SEO changed enormously over 2014.
Backlinks were once King and to this day they still remain important but precedence has now been given to user signals.
Because user signals are less easy to manipulate – at least for now.
Here’s my predictions for how SEO will evolve in 2015.
- Mobile SEO will become even more important. Accept it. Everyone and their dog are on a mobile device. In some industries, search on a mobile device now exceeds that from a desktop. For many developing countries, mobile is the only way for locals to access the Internet. If your site isn’t mobile friendly then you’ll find it harder to rank.
- Content marketing will remain a staple of freshness. Google wants to show relevant news. A site that is frequently updated will build authority more quickly than a site that is only updated periodically. This makes sense in the current algorithm: new pages and posts have a chance of picking up links and social shares. The more links and social shares a site has, the more the authority increases and the more Google will trust your content as relevant.
- Emphasis on major social sites will increase. Twitter and Facebook are already the big hitters when it comes to being talked about on the net. I expect Google to start giving more importance to other big social networking sites like Instagram, Tumblr and Reddit, especially because celebrities are increasingly turning towards these sites as a way of keeping their followers updated.
- External traffic (i.e. not Search Engine traffic) will play a bigger role in how important Google rates your site. PPC and SEO are the 2 types of traffic that a search engine sends to a website. However, Google wants to see that your site is already popular before it sends you more love.
- Negative SEO will play a bigger role. Negative SEO is when someone points thousands of spammy links at a site, causing it to incur a penalty in Google’s algorithm. As more businesses get online and the stakes get higher, negative SEO will unfortunately start to have a bigger impact. This is one area that you definitely need to hire a professional SEO’s services for if you do get hit.
- Link building will no longer be an isolated service. In recent years when backlinks were King, it was possible to hire an SEO firm to create a link building campaign for you and stay at the top of the SERPs. Today, an SEO firm needs to be more involved in creating content and syndicating it across different social networks. If you haven’t got the resources to be doing SEO yourself then you should set aside a monthly budget to a firm that you can outsource it to.
Steps that you can take:
- Optimise your content for users, not the search engines. This will give your site an opportunity to get shared on the social networks. More social shares means higher rankings and this will have a knock on effect because your site will get more targeted traffic from the search engines.
- Have a mobile website or make sure that your site is responsive, i.e. can be easily read on any mobile device (smartphone or tablet).
- Post more regularly. This is good for brand building and will also keep your site fresh and relevant.
- Making the effort to build authority to your site is the best way to protect yourself against negative SEO. News sites like the BBC or CNN already have a ton of links pointing to them so having a few thousand spammy links thrown at them isn’t going to have an impact. Whilst your site may not achieve the same authority as a news site, you can certainly help to build its authority by posting and sharing your content more often.
- Take your online presence seriously. Online is where your customers are today and will be tomorrow. This means optimising your profiles across many networks even if you don’t post to them regularly, e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.