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.
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.
Businesses will always crave organic search traffic, and search-engine optimization is the vehicle to drive that highly coveted traffic. What are some SEO changes that you foresee in 2015?
By: Jonathan Long
Founder and CEO, Market Domination Media
Original Article: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/240271
SEO used to be about manipulating your website and its relationship with the other websites for the sole purpose of pleasing Google’s algorithm. In some ways that is still the case, but as Google’s algorithm becomes more and more advanced the focus of SEO is shifting to a more authentic purpose of pleasing the user and engaging them in natural and organic ways. It is important to understand that Google’s fundamental goal is to deliver the most valuable and relevant content for each search query. This too should be the underlying goal of any SEO strategy.
The following touches on some of the essential aspects of on-page and on-site SEO, providing insight into some of the fundamentals of a successful SEO strategy.
Keyword research and selection lie at the very core of any SEO strategy. The goal is to select key words and phrases that have high traffic volume, strong commercial intent and at the same time are competitively reachable given the current state of your website’s rankings and authority. Once selected it is generally best to be committed to the successful ranking of the chosen keywords and build on their success.
The platform and code with which your website is built needs to be SEO friendly. The website needs to be easily crawled and indexed by the Google bots and ideally easy to mange in order to optimize the URLs and other SEO elements of the website. The URLs need to follow best practice, be customizable, and not duplicated. Any old web pages that are of value, whether from a previous website or from within the current website, need to be 301 redirected to their new location.
There can be great value in selecting or creating designated target pages within your website that can be the focus of specific keywords and phrases. Depending on the semantic and topical relationship between your selected keywords it is usually best to only target 3-5 keywords per page. Keep in mind that the home page is the most important page of the website so it is often best to focus this page on the most important keywords.
There are certain aspects of each web page that need to be specifically targeted for keyword inclusion.
URLS: The main keyword or keyword phrase should appear in the page URL. This assists the search engine from determining page relevancy for the search query.
Page Title: The most important keyword for the page should feature in the page title at least once and ideally be as close to the start of the title text as is appropriate.
Headline (H1): It is considered best practice that the primary keyword phrase for the page appear in the main headline (H1) of the page.
Images and image alt attributes: It is also considered best practice to have at least one image on the page. An image infers a comprehensiveness of the information on a page and also provides an opportunity to optimize the image with the page’s main keyword(s) through image title, filename and alt attribute.
Meta description: Although the content of the meta description isn’t considered to be a a direct factor in Google’s algorithm, they are incredibly important in determining click through rate and user engagement. The meta description is your advertisement in the search results so it needs to be keyword relevant and also appealing and engaging.
Each target page should be at least 400-600 words, contain the target keywords at least twice and also include any appropriate semantically and topically related keywords and phrases. The content should be unique, valuable and more than just self promotional. The page content should be appropriate and relevant such that a visitor would be unlikely to go “back” to find an alternative and more relevant page or website. Ideally the content of the page should be of such value to the visitor that they share it socially or link to it.
Site Wide Content
The selected keywords for the SEO strategy and their semantic and topically relevant keywords and phrases should also be appropriately placed throughout all the pages of the website – directly in the content and in the page titles. From a more organic and authentic perspective the content of your website should be rich in valuable and useful content that relates to the target market and industry that surrounds your chosen keywords. The content should establish the website as a credible and authoritative resource within it’s industry and address the intrinsic needs and questions of the target market beyond the products and services that your business provides.
The quantity and quality of internal links to a specific page and the anchor text used in those links can assist in determining the authority of that page relative to the other pages within your website. This can help build the authority and power of certain pages and also assist Google in selecting which page it delivers in its search results for particular queries. Ideally each of the target pages should have a direct link from the home page and the footer. Additionally, there should be a high proportion of contextual links to the target pages from other pages within the website with anchor text that closely relates to the target key words for the page that is being linked to.
Google is not just assessing the content and code of your website, it are also measuring how visitors are interacting with the website – the user experience. The website navigation needs to be clear, logical and intuitive. Information should be easy to find and easily understood. Ideally you are trying to present the visitor with the information they need before they know they need it. The web design should be aesthetically pleasing and attractive, and the website should display well on any browser and any device.
Signals from social networks are increasingly becoming an important component in SEO. Social signals have a direct effect on the search results but they can also play an important role in getting links to your website. For these reasons it is important that it is easy for visitors to share your content. This primarily means having obvious social sharing buttons on the page. An important precursor to social sharing is ensuring that you have content valuable and worthy enough to be shared.
What I have covered here are some of the fundamental on-page and on-site SEO strategies and factors that make up a successful SEO campaign. On-page and on-site factors (including domain name components) only make up approximately 35% of the total weight of factors that contribute to ranking in SEO. The remaining 65% involve “off-site” factors that include the quantity and quality of links to your website, social media metrics, traffic and user signals, and brand name/domain name mentions.
It’s important to be aware that when it comes to SEO doing too much of something can be just as bad as, and in some cases worse than, not doing enough. A good SEO professional will always ask themselves these questions: “Does this appear natural and organic? Is this providing a good user experience?” Funnily enough these are the same questions that the Google algorithm is asking itself.
1. Define your goals
Every Social Media Strategy must have a goal. In creating a Social Media Strategy, or marketing plan, you must first define your goal(s) and then identify the strategies and tactics you will be using to achieve your desired results. In one sentence I would summarize as follows: “Your goal is where you want to be and your strategy is how you’re going to get there.”
Social Media Strategy Planning
Social Media Strategy Planning:
Do not forget that your goals must be specific, realistic, measurable and be for a specific period of time. The most common objectives of Social Media Strategies include:
Increasing your online community in one or more social networks
Increasing your online reputation, ie to present your brand on social networks
Improving the satisfaction of your followers
Gauging loyalty of your followers
Building engagement with followers
Promoting your company and its products or services
Selling your products or services on the Internet
While working to develop your brand on numerous social networks you are going to discover new targets and goals arise as a result of the positive outcome and completion of your previous strategies and actions.
It is very important to analyze the current situation of your brand on social media platforms before taking a new marketing step, especially before creating and implementing a new strategy. The listening task is time-consuming, but it certainly provides a number of advantages for the brand, including:
Knowing what are the strengths and weaknesses of the brand
Knowing more fans/followers, analyzing their behavior, their interests, needs, etc …
Knowing what type of content is most effective
To know the opinion of the followers of the brand
Here are some things to consider when using your social media accounts:
Brand – With the brand name written correctly and incorrect search:
What we are talking about the brand?
Where are people talking about your brand?
What they say about the brand? Is it positive or negative?
How do you say it? Who are they telling?
Products and Services – creating a list of “keywords” to find your products and services in social networks that are discussed.
Competition – with a new list of “keywords” with the names of the competitors and the keywords of your products and services is an exhaustive search to see what kind of strategy is using the brand competition. Forget not to try to copy, it’s about learning from the good and the bad that they do better forever.
Environment – Do not just hear about your products and services also seeks is happening in the environment of your brand defining “keywords”.
Audience – listening to your audience can help better understand their behavior, interests and needs they have. No doubt this will help to better communicate your message and help your strategy.
3. Define your Target
In the previous step the brand is “active listening”, and by now you already know a little better the target(s) you want to reach and how you can generate brand engagement with fans and visitors. Not only do you have to define the targets for your brand/Social Media Campaign, you also have to define all methods/aspects involved in the process of your strategy, for example;
If you are going to launch a press release as part of your content strategy remember audiences are not your fans. Reporters and editors of the media will be seeing your Press Release, write it accordingly.
4. Define your Strategy and Message
What will be the strategy used to accomplish your goal?
You have reached the middle, you know your goal(s), and you’ve heard your target, the next step is in defining your goal is “loyalty of your followers”, your strategy may be to run a promotion on Facebook for fans of your brand.
It is therefore necessary to define a message (what brand image is to be transmitted in social networks to achieve the objective of the strategy). Be creative when creating a good message, the more creative and striking the message the better the results will be.
Following the above example the message could be: “celebrate our anniversary giving away 10 super prizes.”
5. Outputs the Content of your Strategy
Strategy and message ready, now we need to define and generate content to support strategy. The content must be primarily steady and impressive. I share some of the most frequently used content on social networks:
Contests and Sweepstakes
Series of posts on blog
News of Interest
6. Defines Channels
Depending on the type of content you wish to communicate to followers using different channels. Still I recommend defining the main channels will you use to launch strategy.
Social Networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Myspace, Pinterest, Instagram, Foursquare, Spotify and more.
Blogs, your own blogs and other
7. Plan Content
Usually a strategy involves publishing different types of content in different social networks. The first would be to define the type of content that will be used and the second would be to prepare an editorial calendar that has the priority, the frequency and content of each publication.
Such planning also serves to divide the tasks with the entire team of social networks. Assign content creation and management of each party while one person serves as supervisor and controls everything go as planned meeting.
8. Calculate the Budget
Depending on the type of strategy you are going to use the cost varies. Calculating the budget is not just another step in the process of creating social media strategies, and afterwards it is important to measure the results against the investment. Remember that content generation done internally can be much cheaper, but can be time-consuming whereas out-sourcing is a great way of getting jobs done fast but can cost more.
Considerations for your budget may include:
Production of Content (images, videos, infographics, etc …)
Posts to Blog
Tools and Platforms (there are many free but as many payment)
Monitoring (monitoring of the strategy)
Shares bloggers and influencers (if part of the strategy)
Composing and Sending Press Releases (if part of the strategy)
9. Implement your Strategy
At this point you just have to launch your strategy and monitor it from beginning to end.
10. Measures results
In order to measure the ROI of your strategy is necessary to previously define a metric, for example:
Increased Online Community – # of new followers in social networks
Sell your Products – # of sales made in response to your strategy
Community Loyalty – # of users who have participated, if a contest or sweepstakes would be the number of participants, if a promotion the number of people who have used.
Improve Engagement – # of shares of engagement of supporters with the brand: comments, “likes”, RT’s, replies, mentions, etc …
Getting “Leads” – # of new leads achieved through the strategy employed
Improve customer satisfaction – increase positive feeling of service to the fans and general brand
I always recommend that performance measurement is made every day to go see that effectiveness is having the strategy employed in many cases can change the course of action to get better results. All information collected from results presented in a report to the client that contains findings and best practices for future strategies.