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Just because a new year has begun doesn’t necessarily mean you should map out a new SEO strategy for your small business. Granted, Google rolls out about 600 algorithm updates each year, and many of these updates are targeted at making local search results more relevant to online users. But these updates haven’t really changed the basics of white hat SEO that much. Therefore, you don’t have to drastically change your SEO strategy at the start of every year as well; provided, of course, that you’ve stayed true to the fundamentals of white hat SEO.
There is no need for drastic changes.
This is the most important thing to bear in mind as you move forward in 2015. Even if Google changes its algorithms a thousand times this year, the basics of white hat SEO will remain the same. Therefore, you just need to keep delivering high-quality content in order to succeed in your online marketing campaign. As long as you have highly-targeted content on your site that’s relevant to your target audience and you use the right keywords in the right way, you can be sure the right people will find your content and keep coming to your site.
But, of course, that’s not all there is to SEO and online marketing. If it were, then there’d be no need for this article, right? A simple reminder for you to keep posting quality content should do. But there are details that do need your attention in order for you to keep the quality of both on-site and off-site SEO high. You also need to make sure that what people say about your company and your brand are always helpful to the business itself. This is why it still pays to keep track of expert predictions for SEO in 2015.
One word: MOBILE
It should come as no surprise that mobile SEO will become more important this year. In the past couple of years, you’ve probably heard and read a lot about the value of making your website as user-friendly and responsive as possible. Understandably, having a user-friendly and responsive site entails ensuring accessibility on both desktop and mobile gadgets. And according to eMarketer, mobile search is expected to become more popular than desktop search this year, which makes it even more important for you to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly.
In the past, it was enough to adjust your website such that it automatically adapts to the display of whatever device it is accessed from. The goal then was simply to ensure that users have a good experience on your site, regardless of what device they use for accessing the site. Now you have to note that Google already takes mobile-friendliness into account in its rankings. You therefore cannot expect to rank well in Google search results if your site is not mobile-friendly. You should also make sure your site isn’t just accessible on mobile devices, but that the speed, graphics, and navigation are all top-notch.
Just as it has always been for small businesses, local search will continue to be very important in 2015. This means you should continue to optimize your site for the immediate area in which you operate. Even if you also operate an online business, it is best to optimize for online searches targeted at the city and/or state in which you have your business headquarters or your brick-and-mortar store. One good reason for doing so is that Google is expected to give more attention to citations and local directories. Users are also conducting more and more local searches.
The easiest way to optimize your website for local search, of course, is to include your NAP (business name, address, and phone numbers) not just on your website, but also on all of your social media pages and directory listings. Remember as well that it’s not just important to include your NAP on all your online sites, accounts, and listings, but also to make sure that the NAP is consistent across all platforms. Your business is also bound to benefit from simple things such as the mention of your street or city name in headings, tags, and even the body of your content. These mentions, of course, should be relevant to the content itself.
Links and keywords are expected to become even less important as ranking factors this year. Of course, links will still be important for letting people know that you are a credible business with ties to industry influencers, and keywords will still help in letting search engines know what your site is all about, but these two factors should no longer be the focal point of your SEO strategy. You should worry more about keeping the quality of your site content high than on building more links or targeting more keywords.
What are expected to increase in importance as ranking factors this year are bounce rates, click-through rates, and calls to action. If you aren’t familiar with these things or haven’t really given them much thought in the past, then you definitely should start learning about them and giving them more focus. Strong calls to action have been proven to help increase the number of links clicked as well as the time users spend on websites. And it has been observed that search engines are now paying more attention to the length of time users spend on each web page and site they visit.
The key to successful SEO isn’t making drastic changes at the start of each year. Rather, it is in keeping your website fresh and consistently providing users with a great experience on your site. So keep on posting excellent content on your site, incorporate videos and images in your content, make sure your pages load quickly and your site is easy to navigate, and ensure site accessibility and usability on all devices. The results may not come instantaneously (you should never expect it to), but they will surely be well worth it in the long run.