2014 has been an eventful year in the online search space with more focus on making search experience user-friendly. Google’s algorithm updates like Google Panda 4.1, Google Penguin, all highlight the same issue. Additionally, new features on Google Webmaster & Google Analytics dashboard have enabled SEOs deliver better web-pages for the users.
It’s time for marketers to focus on 2015 and look at the techniques that will hold ground and begin showing results in the New Year!
1 out of every 5 individuals in the world now owns a smartphone. With the rapid growth in the smartphone market, usage of Internet on mobile devices has reached a new high. With this trend in place, digital marketers are now particularly targeting users browsing via mobile devices with renewed interest. All kind of digital assets now need to be optimized for mobile. Google is now updating algorithms that reward sites rendering optimally on the mobile platform with a higher mobile ranking. Your site optimized for mobile combined with a great mobile UX feature will stand out as the winning factor in 2015.
Hummingbird update stressed on words as part of search queries. Phrases with conversational words are now given priority and web pages that provide a solution to these conversational queries now rank higher rather than pages that just tend to “match” these keywords. Hummingbird makes an effort to understand the real intent of a searcher rather than just the syntax.
Conversational search queries will continue to gain more importance in 2015 – the reason being these kinds of queries address the “actual” need or the search intent. Keyword & Content strategy in 2015 should be a combination of long-tail and keywords which address Latent Sematic Indexing (LSI).
Schema markup should serve as a great way to display rich snippets although these may not be the only ranking factor. Schema markup helps improve click-thorugh rates as search results for schema-enabled pages have a higher tendency to boost trust among visitors.
Content still is the “King” of SEO. The only thing that would require a re-alignment is the kind of strategy required towards content generation. Content going forward needs to be a blend of long-tail & conversational keywords. Content generation can be in various forms – websites, blogs, rich-media assets like Press Releases, PDFs, PPTs & Videos. Content syndication in lieu of link building should be the mantra. Association with other sites needs to be carefully evaluated before committing, more so after the announcement of Google Penguin 3.0. Content calendars need to be in place to serve as placeholders for developing fresh on-site content.
Site structure & content placement will have a key role to play. The way websites are built emphasizing user navigation & other usability factors, will be a pivotal factor to rank higher on Search Engines. Websites need to have a clear navigation, neat URL structure and an organized content architecture. All these aid in improving bounce rates and avg. session duration which are now amongst the varied factors considered for better ranking on Google. Diagnostic tools like Google Webmaster and other online tools like Moz should be of great help to diagnose and repair errors.
Not to be left behind in the race for SEO, is Social Media. Social posts too now have the power to rank well on Search results. As Matt Cutts says “Facebook and Twitter pages are treated like any other pages in our web index, so if something occurs on Twitter or Facebook and we’re able to crawl it, then we return that in our search results”. Leveraging Google+ & YouTube will go a long way in helping website optimization. Prominence should be given to generate additional content using Blogs, data/product sheets and spread them across the web using social media platforms. Social sharing buttons need to be integrated across websites & blogs for a better experience. Overall focus of marketers should be to give users an enhanced experience on Search – be it via a website, blog, digital asset or social post.
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Have a Great Year ahead & Happy Searching in 2015!