Every year brings a new set of Google SEO best practices. The search engine optimization has evolved dramatically over the past 5 years and the changes in 2015 are going to be something that will take a domain to new levels. Here are the things you’ll want to consider implementing this year to improve individual site rankings consistently.
1. Focus on the Technical Elements of the Website While Emphasizing Content Marketing.
There are two avenues of attack to getting a better ranking here. Because value continues to be the primary point of emphasis in all things, there are two places to focus upon in every domain: the technical and the readable. The technical elements mean that keyword research, meta tags and descriptions, and managing duplicate content through canonical tags will have extra points of emphasis placed on them by Google.
For the content marketing elements, this will drive search results to the site. The content must be readable, contain keyword elements, and have a consistency that is comparable to the technical elements of the site. When both are able to come together, then the result will be a top ranking on longtail keywords and boosts on the single subject keywords over time.
Businesses that don’t have a plan for their content in 2015 are going to eventually fail. The creation and distribution of value through technical and readable elements is what will allow any domain to achieve better visibility.
2. User Intent Must Become a Top Priority.
How many times have you been fooled by “clickbait” in the last 7 days? People click on links with an expectation that they will find what they need. When that doesn’t happen, then the domain isn’t providing a high level of user intent. Google is increasingly emphasizing honesty and authenticity in the content and technical aspects of each site. If the domain is unable to meet the user’s needs or expectations, it is going to be dropped and potentially penalized.
3. Mobile Optimization is 100% Necessary Today.
In the 2014 algorithm updates, Google began to penalize websites in search rankings when mobile users would experience site errors. There is no doubt that an even higher level of mobile friendliness is in place for the 2015 Google updates. Mobile-friendly icons and usability testing areas for mobile users is evidence of this point of emphasis. As a best practice, either structure your website to be completely responsive in nature so that it can distinguish mobile users automatically or build with the mobile user in mind first.
It’s important to remember that mobile users tend to consume data in different ways than PC or laptop users do. They are more likely to use voice search options and are typically looking for meaningful and specific data. If these needs cannot be fulfilled, then the domain will have less value in the eyes of Google and therefore drop like a rock in the search engine rankings.
4. Implied Links Will be Just as Valuable as Organic Links that Reference Information Sources or Provide Proof of Expertise.
Google filed for a patent recently for technology that has the ability to distinguish between an implied link and an actual link. If approved, the current back linking structure will be defined as an “express” link instead. This ultimately comes back to the value component of internet searches. Referenced information has more value than data that is made up on the spot.
It’s commonly said that 90% of the statistics on the internet are made up. This will go away with the 2015 best practices because the mere mention of a brand by someone else will have the same link equity for a domain as the actual links have had in the past. This will counter the backlink building schemes and black hat SEO tactics that are commonly promoted today.
To improve SEO in the future, a domain is going to need to do more than check for authentic links and nofollowed links. They are going to be forced to establish a positive online reputation that is reflective of niche expertise within their industry that is fully recognized by other industry professionals. Brand mentioning for SEO purposes is going to become a point of emphasis in marketing content, but it must also be authentic content in order for it to pass Google’s stringent standards.
5. Forget About Authorship. Social Interactions and Signals on Sites Like Facebook, Twitter, and Especially Google Plus Will be Important in 2015.
Having a solid, interactive social presence for a domain is going to be emphasized even more as a Google SEO best practice in 2015. The authorship programs by Google have officially ended because they just weren’t as useful or beneficial as expected. Part of the reason for this was because of the growing need for valuable content that is fresh and original. The amount of time it takes to create or refresh content is extraordinary, which means many of these tasks were being outsourced.
Now the focus is switching from authenticity in authorship to authenticity in engagement. The first step will always be to create useful, valuable content for users. There will be a second step in 2015: creating and then engaging with the user community that accesses this content. Just as content has been outsourced for value because of the massive need for it, businesses will look to outsource social media engagement in 2015 and beyond to meet this SEO best practice.
6. The Focus Is On Building Individual Relationships.
The quest in past SEO best practices was to get as much traffic as possible. Bounce rates were important, but not as important as the overall visitor stats. Although impressions are still a good thing to have and a low bounce rate is a good thing, it is the repeat visitor that Google is going to look for in 2015 and beyond. Search rankings are going to have a point of emphasis placed on domains that strive to create ongoing relationships with their visitors instead of being a one-hit wonder.
This means that many brands are going to need to work toward proving there is a human element behind the content and technical specs that are on display. The sites that are achieving a top ranking aren’t those that hit every keyword density correctly or have a specific meta tag in place. They are the sites that create a meaningful conversation.
The days of technical compliance being an Google SEO best practice are gone. Sites can have technical errors day and still achieve a #1 ranking simply because they focus on creating relationships.
7. Black Hat SEO Will be About Downgrading Others Instead of Building One Domain Up.
Because the Google algorithms have become value orientated, black hat SEO practices have countered by creating false negative impressions for strong brands and domains. Paid spam links to competitive websites are being used to drive down rankings. This is an even bigger threat now because of how strongly value and authenticity are used as ranking tools.
Even under current Google SEO best practices, it can take up to 9 months to disavow links. Since this is the only tool a domain can use, a black hat SEO attack can have a year-long effect on a brand that could literally put a small business into bankruptcy court. Right now a best practice is to regularly monitor incoming links – at least 2x per week – to quickly disavow.
8. Google SEO Will Fully Integrate Into All Forms of Marketing.
The days of being a dedicated technical SEO professional are disappearing. Marketers and domain creators have to incorporate optimization best practices into every action because these and future Google SEO best practices will be required in every aspect of a domain.
That’s not to say that the days of search engine optimization are over. They’re just over as we have known it in the past. Every component of a site must be geared toward the user value it is able to provide. This means all forms of marketing must be user orientated and prove value from the first impression.
It will all begin with the content marketing. Each brand must have a strategy in place for their content so that it can be seen as valuable. It must be engaging as well so that users will want to share that data, becoming brand ambassadors. When Google sees this happening, a search ranking increase is likely to happen.
Google SEO best practices are continually evolving. Remember when all one had to do was put in a keyword repetitively in order to receive a #1 ranking? As Google as evolved, so must those who conduct business online. The value of a brand will be determined by the value of its content and the skill that is behind the technical aspects of a domain. By following these best practices, every site will have the chance to find real success today.