Google is on a quest to banish low-quality websites to the furthest reaches of the SERPs. It doesn’t want its users to be served ineffectual, spammy websites when they conduct their searches, so the Internet’s most popular search engine is continually honing its algorithm to favor the placement of high-quality web pages and sites. These changes can be troubling and problematic to SEOs and website owners alike; however, despite Google’s mounting, sometimes stress-inducing, updates to its algorithm, there are a few SEO strategies that will continue to work to your advantage as we enter 2015.
1. Keyword Reach and Specificity Are Huge
Google’s Hummingbird update mainly affected the way the search engine handles and categorizes search queries. Keyword phrases, as a result, needed to become more representative of the searcher’s specific search goals, as opposed to targeting single word searches like “dogs.”
No one searches that way anymore. Instead, people have grown confident in the Internet’s ability to serve up precise results, and so their searches are increasing in specificity. Searchers are much more likely to type in: affordable dog grooming supplies, online dog training tutorials, or where to find wire haired dachshund breeders.
These highly specific keyword phrases that you will focus on can be organized as informational, navigational, and transactional. These three categories cover the spectrum of possible user searches that can be anticipated as you make your keyword and SEO strategies.
- Plan for informational queries by writing content that includes those types of how to phrases, and then link that content to your product and sales pages.
- Navigational queries will be phrased to guide visitors directly to your brand and product names. Tailoring your content for navigational searches is easy, since you’ll be doing it throughout the natural course of content creation.
- Transactional searches are possibly the most coveted. These will include “buy” words, such as discount, deal, cheap, sale, and more.
2. URLs, 404s, and Outbound Links Still Matter
- URLs: The most appealing URLs, visually and to the search engines, are succinct and contain keywords. Instead of default, auto-generated URLs for your web pages (i.e. blog posts), title your web page with static URLs that specify what is on the page (with keywords).
- 404 error pages: Broken links and error pages will continue to harm your ranking if left unfixed. Use Google Webmaster Tools to locate these error pages, and then correct them.
- Outbound links: Too many outbound links on a page will continue to be a problem going into 2015. While Google hasn’t specified a hard limit, the best practice concerning outbound links is to make sure they’re relevant and naturally occurring within your text (and that they’re linking to quality sites).
3. Select Links from Good Sites Will Always Be Good
If a well ranked site includes a link pointing in your direction on their site, it only makes sense for Google to take notice. You can acquire these types of links by working diligently on your guest blogging strategy and by getting your website link included on a Top 10 list of sites or products relating to your industry.
4. Secure Encryption is New for 2015
Like quality, security matters big to Google, so sites that can assure the secure transmission of user data will get brownie points with the major search engine. While HTTPS is a standard for transactional sites that handle sensitive payment and identifying information of users, other sites that can afford or manage the switch to an HTTPS protocol with SSL technology will be given extra weight in the rankings. It’s important to consider the implications and costs carefully, however, especially if you represent a site that’s solely informational that doesn’t need to transmit any sensitive user data.
What are you most concerned about regarding SEO going into 2015?
“5 SEO Strategies That Will Still Work in 2015.” http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/how-to/2385660/5-seo-strategies-that-will-still-work-in-2015?utm_term=&utm_content=5%20SEO%20Strategies%20That%20Will%20Still%20Work%20in%202015&utm_campaign=SEW.Daily.EU.A.U&utm_medium=Email&utm_source=SEW.DCM.Editors_Updates. (December 11, 2014.)