1. Own Your Keywords
Marketing and industry consultants agree that this tactic is a must for any company wanting to be successful in their space. How do your customers find a product or service they are interested in? How do they search for information? Companies are having great success with long-tail keywords and optimizing for searches based on user intent and mobile habits.
2. Your Keywords are Changing
Google’s ability to interpret natural language is progressing faster than we might think, and their confidence in the results is very high. We think history will show this to be the most significant development in 2015 for SEO and Google. Now is the time to research your keywords and look for new opportunities. Once found, build content to answer these natural inquiries and get ahead of your competitors.
3. Content is Still King
Original, high quality and well-produced content is still a must for effective SEO.
Visual content is becoming even more important; mainly videos, creative images, infographics, and also eBooks and white papers. Not only are the search engines putting more emphasis on this, but research has clearly proven that this type of content greatly increases customer engagement and conversions. If you are going to focus on SEO in 2015, you should have a strong content strategy in place.
4. Google Will Have Successful Competitors
Yahoo’s market share is growing and is now the default search in Firefox. Google’s deal with Apple is also expiring soon and it will likely not be the default search tool in Safari once this contract is up. For shopping and product searches, Amazon and Ebay are more popular than Google. For international searches, you need to consider search engines like Baidu and Yandex. For travel specific websites, Trip Advisor and Booking.com should be considered.
5. Mobile Opportunities
With 2015 geared up to be the year that mobile search overtakes desktop search, it’s definitely worth getting up to speed in this area. We know that Google and others penalize websites in their rankings if it is not mobile compatible or it loads slowly on mobile devices.
6. Avoid Black Hat Techniques or Negative SEO
We will continue to see Google aggressively changing their search algorithms to catch people and organizations employing these negative tactics. Two additional areas of concern are: malicious reviews and black hat linking tactics undertaken by your competitors to get your website penalized.
7. Learn From Pay Per Click (PPC)
SEO and PPC are complementary. It makes sense to use paid search to fill gaps, buying phrases for which you might not be ranking organically for yet. PPC also allows for copy testing on a small scale, potentially informing wider content efforts.
8. What is Your Audience Trying to Do?
This is probably the most important strategic point. You shouldn’t lose track of the customer journey and what it is they are trying to achieve. The journey from search phrase to appropriate landing page and product must be one that makes sense. Customers may well be searching around a problem they have encountered, rather than for your product or service specifically. Inhabiting the mind of the customer will help with key phrase research and optimizing the customer journey.
9. Inbound Links
Inbound links have long been, and still remain, the primary off-site indicator of value, authority, and trust to search engines. Focus on creating valuable content and promoting this content to specific audiences that will link back to your website.