Anyone that knows anything about search engine optimization knows that Google changes its search algorithm daily, making it nearly impossible for a business owner or marketer to keep up with what to and what not to do. So it should come as no surprise that more updates to this search giant's algorithm are going to keep coming, which is why you should not design your website to appeal specifically to search engines.
While it's important to stay up-to-date with the more important enhancements to Google's search engine algorithm to continue to drive traffic to your website, placing emphasis in the following areas will help your SEO strategy in 2015:
Making your website responsive and mobile friendly is an absolute must in 2015. The content on your website should look great on every screen, whether it's being viewed from a desktop computer, tablet, or phone. Expect to lose your audience (and miss out on searches) if your website design is not mobile friendly. How does a responsive website design help with your search engine optimization? If the bulk of your website's traffic is coming from a mobile device and it isn't responsive, you can expect your bounce rate (page abandonment) to skyrocket because people won't want to interact with it. This data is then reported back to Google. Google wants the results it provides to searchers to be accurate, helpful, and convenient, so if it sees that your website is scaring people away, it won't rank you well.
Content, Content, & Content
Typically, the more often you publish quality content on your website (Google suggests 2-3 times per week), the higher your website's ranking will be in search results. The word "quality" is key here though. Publishing mediocre content that is stuffed with keywords and clearly written to appeal to search engines will not get the job done in 2015. In fact, these poor SEO practices will actually do more harm than good for your search rankings.
If you're familiar with Google's Hummingbird update, you'll know that Google prefers websites that offer thorough answers to searchers' questions. The more in-depth you get with writing quality content that addresses relevant questions that your audience has, the better you will position your website for search engine optimization.
We've written about dealing with negative online reviews of your business before. One of the most common mistakes that business owners make is deleting negative online feedback, especially comments made on your blog content. You can actually use these negative comments about your business to your advantage and build respect for your brand. Another reason to keep these negative comments around (assuming that the issues have been addressed and resolved), is that search engines like honesty and transparency. Google understands that people don't want to read biased content and gives preference to websites that don't try to cover anything up and address the good and the bad.
Websites that are just full of text often appear stale and undesirable to searchers. For this reason, websites that include content in multiple forms (text, images, video, etc) typically rank better in Google's results pages. In other words, websites with engaging and interactive content generally outperform other websites when it comes to search rankings. Your prospective customers are Google's customers first, keep that in mind when you create a content strategy for your website. Google knows it's customers digest information differently, variety is key when it comes to content in 2015.
Time on Site
Going forward, the amount of time that visitors spend on your website will be one of the most instrumental factors in determining your website's search ranking. This means that finding ways to continue to engage your audience and keep them on your website will be crucial for your search engine optimization strategy. However, that doesn't mean you want people bouncing around too much content trying to find the answers they seek. If someone arrived at your website through your blog by searching for something you had an answer for, than great. But if they arrived at your homepage and have trouble finding the information they want because you have too much of it, you'll lose the visitor and the chance to convert them into a customer. Finding the right balance of content so that visitors spend just the right amount of time on your website is the most important thing for you to cover when optimizing for SEO.
If you take the time to focus on these key areas of your website in 2015, your website should naturally continue to grow in search rankings despite continual changes in Google's search algorithm. When was the last time that you checked how your website is ranked by Google and similar search engines? Hopefully, you're already taking advantage of analytics tools to regularly evaluate how your website is performing. If not, try a free tool like SERPS.com that will let you know how your website is ranked by Google.