SEO evolves all the time -- there are countless algorithm updates and refreshes that cause strategies and focal points to change. A search engine optimization strategy that isn't constantly adjusting is destined for failure. While there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution when it comes to SEO, here are five areas of focus that can help improve your overall search visibility campaign.
1. Emphasis on ROI, not keyword rankings.
Simply ranking for keywords doesn't mean your SEO campaign is successful. Keyword ranking reports can be made to look impressive and many SEO companies will even target low competition keywords (that have zero value) just to say, "Check it out - your website is ranking number one!"
As a small business owner allocating your marketing budget for SEO, what would you rather hear come out of your SEO agency's mouth?
"Great news, your website is ranking number one for 'low priced widgets' but we have no idea if it has generated a ROI for your business."
"The content that we created and published last month earned your website 52 links and it also pulled in 18 conversions that accounted for $26,640 of your monthly revenue."
Pretty PDF keyword ranking reports don't explain whether or not SEO is working -- your conversions, revenue and ROI do.
2. Create well thought out content assets that earn links.
After the dust settles from every update and algorithm change throughout the years one thing never changed: inbound links are still the most influential signal of trust and authority. This isn't going to change anytime soon.
What has changed is the way link acquisition needs to be approached. Earning a high quality link on a relevant website is valuable for multiple reasons -- SEO, referral traffic, leads, sales and brand exposure. Creating content assets such as infographics and guides are great ways to naturally attract inbound links the right way. Create something so good that other websites can't help but share it and link back to your website.
3. Optimize your website for mobile traffic.
ComScore predicted that mobile traffic would surpass desktop traffic in 2014, and their prediction was right on point. Google has always made it clear that they feel responsive websites provide the best experience for their users. Now there is a "mobile-friendly" designation in the search results next to websites that are indeed mobile friendly in the eyes of Google.
Not sure if your website is mobile friendly? Run it through Google's mobile-friendly test and see for yourself. Google isn't alone, as Bing has also stated they prefer a single responsive URL. There are several reasons your website should be responsive, so if you fail the mobile-friendly test it would be a good idea to address your website ASAP.
4. More laser focused social media engagement.
Many small businesses sign up for every social media site and share their content everywhere. Social media is now a legitimate marketing channel as well as an online customer service channel. Your social media audience expects your business to engage with them on a more personal level.
Instead of trying to be active on every social media platform available, focus on two or three and be extremely active and helpful. You will end up generating more leads, sales and revenue, and you will also build a very loyal following that will share your content. This benefits your SEO when new people are introduced to your website and even presents opportunities to earn links.
5. Look beyond just Google.
Could 2015 be the year that Bing, Yahoo or DuckDuckGo take more market share? This is the million-dollar question each year, but recent developments suggest that it is very possible.
Yahoo is now the default search engine for Firefox, and ComScore reports that they nabbed 1.6 percent from Google in December. Google's deal is also up with Safari this year, and reports have both Bing and Yahoo trying to secure that spot. The option to switch default browsers in iOS 8 and OS X from Google to DuckDuckGo also exists.
With options other than Google becoming more readily available you need to make sure your business has visibility across these search engines as well.
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