SEO strategies to consider for 2015

7 SEO Predictions to Consider for 2015

With the new year just around the corner, it's time to start planning your search engine optimization strategies for 2015. It seems like successful SEO tactics constantly change.

One of the biggest shifts you need to be aware of is that SEO is no longer a separate component of digital marketing. It needs to be integrated into all your efforts because a huge variety of factors influence your results, according to Search Engine Land. Even the online footprint of your live events can influence SEO.

A couple years ago, the companies that were the best at SEO had employees with a deep knowledge of the intricacies of search engines. Now, marketing professionals can succeed at SEO because of how content and other digital channels influence rankings.

In the past, short-term tactics could have a dramatic impact on results, but SEO in 2015 will depend on long-term strategies and audience engagement. You need to move beyond the formulaic aspects of SEO and focus on the big picture.

How to Succeed at SEO in 2015

You need to keep up with the latest trends in SEO to improve conversion rate optimization. SEO is vital for the success of your digital marketing efforts, so your strategies may need some adjustments for the coming year. Here are some trends to pay attention to in 2015:

1. Focus on the User

Google is placing an increasing amount of focus on user experience. Is your website easy to navigate? Mobile friendly? Can visitors find what they need on the page? In the past, marketers tailored their SEO strategies to Google's algorithms at the expense of user experience, but this can't be the case anymore.

User-friendly websites will rank higher on the search engine results page.

2. Mobile Optimization

In 2012, ComScore predicted that mobile website traffic would exceed desktop in 2014, and that came to be true, Entreprenuer magazine reported. You can't get away with not providing mobile experience in 2015. Google and Bing both give preference to websites that utilize responsive design because they adapt to the size of the screen used to access the page, which accommodates all visitors.

Poor mobile optimization can lead to a spike in bounce rates, which negatively impacts SEO results.

3. Look at Other Search Engines Besides Google

SEO discussions typically revolve around Google, but it may be time to look at Bing and Yahoo as well. Yahoo will be the default browser for Firefox, and Google's agreement with Safari is about to expire.

These search engines are becoming more widely accepted, so you need to consider focusing on them to attract more customers.

4. Earned Links

Link building has become a somewhat controversial topic in the past few years. Inbound links are still a strong sign of authority, and this won't change in 2015. However, you can't pursue links on irrelevant blogs and websites. Link quality matters a great deal more than quantity.

Relevant websites lead to higher quality referral traffic.

5. Hummingbird Still Matters

One of the major shifts in SEO is the significance of keywords. They still matter, but they need to be more specific and longer search terms may be more effective for attracting relevant traffic. Longtail keywords are beneficial because there may be less competition from other brands for these terms.

In addition, Google's Hummingbird update doesn't match specific keywords to pages, but it accounts for search intention, according to Click Z. The most successful search terms now are conversational phrases, especially because many people use the verbal features on their smartphones to find websites on the Internet.

It's becoming more common for users to search by asking a question.

6. Refine Your Website's URL Structure

Dynamic URLs are typically too long and it's harder for users to determine what the page is about from the URL alone, so this type of link may contribute to lower click-thru rates. Broken links and 404 errors can also harm SEO results.

There are broken link checkers available online to ensure you aren't plagued by this issue. In addition, too many outbound links can hurt your rankings, but it's unclear how many are too many. In the past, Google had a limit of 100 links per page, but now the search engine suggests using quality links that are relevant to your readers.

A streamlined URL structure can improve your search rankings

7. Secure Encryption

Google recently announced that HTTPS will become a ranking signal, which means secure websites may get a slight boost in the search engine. While this means you may need to pay for an SSL certificate, it may become more important in the near future. It can also be complicated to transfer existing landing pages to HTTPS. 

Currently, HTTPS is a fairly weak ranking signal, but Google has suggested it may be more significant in the future.