SEO has changed out of all recognition from a few years ago. Then it was enough to know the basics of optimising a website and apply these rigorously, operating in a virtual bubble. Now this is simply not enough, as Google has introduced over and over again new algorithms requiring new knowledge and increased application, plus a never ending need for SEO managers to keep up.
Many of these changes have been for the best, for everyone except those trying to get in through the back door and practise ‘black hat’ SEO. Those businesses who took short cuts by ‘spinning’ content a million (small exaggeration perhaps) ways, keyword stuffing and using spammy links are still regretting it, and many have practically had to start again from scratch.
There are still those out there offering ‘content with links’, to ‘write for your website’, and cheap SEO. Avoid all of these like the plague.
Nowadays you really have to know what you’re doing and who’s doing what for you or you can damage your SEO reputation and status on Google, and disappear from sight. And it can take months to recover.
Basic SEO is still a matter of keyword research and meta data. That hasn’t changed and is unlikely to. The aim is always to offer people quick and relevant paths to what they’re searching for which can only be achieved by matching searched for terms with results. Long tail keywords will continue to be more important, although this is a long term proposition and hard for smaller businesses to incorporate.
Content Marketing is becoming as important a skill as SEO – your content marketing strategy should contain a mix of, for example, blog posts, articles, social media and, hopefully, videos. Just as SEO is a necessity for any online or multi-channel business so is content marketing, an ability that many companies do not have and need badly.
Content marketing is a way of connecting directly with the customer and building loyalty which in turn drives referrals. It is only going to become more important throughout 2015.
Focus on the User at all times. Relevance, providing an enjoyable experience, making it easy to buy, read, learn are all more important than ever. To Google and your customer, and therefore to you.
Whilst the technical aspects of SEO and content marketing strategy are important, everything should have the user as the end game. Every action you take with regards to SEO and content creation should ask a question: ‘will this make life more enjoyable for my customer’? And go from there.
Mobile optimisation is no longer a luxury. It’s a necessity. Mobile websites took over in 2014 as the place people went to search online and yet it’s taken some businesses a while to catch up. Those who have made it simple and easy to browse and shop on smartphone or laptop are clear winners in the bottom line stakes and those who are lagging behind will continue to lag behind.
If you’re not fully optimised for mobile search and sales then you’ll be penalised by Google and customers alike.
SEO is becoming more of a team effort, combining keyword research with content marketing strategy and the knowledge needed to avoid Google penalties. There will no longer be an SEO department and a content creation department. They will work together as one both in terms of implementation and knowledge base.