Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is continuously evolving.
Search engines are striving relentlessly to improve search result rankings by changing their algorithms (Google does this almost twice a month) and by placing considerable weight on a website’s use of high quality useful content.
As a result, online strategists, be they marketers or even bloggers, constantly monitor SEO trends so as to keep up with the myriad of continual changes.
Many of the trends that emerged in the world of SEO in 2014 continue to challenge those with acute understanding of the discipline in 2015.
We’ve identified those trends that we consider to play an integral role in achieving online success in terms of SEO implementation:
1. Content is STILL King
Web users are having to contend with millions of messages being thrown at them online continuously so having your business’ voice heard above the chatter means producing content that has the ability to make your product or service stand out enough to capture your audience’s attention – over your competition.
For that to happen, you need to have a content strategy that focuses on more than just keywords because today, content is all about how good you are in taking words or any other blend of media – be it infographics, video or photographs - and creating a cohesive story that increases higher levels of engagement.
This is not to say that keyword research does not play an integral role in content creation – it does – but it’s having the ability to place those words strategically through your blog or eBook for instance, or even in the description of your visual media, in a way that appears seamlessly natural rather than generic garble.
2. Mobile Importance
Mobile search is increasing more than ever, not least because smartphone and tablet use has literally skyrocketed globally. And with approximately 1 out of every 5 people in the world owning some form of a mobile device, it’s clear that companies who aren’t optimized for mobile use will lag far behind their competitors.
With the launch of Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm on April 21st, businesses are now even more hard pressed to ensure that a mobile-friendly user experience is achieved if they want to rank well in search.
This means ensuring that Google understands your mobile site setup and that the mobile configuration of your site – be it responsive web design, dynamic serving and separate URLs – provides the right signals to search engines to ensure that your content will be viewable across multiple mobile mediums.
3. Googlebot access
4. The reciprocity of Linkbuilding and Brand Reputation
SEO strategists have always placed great value on quality inbound links and rightly so – the trick however has always been to maintain a critical balance between those links and the entire branding strategy of a company. This has meant that simply buying links has had to transform into something so much bigger – something more strategic – something that not only increases your rankings but that that also builds relationships thereby enhancing your brands reputation in a positive way.
Brand reputation is of course impacted by a number of other elements too – not just linkbuilding or strategic SEO. The mix of content that you produce certainly plays a role in how people perceive your brand. And social media channels have become the stage upon which an online audience can express to the world what they think about your company, your product or service – a message which has the potential to go viral within seconds. These factors can affect your reputation online exponentially.
It’s therefore important to keep cognizant of the fact that SEO is not a discipline that operates in isolation – rather, it complements other marketing strategies such as linkbuilding, social media marketing, content marketing and others, all of which as a whole are crucial to building a strong digital brand reputation.
5. Conversational Keyword Phrases
As SEO continues to evolve, the focus to conversational keyword phrases is becoming more prominent. Knowing the types of phrases that people use to look for your product or service is essential because search engines are now looking at the meaning, context and intent of those words in a search query instead of just focusing on matching up keywords.
6. Meta Information
Whilst content is king, getting your meta titles and meta descriptions right is certainly queen. This means ensuring that each title has the appropriate content and keywords. Remember that the number of characters in it which for Google is roughly between 60 for meta titles and 160 for meta descriptions. Utilising methods like Webmaster Tools, you are able to check whether each page of your website is meeting those requirements.
7. Brand Mentioning
Search engines are now taking brand mentions into consideration. They are words on another webpage that reference your brand or company without the use of a hyperlink (otherwise known as ‘implied links’). It is worth realising the importance of this move by Google because the more brand mentions you achieve, the higher you will climb in terms of page ranking.
It’s clear that SEO is here to stay, no matter how it transforms. So companies need to constantly re-evaluate their SEO strategies to keep up with the times.