2014 was a year of upheaval in the SEO world, with many changes and algorithm updates creating situations where the “traditional” elements or tactics of the practice of search engine optimization became less and less effective at producing results in the form of rankings. With names like “penguin,” “panda,” “pidgeon” and “hummingbird,” Google pushed further towards the ultimate goal of making ranking websites be the sources of authoritative information on the subject which they are ranked for. At the end of the day, there is only really one technique with which to produce ongoing and consistent rankings, and that is to “become the authority on the subject.” Luckily, this has been the philosophy of Focus Internet Services since the beginning, and is the only strategy we have ever employed for our clients. The results have been exactly as we could have predicted, with each and every Google update our clients either maintain their ranking positions or improve as other “lesser quality” websites are pushed down. This comes through consistently following the rules and guidelines that Google has set, and although the results may not come as quickly as those who attempt to cheat, they are not subject to the delistings, penalties and fluctuations of ranking that come with attempting to game the system. 2014 was a year when Google essentially destroyed the old forms of SEO as a practice, and issued in a new era where the best websites are the ones who are ranked. With that said, here is the landscape of SEO in 2015, and what you should be doing in order to rank higher.
Be “Findable”: What this means is to structure your website so that the information is logically linked together and is easily understood by Google. A logical site structure is not hard to put together if you just think about it in a way that would make sense to someone searching for information. For example, it is good practice to make sure all of your important pages are reachable from your homepage. If the information is important to your subject, isn’t it logical that it would be easily accessible to someone looking for it? Why would you hide something important? Name the urls something that is relevant to the subject matter you are discussing on the page, and develop a “tree” structure of information on the subject. What this means is linking subject together and not linking things that are unrelated. With this type of setup, Google can understand multiple subjects within the same website.
Make Use Of Sitemaps and RSS Feeds: You want to help Google understand the way that information is developed on your website. Just like a textbook will have various chapters each with theri own subject, and developments of each of those subjects within the same chapter, develop and structure your website that way. Additionally, letting Google know that new information is on your website is more easily achieved through RSS and feeds that alert interested parties that there is something new out there to read.
Use Schema: Use schema tools to teach Google about your subject matter, and if you do not understand schema, then use webmaster tools to allow for markup.
Improve Your Content Quality: Concentrate on writing content that is on topic, and is useful to people who may find your website. Content cannot be effectively scraped or stolen anymore, and even if it can be it will provide no good to your rankings if there are not supportive articles illustrating your subject matter with the same authority. Concentrate on being unique and relevant.
Do Not Concentrate On Linking: Even though links are important, most of the updates that Google has made recently is to counteract links that appear to have been created specifically to improve ranking. Because it is well known that linking to a website from another website is important to SEO, Google has made great progress identifying links that have been created just to make a website appear as though it is naturally linked to, when in reality the best links are developed in an actual, natural way. Quite simply, write the best content and then concentrate on letting the world know it is there. They will link to it naturally, and when they do they will generally use the keyterms that are relevant to the content on the page, but they will do it in their own voice. This will develop the keyterm variety that Google is looking for , and avoid the penalties associated with attempting to simulate the process.
Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile Friendly: This one is simple, use a responsive code structure. If your site is not responsive at this stage, pay to have it redesigned. Everything is going mobile, do not fight this.
Earn Social Triggers: Do not attempt to purchase “likes” or shares. Quite simply, make your content on your website easy for people to share across social networks themselves, then let them know that your content is out there. This is a manual process, and the concentration should be on making the best content and then making it easy for people to share themselves.
Concentrate On Local SEO If You Are Local: There is an entire shift in the way Google is presenting localized results, and the processes in place that allow Google to understand that you are a localized website. Concentrate on what is necessary in order to tell Google that you are local. This is an entirely different subject that I will go over in another post.