Whether you’re new to working with SEO or have been at it for years, you need to know that the game has changed for 2015 and beyond.
We’ve seen a number of shifting trends, beginning with the Panda and Penguin updates of 2012 and 2013, and continuing through the more recent PBN-slaughter of 2014 and mobile change just last week.
In this post I’ll go through what you need to know to be successful with SEO in 2015.
Key 2015 SEO Trends
Firstly, let’s take a look at some of the key 2015 SEO trends.
Links Still Matter
Perhaps the most important thing to note is that links are still hugely important to SEO and SEM strategies. Many SEO experts decried links, and PBNS in particular, after getting slammed by Google in the Fall of 2014.
While Google did do a major crackdown on public and shared linking networks, that doesn’t mean that links are dead.
Instead, back linking strategies simply need to account for more advanced algorithms, and buying mass or “easy” links will no longer get you very far.
The key is to have natural links. In order to that, you can either build yourself a large, private network of sites, or you can go out and network with others in your niche.
By far one of the best ways of getting good SEO links is to go out and do guest blog posts for others that are in your field. That gives you a chance to show your authority, expand your audience, and get a link.
In other words, its marketing that focuses as much on driving new readers to your website as it does in just trying to get a link for linking’s sake.
The second trend that’s skyrocketed to the top of SEO’s radar this year is something called social signals.
While personally I’m still on the fence as to whether or not this has a big impact on rankings, the logic is certainly compelling. In today’s world, it’s next to impossible to have a “real” or authoritative site that doesn’t get shared on social media.
So, social signals is a method of boosting the number of times your website’s content gets shared. This is distinct from a social media strategy, because the goal with social signals is not to target new users, but simply to show social media activity. The quality of the user sharing is less important than the share itself.
The reason I’m on the fence about this is because of Google’s conflicting statements. A few years ago, back in 2011, they announced that social media activity was an indicator used in their algorithm, but then in 2013 they explicitly stated that it wasn’t.
So, why the discrepancy? It all has to do with business politics. Google no longer has firehose access to Twitter and Facebook streams, making it more difficult for them to accurately assess the number of signals and shares a site receives via those networks. And, without the big 2 giving direct access, well…what’s the point?
Regardless, it’s clearly something that doesn’t hurt, and there’s no denying that sites using social-integrated strategies are killing it this year.