By Jonathan Long at Entrepreneur:
SEO is constantly changing. New updates are released, new trends are discussed and new strategies are developed. It is something that will constantly evolve.
In 2014 alone, there have already been 13 updates to Google’s algorithm, according to Moz’s change history. These are just the notable and more public ones -- there are refreshes and changes almost daily behind the scenes.
My company, Market Domination Media, is constantly adjusting SEO strategies for our clients based on a number of factors. We recently sat down and discussed the biggest changes that SEO efforts are going to need to adjust to as we enter 2015. Let’s look at six of them right now:
1. Create and optimize for mobile traffic
Back in 2012 ComScore predicted that mobile traffic would exceed desktop traffic in 2014, and they were correct. Google has always said that it feels responsive websites provide the best user experience, and recently starting including a “mobile-friendly” notation next to websites in mobile search results that are indeed mobile friendly.
You can see if your website passes Google’s mobile-friendly test by clicking here. Bing has also stated it prefers a single responsive URL
2. Optimizing for Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo
Could 2015 be the year that some other search engines begin to take more market share? It seems like this is the million-dollar question every year, but some recent developments suggest that it could be possible.
Firefox kicked Google to the curb and Yahoo will now be the default search engine for the browser. Google’s deal is also up with Safari in 2015, and reports have both Bing and Yahoo trying to secure that spot. The option to switch default browsers in iOS 8 and OS X from Google to DuckDuckGo also exists.
With options other than Google becoming more popular and accepted it will make it important to have visibility across these search engines in addition to just Google.
3. Switch your focus from keyword rankings to ROI metrics
If you or your SEO company is still putting an emphasis on keyword rankings and determining the success of the campaign based on keyword positions, then it is time for a major wake up call. Ranking reports can be made to look pretty and some SEO companies will even target useless keywords just to say, “Hey look -- you are ranking number one!”
If you are a business owner spending money every month on SEO, what would you rather hear from your SEO agency?
“Congratulations, you are ranking number one for ‘buy blue widgets online’ but we aren’t sure what that translates into dollar wise.”
“The infographic that we published last month resulted in earning 67 links and it was also responsible for 45 conversions and $22,480 in revenue.”
Do you want a fancy PDF ranking report or do you want to know what your return on investment was?
4. More focused social-media approach
Social media was once just a platform to share content, so businesses would sign up for every social platform under the sun and blast their content everywhere. Social media is now a marketing channel as well as a customer-service channel. Your social audience expects your brand to engage with them on a more personal level.
It is more effective to focus on two or three social-media platforms and be very active and accommodating. This not only helps you generate more leads, sales and revenue, but it also helps to build a very loyal following that will share your content. This can introduce new people to your brand and even present opportunities to earn links.
5. Earning links rather than building links
Through all of the updates and algorithm changes over the years one thing remains the same: inbound links are the most influential signal of trust and authority. This isn’t going to change -- not in 2015 or anytime soon.
The days of building links on irrelevant blogs and chasing large quantities of links to game the search results are over. Earning a single link on a high-quality relevant website is valuable for multiple reasons including SEO, attracting referral traffic, leads, sales and branding exposure. Look for traditional PR and SEO to work closer together in 2015.
6. Targeting more precise keywords and search phrases
The days of targeting broad keywords are coming to an end. While they tend to have a huge search volume, they don’t attract highly targeted traffic and they are expensive to rank. Targeting long-tail search queries not only attracts qualified “buyer” traffic, but these terms will typically have much less competition. Keyword research along with understanding the shopping and purchase patterns of the target consumer can help to identify search terms and phrases to go after