Leader of the pack.
King/queen of the castle.
Round one draft pick.
No matter what you call it or how you say it—when it comes to web search—everyone wants to be on the first page at the top of the rankings. That’s why it’s critical you know as much as you can about SEO (search engine optimization). But, like all things digital, SEO rules and metrics continue to change. Just because something was strategic and tactical a year ago, doesn’t mean the same approach will work now.
Whether you’re a small mom-and-pop operation, a growing medium-sized company, or a large corporation, you have a unique story to tell. But if no one can find you online, your products, services and compelling stories won’t matter. When it comes to your livelihood, you don’t want to play hide and seek. You want to be found.
Metro Studios stays on top of all the trends and analytics to ensure our web clients’ names and brands appear at the top of search results. Following you’ll find a list of our nine SEO recommendations for 2015.
- Offer an amazing web experience. Your site must have responsive design for mobile devices, it must be a snap to navigate, it must be engaging, and it must offer clear calls to action. Why? Google is now concentrating on user experience. Make certain your website holds up to their scrutiny and you’ll be rewarded with higher search engine results.
- Focus on building strong relationships with your customers and brand ambassadors and creating ultimate guides. For example take a look at this ultimate street dance guide that compiles old content into new from our Fellow marketer Adrian. Even when it comes to something algorithmic like search rank, the human connection is becoming increasingly more important than tactical brilliance. Loads of businesses are already publishing and posting fresh content. But it’s the ones who are forging real connections, working with bloggers, listening and responding on social media, and interacting with digital influencers who will rise to the top of the heap.
- Stake your claim. Have you verified your Google business listing? Taking this one small step will guarantee your company appears in local search results. The more you can personalize your business and brand, the more connected you’ll be with local consumers in your digital sphere.
- Go long. Keywords still matter, but short (one-and two-word) search phrases are expensive and often don’t convert well. In contrast, natural conversational search terms are becoming more important. Why? As more and more people access their mobile devices (i.e. smaller screens) for information, they’re using search differently than desktop users. For example, they’re much more likely to use search in the form of a question, not a keyword.
- First do no harm. Play nice. Negative SEO is a black hat tactic that will be noticed and punished. Avoid spam and bad links like the plague. Google has reported it can take up to nine months to disavow bad links. Why risk losing your search visibility for any amount of time?
- Integrate and weave SEO into all of your online strategies. Once upon a time, those who “won” at SEO were silo specialists who knew a great deal about search engines. However, today a lot of factors and channels influence page rank results. Blogs, content marketing, events, and online activity can all play a part in how your company is ranked. See also #2 above.
- Consider adding an “S.” That’s “s” for secure. Google says having a URL beginning with “https” is a good thing and they’re beginning to use it for ranking purposes. Before you spend the money for a secure website, watch how SSL certificates help other businesses in 2015.
- Think beyond Google. Why? Because online providers—Yelp and Amazon and others—as well as mobile and software apps, now have customized internal search functions. This means web traffic is being diverted away from heavyweights like Google. Remember that other search engines like Yahoo and Bing are contenders and are nipping at the heels of Google.
- Provide quality content. Write what you know. Engage your readers and potential clients. Be authentic. Why? If others link to you, those inbound links will only serve to reinforce your outstanding reputation.
- Be social and understand your audience. Where do they spend the most time online? Are they watching DIY tutorials on YouTube? Boasting at over 1 billion unique viewers each month, it’s safe to say your audience is watching videos on YouTube. Do you have a younger audience and an interesting business that compliments pictures? Then Instagram is the place you need to be creating unique engagement with people. Is your audience mid thirties or older? Then you need to be creating compelling content on Facebook to reach them. We could speak hours on the topic of social media and how it’s bringing a great return to people who are using it correctly, consistently, and effectively.
We hope you’ve found some common sense advise in our ten tactics. Tell us your predictions for 2015. How do you think SEO will change? How will these changes affect your business? Leave your comments below.