In the wake of dramatic SEO changes this year, many marketers look toward 2015 with a mix of anticipation and anxiety. As Google continuously updates its search algorithm, digital marketers are left to speculate what next year will bring to the ever-shifting landscape of SEO.
So, how do we gear up for another year of updates?
Stay ahead of the curve with our top 5 SEO trends of 2015.
1. Content Still Reigns Supreme
We all know quality content is huge, but what will the evolution of content look like next year? Google is focused on refining “Contextual and Semantic Search” to provide more personal and meaningful results, This trend signals the necessity of not only priority keywords but also a supporting cast of relevant terms and semantics called ‘proof terms.’ Proof terms are expected to deliver a deeper understanding of user intent. For example, if your keyword is ‘Friends’, proof terms might include ‘Rachel’, ‘Ross’, and ‘Central Perk’.
We also predict better ranking indicators for visual storytelling components. This includes relevant, highly engaging images and videos. While this has been a challenge for Google, we see this changing soon.
2. Social Media for Everyone
Social media placed second to content in Searchmetrics’ SEO Ranking Factors of 2014 report. From Google+, Facebook, Twitter, to Pinterest, social media is an invaluable outlet for getting your content out there into the nebula of the Internet.
Social media provides 3 key SEO benefits:
- First, it indicates to search engines that users are interacting with your content on a large scale, increasing traffic to your site and increasing search queries for your brand.
- Second, widely shared content has huge potential for link building.
- Third, it reinforces your branding as a whole, and it’s no secret that Google loves brands.
3. Mobile Optimization
Mobile is the future. With mobile surpassing desktop use for the first time in 2014, we only see those numbers going up and up. Moreover, users aren’t just texting and playing Candy Crush. According to Search Engine Watch, 63% of mobile users are browsing the internet searching for content and information. As Google shifts towards mobile search and unique features, such as natural language voice search, optimizing for mobile is an absolute necessity. Take advantage of mobile specific features like GPS, voice, and camera. For retailers, mobile coupons attracts traffic, encourages sales, and builds backlinks.
4. Loading Speed and Easy Navigation
Even with all the attractive bells and whistles of a website, the name of the game is still speed. Fast page loading time for both desktop and mobile is still a priority for basic user accessibility, traffic, and SEO. In fact, 40% of shoppers leave a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Younger shoppers are even less forgiving. 27% of 18-34 year olds will leave if the page takes more than a second to load. Every second costs you big bucks, and that’s not going to change in 2015.
Likewise for site navigation, confusing and unwieldy site architecture will cost you. With more search options than ever, there’s little to stop users from moving on to a competitor website if they can’t find what they want on your site or if it takes too many clicks to do so.
5. Crackdown on Negative SEO
If Google had their way, gone would be the days of low grade backlinks and other kinds of webspam. And in the war against negative SEO, Google plans on winning. Keep an eye out for risky backlinks and spam, as Google’s webspam initiative may deal harsher penalties, manual actions, and even shutdown spammy sites altogether. Don’t even think about keyword stuffing. Clean house and make sure that your internal structure is full of quality links.
Bonus: As Will Critchlow mentioned in Search Engine Land’s ‘Expert Insights On The Future of SEO’, look for more ‘opinionated’ ranking factors in 2015, like SSL, as Google will continuously mold the terrain of web search and the very nature of the Internet.
What SEO trends do you think will be big in 2015? Let us know what you think! Register for our next webinar, “The New Rules of SEO: A Crash Course in Modern Search” to join the conversation.