In certain fields, industries, and technologies, change is an integral characteristic. In these fields, keeping up with current trends and whirlwind changes is the key to success. SEO is one of these areas. As 2014 is nearing its end, savvy marketers are looking ahead to see what SEO changes the New Year will bring.
SEO Trends for 2015
2015 will be full of evolving SEO methods and practices. What trends can we expect to dominate the New Year?
1. SEO will be technically-focused. It wasn’t long ago that content marketing and SEO were interchangeable terms. However, as we enter 2015, SEO and content marketing will drift apart, further than ever before. SEO will be seen increasingly as oriented towards the technical components of online marketing. Content marketing will be taking the wheel on search engine rankings.
Content marketing will still rely on SEO for keyword information, meta tags, and more. As we learned in 2014, businesses must have comprehensive content marketing and SEO strategies to get significant search engine visibility.
2. Mobile is key. In the past year, it has becoming increasingly clear that mobile is an extremely important platform for web traffic. Google has continued to prioritize mobile usability. In search engine rankings, Google has also been penalizing sites that don’t work properly on mobile devices.
The Google Pigeon update was also created with mobile in mind, as it prioritizes local businesses – giving those making searches on the go more relevant results. This trend shows no sign of slowing down in 2015. Businesses must prioritize the mobile usage of their sites, or they will see a big drop in conversions and search engine rankings.
3. Need for speed. Another factor causing business’ sites to be dropped in rankings is slow loading times. This is connected to mobile usability – if a site is slow on desktop, it’s likely to be unusably slow on mobile. Businesses must prioritize their websites’ loading times.
4. Visual content will replace text. Infographics, videos, and other visual content has become more popular than text content as of late, and it will continue to do so through 2015. Many websites are becoming popular by offering essentially only visual content – for instance, Buzzfeed and similar sites have “articles” primarily relying on gifs and brief captions.
Users are tired of reading dry text. This is beginning to show through search engine rankings, as Google may begin to softly penalize very text-heavy sites. To keep your business ahead of the game, mix up your content with videos, images, and other visual media.
5. Negative SEO is growing in importance. Search engines may be becoming wiser, but the impact of negative SEO can still be enormous. If your competitor or any other person wants to de-rank you, it’s easy and inexpensive to do so. This practice will become even more of a threat in 2015.
Businesses must work hard in the coming year to defend themselves against the attack of negative SEO. You must secure your link profile, to ensure negative or toxic links won’t drag you down.
6. Brand mentions will be as important as links. Express links are what we traditionally think of as links – that is, URLs leading to a page. Implied links include mentioning or referencing a business, brand, or website, without linking to the site. As a response to the abuse of link building and negative SEO, Google has begun to place less importance on links and more focus on citations and brand mentions. These are more difficult to misuse.
7. Building relationships will boost rankings. Boosting search engine rankings has previously meant creating proper content – and much of it. Today, the internet is saturated with content, and Google’s algorithms continue to be tweaked. Businesses are beginning to realize that focusing exclusively on creating content and technical SEO isn’t enough to achieve their goals.
On the other hand, businesses focusing on humanizing and promoting their brands are the ones standing out in today’s world. Blogger outreach campaigns, engaging on social media, and other relationship building strategies will be the keys to SEO in 2015.
8. The separate SEO department is dead. Many businesses today have hired SEO companies or consultants, or they have in-house dedicated SEO departments. As we move into 2015, SEO, social media, and content marketing are becoming increasingly similar, and they are pushing towards the same goals. Their separation will no longer be beneficial to businesses.
In 2015, SEO will be regarded as the foundation of marketing, both online and offline. Businesses will begin to phase out their strategies that separate SEO from the rest of the team. Instead, they will merge the various strategies together for the best possible results.
Staying on Top of Modern SEO
SEO today is a fully different discipline from the SEO of 2011. Changes in SEO have only accelerated throughout the years. By the end of 2015, we could easily be looking back on the practices of 2014 with almost no familiarity, as the above trends and others transform the field into something more effective for businesses.
Keeping up with SEO is a matter of paying attention and welcoming the changes to come. SEO is here to stay – however, it will continue to be transformed. Allowing these transformations to reach their full potential is how you can help your business succeed.
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