How Will Search Change in 2015?
Search engine optimization has come a long way in the past two decades. Mobile has accelerated many shifts, and this could impact conversion rate optimization on your landing pages.
Between changes to Google's algorithm and differences in the way people search from mobile devices, what do you need to know about SEO in 2015?
Which Trends Disappeared in 2014?
Even though Bing is increasing its power, Google is still the force in SEO. Google also has the largest share of mobile searches compared to other platforms. Many marketers were shocked when Google got rid of keyword analysis data last year, according to Media Post.
This wasn't the only element that went away. Google eliminated author photos within search results, 70-character title tags and visits in Google Analytics. Most of these changes weren't predicted at the start of 2014.
Many of the shifts in optimization are more subtle. It no longer matters what people search for, it depends who is looking. While many business-to-business marketers are already familiar with the concept of a buyer persona, consumer-facing companies need to start considering personas for search.
What would a typical buyer of your product type into a search bar?
You need to research current search trends and your website data to compile at least two customer archetypes. Then you can monitor your results and make adjustments. This also allows you to prioritize your buyers and optimize your marketing efforts accordingly.
In addition, content dominates search now. This trend has been happening gradually, but in 2014 it became clear that content marketing was taking over. When people type a question into the search bar, Google often displays the answer in a snippet at the top of the page to streamline the user experience.
As Google changes its standards, you need to pay attention to understand how your site traffic will be impacted.
What's New in 2015?
Based on data compiled by Code Computerlove, mobile website traffic was up across the board. Boosted by mobile Internet usage, Google Chrome and Apple's Safari knocked Internet Explorer from the top browser spot. Organic search reigned supreme as the top way people found websites.
Non-Google organic search only accounted for 3.6 percent of the total. However, the number of organic searches was on the rise in 2014 because of the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets that allow users to type their queries directly in the address bar.
In terms of referrals, Facebook was still the top channel, but engagement was sinking. Even though Facebook drove a higher number of referrals, people spent longer engaging with LinkedIn.
One of the major trends in 2015 is the potential death of the home page, calling more attention to the importance of landing pages. As organic search and social media referrals increase from mobile, fewer people will encounter a website's home page first.
In fact, visits to the home page were cut in half between 2011 and 2013, so this trend has been happening for a while.
Marketers need to bulk up their use of landing pages to increase conversions. Whether it was news-based websites or e-commerce stores, home pages visits are falling.
A compelling landing page can increase visitor engagement, which boost SEO results. Google places higher priority on length of visits because it typically indicates that users are finding value on the page and engaging with quality content.
While many marketers already utilizing landing page strategies, they may need to reassess deeper pages to make sure there are still opportunities for engagement after visitors have spent a certain length of time on the page.