is important, try to remember to keep consistency in your tone of voice and accurately represent your brand identity. This article gives a pretty good overview of “How to Build a Kickass Content Strategy”. This is where your website blog comes in handy, adding fresh content consistently will improve your search rankings.
Quality over Quantity
Think of links as referrals or references for your website, you want to connect with reputable sources to increase your credibility. A large number of links to low quality sites or directories will hurt your SEO. Earning quality links is about building relationships, reach out to others by following and referencing their content. Connect with industry associations. Be authentic when asking for links, as with any relationship building exercise you want there to be a genuine mutually beneficial outcome.
Although the direct impact on search rankings is unclear, there is no doubt about the importance of social media to web marketing & SEO. Social media allows you to engage with your customers and build your brand. Well rounded social profiles inevitably lead to increased site traffic. There is also link potential: increased familiarity of your brand can lead to more links to your website. Finally, social media profiles rank high for branded search terms, which translates to more branded real estate on search results.
You need to identify which platform will work best for your business – Where are your customers and what is the best way to engage with them? This guide on “How to identify an online community” offers some great insight. Social media is not a stand alone strategy, it is a useful tool and can work well when combined with SEO, content marketing, email marketing, PPC, or even a combination of a whole lot of other things. It’s important to identify your goals and remain consistent if you want to build a strong social profile and see results.
In conclusion, SEO for 2015 is a lot more in depth than it has been in the past. Optimize your site by tailoring the content around specific topics that will relate to what your customers are looking for, make it mobile friendly, provide useful and fresh information on an ongoing basis, connect with reputable resources, engage your customers on social media and you will reap the benefits.
Hiilite is here to help, we build mobile responsive websites, offer SEO services, and can provide overall marketing planning and strategy. We understand that you don’t always have time to implement tactics like the ones mentioned in this article – that’s why we love to do it for you! Read more about our services. But you don’t have to just take our word for it, you can also check out our portfolio to see examples of our work.