The 8 Basic Principles For SEO In 2015
This year has been a hell of a year not only for your SEO expert, consultant, or company, but also for many business owners wondering why their website rankings have plummeted or all together have disappeared. What do you think SEO in 2015 has in store for us all?
There have been a few major Google algorithm updates in 2014, and in 2015 we should expect more of the same. This year alone saw 12+ noteworthy Google algorithm changes alone.
I’ve briefly outlined some of the key search algorithm updates from 2014 at the end of this post. If you’d like to check them out, please scroll down.
Make sure you come back up here though, I have some valuable information that will only benefit your digital strategy and bring you that ROI you’ve been looking for from your SEO company.
What You Need To Know About SEO For Today & Tomorrow
Search engine optimization or SEO isn’t some mysterious secret society consisting of a band of OCD computer geeks. Nor is it a religion or some creed you need to subscribe to in order to gain top rankings in the SERPs along with major website traffic and website conversions.
It certainly can seem that way with the many blog articles out there, much like this one, educating you on the latest SEO best practices, the newest algorithm changes, or how important keywords still are (and yes, they are very important still!)
Funny thing though, once you have SEO all figured out and are confident you understand what search engines are looking for, Google will throw yet another algorithm update that screws up your SEO strategy.
It’s because of these annoying challenges, and this handy article from Carl Weiss, that this post is written. It’s also why VPDM Digital’s SEO Strategy ensures every website we build and every SEO strategy we execute is set up with the latest SEO best practices, and inline with the most recent Google algorithm changes.
1. The NEW SEO is Much Different Than The OLD SEO
First things first. SEO in 2015 has changed since the days of old and since the days of 2014. While keywords are still very important, because people will always be using “key” words when they search for something – either if they type a query using their keyboard or they use voice search.
These days, a better on-page strategy is to focus on your users intent when using a specific search phrase. Think about the need they are trying to solve. Use long tail keywords. Always focus on how users are engaging with your product or service.
2. Optimize Your Website For Users, Not For Search Engines
Do you remember how easy it was, back in the day (circa 2004/2005) to rank #1 on page #1 for your targeted keyword(s)? Man those were good days. You could be an SEO “expert” and know nothing about search engines, but lots about html and stuffing keywords into your webpages.
Today, search engine spiders are much, much smarter at detecting any keyword stuffing. Websites stuffing keywords and phrases into anchor text, meta descriptions, image alt tags, or hidden some other way in the on-page copy, will be punished and lose rankings. Search spiders are hip to black-hat SEO techniques and link farms.
3. Your Company Blog: Key For Business Development & ROI
How often do you publish a relevant and useful blog article that is properly optimized for search and the “right length” for your user? If it’s “occasionally” or “whenever I have time”, you’re losing out on so much potential business.
Your best blogging strategy for SEO in 2015 is to write very useful, in-depth articles that answer the key questions your prospects and customers are asking.
You want to be able to provide valuable insights to your readers as these readers will convert to paying customers, if you help them through the marketing/sales funnel. Check out this Pro Tip:
“Google is gaga for blogs. A properly optimized blog will many times wind up on page one of the world’s most popular search engine in as little as 24 hours.) If you repost your best blogging efforts on article posts, zines and other blogs then you will not only create an opportunity for your blog to go viral, but you will also enhance your SEO at the same time.”
4. Content Creation & Curation
SEO in 2015 will become much more about creating helpful engaging content, focused on the user – your customers and/or prospects. This is where your content marketing strategy comes in.
The best way to attract the users you want is to create content that always provides value for the audience you’re trying to attract. Econsultancy surveyed over 400 companies and found that 45% of companies says content marketing is “highly integrated” with their SEO strategy.
Content marketing is probably one of the biggest things that has changed with SEO over the years. Put some time and effort – or budget – into your content marketing strategy in 2015. Why? Simply because it works.
If you’d like help crafting and customizing your content marketing strategy, we have years of experience and can help you if you contact us today.
5. Video Killed The Other Content Stars
You know YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world right? You also know that YouTube is owned by the largest search engine in the world, Google, right? So why wouldn’t you be creating engaging and wonderful video content and hosting it on YouTube!?!?
If we break down YouTube we can see that it is essentially a social network and a search engine. Not to mention the go-to source for videos on the web. YouTube streams up to 3 billion videos a day. That’s a “B”, not a typo. Three Billion Videos each day!
So, because more young people and Millennials watch more YouTube than cable TV and the fact that a properly optimized YouTube video can jump from Google owned YouTube to the first page (and/or first position) on Google search, video needs to be part of your SEO strategy in 2015.
The other SEO benefits of engaging video content is that you can use this content to beef up the content you share on social media and the content you have for users to engage with on your website. Remember, people will always prefer watching a useful, engaging video than reading text.
6. Regularly Populate Social Platforms and Engage With Fans/Followers
Is your social media marketing strategy actually social? Do you use a targeted Twitter search to find relevant conversations about your brand, your product, your service, or anything related to your business?
Your social platforms will only be successful if you feed them on a regular basis – just like your company blog. You need to be present and active. Engage, share, RT, and stay away from simply only “broadcasting” your message. That’s not very “social”.
With the amount of content being shared on any given social platform, it’s ok to repost your content multiple times in a week, let a lone a day. I’ve been told that the average lifespan of a tweet is 18 minutes.
If you tweet or share a post around noon, you could easily share that again a few hours later, in the evening, or even overnight if you have an international audience that is awake when you’re asleep. We’ve done this with many of VPDM’s client’s and have had decent success with boosting engagement.
Reshare your website content and blog articles as well. It’s amazing how much content a website can hold, yet that content is often not being shared by your social media teams excuse they could be focused on creating and sharing brand new content.
Work smart! Not harder. The more your content gets shared via social channels, the more website traffic you’ll be bound to receive. Therefore, the more opportunity to convert website visitors into paid customers.
7. Use Landing Pages! The More The Merrier
It’s said that the average website visit lasts less than 2 minutes. Maybe even less if the user experience or content options are useless to the user. You want to give users a simple and seamless path to conversion, especially if the conversion goal is a website purchase.
“To give your business a competitive edge, you need to look at a search engine query as a question and the website or landing page as the answer. If you want to maximize not only your SEO potential, but also your conversions as well, then you need to research the keywords and phrases that correspond with your business and create a number of landing pages that contain a video, text and offer related to each keyword or phrase.”
This is the key to conversion rate optimization (CRO) and SEO in 2014. Proper keyword research and proper understanding of the prospect or customer, is the key to maximizing both SEO potential and website conversions.
8. Responsive and Adaptive Web Design
Google hates when a company has two websites: one for mobile, using a m.companyname.com domain, and a second desktop version at companyname.com. If your company does, it could be one reason why you’re losing traffic or search rankings. Or both!
Google prefers one website which offers seamless transition from desktop consumption to mobile consumption (smartphone, tablet, or large LCD TV).
A website today and in 2015 should always be built to be not only mobile responsive but adaptive to any size screen. This means, among other things, that your site images will have unique images, sized appropriately, and being loaded at the appropriate size for any screen.
It’s much better in Google’s eyes for them to refer a user to a responsive and adaptive website over one that is not. Make sure your web developers provide you with an optimized website that is adaptive to all screens.
Summary of SEO in 2015
A comprehensive SEO strategy for 2015 will include the proper mix of Content + Search +Social, that is created and optimized for people, not for search engines. There will always be a need for useful information. People like to research these days because they can easily do so.
Provide and share content that helps your prospects and customers solve problems or issues they face. Use video and other media like gifs, slideshare decks, podcasts, and of course blog articles to pass along the useful information.
When users reach your website, use inbound marketing to capture leads that you can convert into new customers. The content you provided brought them to your website, make sure your website is easy to navigate, with clear calls-to-action, and will easily sell them on your product or service.
The Key Search Algorithm Updates From 2014
As promised earlier and above, here is a breakdown of the major search algorithm updates from this year. You can read the full list of Google’s algorithm change history here.
February 6, 2014: Page Layout #3
This one targeted websites that are known as “top heavy” – in a bad way. It was originally launched in January 2012 and this update was more of a refresh. This algorithm penalizes websites that place “too many ads above the fold.” Source.
May 19, 2014: Panda 4.0 (#26)
Major Panda algorithm update confirmed by Google in May 2014. Officially, ~7.5% of English language search queries were affected! That’s huge! Source.
June 28, 2014: Authorship Photo Drop
While not a true algorithm update, the fact that Google decided to drop authorship photos is kind of a big deal in the SEO world. After heavily promoting authorship as a connection to Google+, Google officially dropped the photos by June 28. Source.
July 24, 2014: Pigeon
What a shock to the Local SEO sect of SEO experts this one was. This update came out of nowhere IMO and significantly changed Local SEO as we know it. The Pigeon update altered some local search results and modified how it interprets location cues. HUGE! Source.
September 23, 2014: Panda 4.1 (#27)
Another Panda affect, another significant Panda algorithm update. This version of Panda was odd in that it rolled out very slowly and the estimated impact was that 3.5% of search queries were affected. Source.
October 17, 2014: Penguin 3.0
This time it’s the Penguins turn. Enough of Panda! The previous Penguin update (2.1) was more than a year previous, so it was about time and many SEOs were expecting this. Penguin 3.0 had a smaller impact than expected. Only <1% of English language search queries were affected. Source.
These search algorithm updates are actually good news for users, SEO companies, and the businesses they service. Google is making search more and more “friendlier” for the user.
Smart businesses, content creators, social media managers, and SEO experts will be creating content in the same way Google tweaks it’s algorithms – for the benefit of the user.
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