Job 1 -Biggest Changes in SEO over the Past Year
Optimization for mobile traffic
Many have been predicting that mobile traffic would exceed desktop traffic, and in 2014, that’s exactly what happened. The percentage of organic traffic from mobile devices continues to increase. As a direct result of that, Google has been placing increasing importance on mobile-friendly sites and has been penalizing sites that lead to errors for mobile users.
- Google’s algorithm updates
- Google has been penalizing sites that generate errors for mobile users
- Local mobile searches expected to exceed desktop searches for the first time
- Thanksgiving 2014 – mobile traffic exceeded PC internet traffic for the first time
- The percentage of organic traffic from mobile devices increased from 40% in Q3 (2014) to 42% in Q4 (2014)
Focus has switched from keyword rankings to ROI metrics
It is important for companies to know they are getting for the money being put into SEO, but many companies are struggling to track their return on investment from SEO. Companies are increasing the amount of spending on SEO, and most marketers believe that usage of SEO will continue to grow.
- Only 44% of companies say they can measure paid search ROI effectively
- Almost 4 out of 5 surveyed are not able to directly track their email ROI
The importance of brand mentions
Brand mentions and implied links are less likely and less easy to be manipulated than express links. Google is starting to place more emphasis on brand mentions, so they will eventually become just as important as direct links to sites.
- Over 80% of B2B marketers say their top goal in social media is increased brand awareness
The demise of Google+
Although social media experts have pushed businesses to have a Google+ presence, and in particular, Google Authorship, Google has ended the Authorship program and will be dismantling Google+. Google+ will be split into three parts, and Streams will become the newsfeed-like service. Businesses will likely go back to other social media platforms, such as Facebook.
- Google+ will be split into Photos, Hangouts, and Streams
Focus on building relationships instead of creating content
Simply creating content is no longer enough to maintain a loyal following. It is now necessary to reach out to bloggers and influencers to continue to spread the brand information. However, more connections is not necessarily better, as the quality of those connections is even more important.
- Pursue relationships with influencers
SEO is becoming integrated with marketing, rather than its own department
SEO, social media, and marketing are merging together with a common goal to promote the business. Dedicated SEO consultants will likely be phased out in the future. Many PR agencies are picking up on the trend and are now offering SEO services to companies.
- 72% of PR agencies now offer SEO services
More focused social media approach
Companies originally tried to have a presence on every available social media platform, but it is better to focus on just two or three and be very active with customers. Social media is no longer just a means of customer service, but it is a marketing channel. Concentrating on just two or three social platforms can build a loyal audience.
- 78% of companies have a dedicated social media team, only 26% fully integrate social media into business strategy
Earned links are more valuable
Earned links, particularly citations from respected publishers, will improve SEO. Quality content is one of the most important aspects to earning links, along with choosing the audience carefully. Blogging is the most recognized method of quality content, for a targeted audience.
- Quality content will earn links.
- Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links