Online marketing is different from traditional forms of marketing – it requires constant diligence when it comes to novelty. It is quite common for SEO experts to run into clients who are still approaching SEO using techniques from 2-5 years ago. The problem with this is not that these approaches are less effective than the ones currently used but, in most cases, these old techniques provoke negative effects and instead of boosting your domain, they drag it down.
This is why we decided to create a summarisation of the most effective approaches to SEO and explain their importance in 2015. All of the material provided here comes directly from search engines and highly respected SEO experts.
Relevant SEO Factors in 2015
By now, most people know that you need to optimise your website so search engines can crawl through it and find what they need. In other words, take care of Meta tags. These are the basics but, in order to get really good results, you need more than that.
- Descriptive Meta tags
This goes for images, videos and any other elements that do not come in textual form. The crawlers of popular search engines are not yet able to discern context from multimedia content and they need to be properly marked so engines can categorise your content properly. This will ensure that your content appears in relevant searches, since you provided the context for something that can’t be identified automatically.
- Content Marketing
Currently, content marketing is the most effective way to create great signals for search engines. Creating a blog and populating it with quality content helps your rankings in various ways. It helps build a brand name and establish a person or company as a field expert. Blogging from a decent blog, preferably earning a Google Authorship and managing to guest post on various blogs can help you boost your rankings. Furthermore, Google’s Phantom update, which seems to be focusing on quality of content and the website’s general quality, is pushing the point all the way through. Don’t take what you put up on your website lightly or your rankings are going to go down.
- Signals from quality links
Quality blog posts are great ways to create a natural link network which sends a healthy signal to search engines. This network should include both internal and external links, which are naturally linked and it takes time to manage this. The biggest challenge is to get quality links pointing naturally back to the domain that you want to rank. This is only possible by having the links lead to your blog’s content in a form of a resource and the highest quality blogs have editors who are quite strict about what is to be linked in their content.
- Social Signals
Another instance where good content goes a long way are social media signals coming from different social networks. The more people interact with a particular piece of content (like, tweet, share, etc.), the clearer the indicator to search engines that your content is top notch and this leaks through to your rankings. With the latest news about Tweets being more actively placed in search engine results, the importance of social media for SEO purposes becomes even more apparent.
- Mobile optimisation
The “Mobilegeddon” update that rolled out on April 21st by Google was seen as just another small tweak but it turns out it wasn’t. This update has a significant impact on rankings and will definitely impact the positions of websites that are not optimised for mobile users. We can’t really say that we are surprised with this decision, being that mobile users currently outnumber those who use their PCs to surf the web and it was only a matter of time until not optimising for mobile users turned into transgression.
SEO Approaches that You Should Avoid in 2015
Unlike most guides who focus only on what you should do, we are going to tell you what to avoid as well. Sadly, a lot of people focus on things that will not only fail to provide results but will affect your rankings negatively as well. Here is what you should avoid.
- Empty Press Releases
More specifically, faking news without really having something worthwhile to share – this is what we call empty content. It will not be shared by anyone and most clicks will be instant bounces. This tells search engines that people have found nothing normal here.
- Nofollow on external links
Numerous websites insist on putting a Nofollow tag on each external link so as to avoid “leaking link juice” to other websites. The Nofollow attribute is used avoid spam from comment sections where large amounts of user generated spam can appear. By setting all external links to Nofollow, you are actually telling search engines that no external link on your website is trustworthy.
- Link Exchange
The Quid pro quo philosophy is dead and gone. Search engines are capable of noticing this kind of behaviour and punishing the exchange or removing the significance of these kinds of links. This is an old technique which is now considered as manipulation.
Digging up the keywords you are attempting to rank for and getting a certain percentage in your content is something that has been dead for some time now. The final stamp was the MOZ search ranking factors released for 2014, which clearly showed that the decline of the keyword as a relevant factor. Keyword “rich” content is something that will slow your growth down, decrease the quality of your content and your website in general, as well as chase away any poor soul that lands on your page.
Content continues to reign as the best tool to improve your rankings but don’t look at it just from that perspective. Good content enables you to naturally attract and engage visitors and earn their loyalty. Search engines can spot substandard efforts, so there is no room for faking it. We hope this helps you steer your efforts onto the right path and avoid any unnecessary drops in rankings. Remember, SEO is a dynamic form of marketing that is subjected to continuous change and we need to be aware of the current changes and standards to get good results. You can’t learn SEO once and be done with it. It is still evolving so stay tuned and keep your approach focused on satisfying your users instead of focusing on satisfying algorithms.