We may have skipped out on our 2014 predictions, but with the popularity of our 2013 SMB predictions post we thought that sharing our small business SEO outlook for the year 2015 was worth the effort. So what exactly can we expect to see happen with search engine optimization in the new year?
Semantics Gain Bigger Ranking Influence
Google and other major search engine are always looking upon improving ranking algorithms. So far in 2014 alone, there have been 13 algorithm updates on the Google search engine! There has been a strong shift towards relevancy of returned results and one of the focuses has been going away from individual or long tail keywords to providing answers to questions and groups of words (sentences almost) as opposed to just keywords.
This trend will continue in 2015 and onwards particularly with the rise of content marketing, specifically visual content that majority of brands are now generating on a regular basis. Search engines will develop a way to better understand (and present) videos, images, PDFs, eBooks, etc. Having the know-how and preperation to implement structured data mark-up on everything that is published online will be crucial in the near future.
If you’re looking to get a head start on semantics we put together an informative blog post on semantic SEO, including a step by step guide on how to setup rich snippets using Google Webmaster Tools.
Local Hits the Spot
While organizations have access to digital/mobile channels which allow them to embark on global commercial endeavors now more than ever, local rankings and mark-ups will make a come back. Particularly more effective for retailers with physical locations; the combinations of Google Local Listings (or Google+) and various check-in capabilities via social media platforms will result in local rankings making a come back. Additionally, having the ability to incorporate user reviews directly in these listings creates a UGC (user generated content) platform which transcends the power back to the customer!
Having a good review = more trust = more word of mouth = more business! (not necessarily that simple but you get the idea).
Plus who doesn’t like to support home-grown shops and their local neighbourhoods? After all it’s about making connections, and the closer that search engines can bring people to a connection…the better!
Less Corporate, More Social
Corporate websites, while great for outlining company information do very little to benefit customers. Especially if the corporate website does not offer a web-store, member area or other user-oriented features.
Content marketing is taking over, and mastering it to actually provide value will be the ultimate goal
of every organization involved in digital branding. Therefore the shift will move away from focusing on standard corporate websites with description pages to interactive blogs or applications which will provide more value to the customer.
Mobile (Responsive) First
The year 2014 has seen an introduction of various mobile and wearable technology invading our everyday lives. If you aren’t wearing Google Glass then you’re probably sporting a connected smart-watch of some sort. Having content or a website which is compatible with these mobile devices will help increase rankings, as majority of users are now using mobile devices and voice-recognition searches. Not to mention, Google search will now indicate if your web-pages are mobile friendly or not!
As you may have noticed, mobile and responsive design seem to be part of every prediction over the last couple of years. This just goes to show how important (and how behind) mobile-friendly webpages are. If you haven’t updated your old website to responsive design by now make sure this is the first thing on your to-do list for 2015!
We would love to hear what you believe will be important in the upcoming year. Do you have any predictions?