Google continually makes changes to the way its search engine analyzes and ranks websites and individual pages. But, unfortunately, there is no cookie-cutter way to please its algorithm.
The good news, however, is there are proven ways to provide what it wants so you can rank higher and for the long term.
It's more important than ever that you produce consistent quality content and make that content be topic (and keyword) focused in order to rank at the top of Google search results.
Here are five ways you can move with the advancing trends of Google's search engine into 2015 and beyond.
1. Focus on content topics (not just keywords) and user experience
Keywords are still pertinent in 2015 when it comes to landing top search engine rankings, but Google is now placing much more importance on quality, relevant and contextual content.
In the past, a mediocre body of text filled with keywords could easily snag decent rankings, but this type of content doesn't perform well anymore.
Google wants great, unique content that is useful to readers.
Your site should be easy to navigate and consume. This not only keeps visitors on your website, but it helps these same visitors build a stronger bond of trust with Google.
Rankings are just one part of the equation. Question based, inbound traffic with higher engagement and conversions are the key areas to work on this year.
2. Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly.
Users are accessing portable and mobile devices more than ever to browse and search the web.
Mobile usage comprise so much of overall online traffic that Google may already be 'penalizing' websites that return mobile errors.
Building a mobile-friendly website not only satisfies Google, but it will bode well for your mobile traffic and overall site engagement.
And, for your geographic business region, Local SEO and mobile optimization is a must-implement strategy.
3. Use the "Disavow Tool" offered by Google (carefully)
Website owners and marketing professionals are noticing that Google is placing a stronger penalization on websites that are associated with "spammy" websites.
As you begin to assess your possible "Penguin" factors, it is imperative that you start with an outreach program to those website owners.
After requesting to have them removed, you can use Google's "Disavow Tool" to begin disassociating the remaining items that taint your website or pages with bad links and poor neighborhood trust.
4. Keep building links (and build them at a 'natural' pace)
Websites that are linked to by other sites that Google classifies as "good" will always see positive reception from the Google search engine algorithm.
However, the as you've learned, Google has always cracked down on unnatural link-building strategies. It's still okay to build a thorough link-building plan and execute it, but you should ensure that you deploy it at a natural rate.
5. Lastly, make your content share-able.
Sharing content on social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) is big now, and it's important that your target market would want to share yours.
As your content gets more sharing and distribution, you'll begin to gain more traffic and visibility. In turn, this leads to more natural links from genuine websites and sources.
Social signals appear to have an indirect effect on Google search, and specifically when considering engagement, which is increasingly becoming important.
Overall, it's a great strategy to cater to social media users. Learn more about what Malcolm Gladwell calls "Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen", and the importance they can have in your social outreach programs.