As 2015 draws closer, the state of SEO is becoming less and less defined. Over the past year Google, the world’s leading search engine, has released numerous updates to their search algorithms in order to fine-tune how websites are ranked in their search results. The biggest change was to the Panda Update, a filter intended to penalize sites that publish low-quality content. Other updates were released as well that prioritized secure and mobile-friendly sites.
Some experts have begun to proclaim that SEO is dead, popular tactics that have been used in the past have been sniffed out by Google and will no longer work as effectively as they did in the past. While this is true, that doesn’t mean SEO as a whole is done being an important investment. In reality SEO has become much more refined. The best players will take the time to layout a strategy focused on good content and anticipate changes that are coming in a game in which the rules just got much more complex.
The most important piece of the new SEO puzzle is content marketing. This consists of providing new and unique content aimed at the target audience. Google favors sites that show they are constantly adding something new to the mix.
Some benefits of a good content marketing strategy
– Your target audience will be subject to regularly posted content designed to help them.
– The content can be shared through social media platforms.
– Constantly updated content will show Google you have something to say.
– Become recognized as an authority in your specific body of work.
All of Google’s recent updates were created to shape SEO in a way that prioritizes good content marketing. In 2015 companies will need to make sure they have a steady stream of new and valuable content to keep up.
Importance of Social Media
For the past few years social media has become a bigger and bigger part of individuals’ everyday lives. What was once something that people checked up on at the end of the day is now an obsession. People are connected to their various social media profiles constantly which presents a wonderful opportunity for SEO.
The biggest thing to remember when planning your social media presence is diversification. No longer can a company post updates solely to Facebook or Twitter. Today there are too many social media platforms to count and each one has a group of potential customers that can be reached.
When assessing your social media presence the following questions are a good place to start.
– Can each of our social media profiles be considered a strong one in terms of good content and social engagement?
– Are users encouraged to share each piece of content?
– Are we present on social media platforms that matter in our industry?
– Are we present on social media platforms that matter to our customers?
– Are we present on social media platforms that matter to search engines?
– Does our social media content encourage potential customers to take action?
Each of the questions above is important to planning how you can effectively navigate the increasingly complex world of social media. Google+ is of particular importance because a strong presence on Google’s network has been increasingly connected to high Google page ranks.
Google’s new Hummingbird Update in 2013 made it clear that they will be placing increased importance in sites that were designed with the mobile experience in mind. More Americans own smartphones and tablets than ever before and they are using them to access the web from almost anywhere.
Because of this, how your site performs in a mobile setting is going to become even more important in the future. The best way to address this issue is to design your site for mobile first, and then scale it up to fit on a bigger screen. Mobile integration is not going anywhere and it will be in any business’ best interest to ensure they have a site with a top notch mobile experience.
Long vs. Short
The emphasis on content marketing has helped clear up the debate over long content vs. short content. With longer content you are better able to demonstrate your expertise of a subject and offer something that is unique. Still it is unclear if shorter content is completely off the table due to the fact that it is much easier to digest shorter content on a mobile device.
Changing Relationship Between PPC and SEO
Pay per click campaigns are one way to increase traffic without going through the trouble of attempting to raise your organic search ranking. Since Google has encrypted its searches and limited our ability to access keyword data for research it has another value as well. Keyword data is still accessible for businesses using PPC through Google and may be used as a gateway to accessing this valuable data.
The past year has seen instances of guest blogging sky rocket due to the increased exposure and likelihood of content being shared through social media. When utilizing guest blogging, however, you need to make sure you still keep the same content marketing standards you always follow to avoid being penalized.
The state of SEO has changed considerably within the past year and figures to continue to change as Google updates its search algorithms. Looking back it is clear to see which trends Google has prioritized over others. Moving forward, one can expect the trends to become more and more amplified, increasing the importance of intelligent, well thought-out SEO work.