We’re still a bit bummed hoverboards and flying cars aren’t the big ticket items for 2015, but we’ve been monitoring some SEO trends we think will be big for 2015 and that’s always exciting for us here at RezStream!
Here’s what the digital marketing industry deems important and relevant trends to keep tabs of in the upcoming year:
Keep it conversational: In 2015, we expect to see Google getting better at understanding phrases and concepts that relate to one another which will make us pay more attention to the phrases we include in our SEO strategy as well as the content we develop to assist in increasing search engine exposure for specific phrases. Gone are the days where you only focus on one term per page. You need to think bigger and look at synonyms, variants, and related terms to assist you in climbing rank for those main phrases., i.e. hotel = room, pillows, reservations, deals, accommodation.
Voice search: Riding the idea of conversational search is how Google is focusing on voice search and understanding spoken language. This idea piggybacks off the conversational tone and understanding how semantics play a role in search results. Try reading some of your website's content out loud. Does it sound like it was written for a robot looking for certain words or was it written the way you would talk to a guest?
Local SEO: Local SEO is an important component of your overall SEO strategy. Google spent time and resources rebranding Google My Business (previously Google Places and Google Local), launching the Pigeon algorithm, and removing the Carousel for hotel listings. We cannot stress enough how important it is to make sure your local listings are accurate and consistent when it comes to your NAP. Unfortunately, we’re not talking about dreamland and counting sheep, but we are talking about your Name, Address, Phone Number. Does one local listing have “Street” whereas another has “St.?” Uh oh! It may seem trivial but it does play a role in your local efforts as it’s seen as bad information to potential customers. Inconsistent information hurts your business’ authority and trust.
Independent incentives: We all want more bookings, but some research shows that you can increase direct bookings on your website by creating incentives that are tied to direct bookings. Free in-room WiFi for those that book direct versus free lobby WiFi for those that use an OTA is just one example.
Mobile optimized: Not so new for 2015, but a ranking factor that’s impossible to ignore. If you want to make Google happy, give them one website to index instead of your main desktop site and a mobile solution. Using a responsive design is the best way to accomplish this as it basically tells your website to resize and format itself depending on how the visitor is viewing the site, either from their smartphone or tablet. Google recently added “mobile-friendly” tags for mobile searches, so trust us, they’re paying attention to mobile.
Site speed: Similar to the above point, nothing new but worth the reminder. If your site is as slow as molasses many visitors may bounce before even having the chance to see your great offerings! Make sure your images are optimized for the web and there’s no unnecessary features slowing down your load time. Google provides a tool for webmasters to use so they can enhance their users’ experience so go check out your site’s speed!
Paid amplification: Have you ever been reading an article or blog and in the byline saw the “sponsored by” phrase? It’s becoming a very common practice to pay to have your articles or blogs hosted by a credible and authoritative source. Not only does it allow your content to have a new audience it also helps provide high quality links back to your website!
Long live the King!: Content marketing is a major part of a successful SEO strategy and content isn’t going anywhere. Last year, Promodo found “it would take 95,116 years to do a manual search of Google’s 50 billion web pages at one minute per page.” They also noted that each day Google processes about 20 petabytes of information. It gets really interesting when you compare that to the fact that all the written works since the beginning of the history of mankind, in all languages, add up to 50 petabytes. Content is always being generated and consumed.
Inbound links: Let us rephrase that, quality inbound links are important for your 2015 SEO strategy. Like we said above in the paid amplification point, getting links back to your website is great. Just make sure the links are coming from credible sources and have authority in your industry, for example your local Chamber of Commerce would be a credible opportunity.
Video marketing on the rise: 100 Million people watch online videos every day and 90% of online shoppers say they use videos to help make a purchase decision. Video is an effective way to capture your guests’ attention and help them understand your offerings better. Much like your website, you need to get their attention quickly as research has found with videos you only have 10 seconds to keep them interested in watching more. Keep them engaged right from the start to make your video marketing worth it.
Social signals: Social media is great for brand awareness and building relationships but also shown to have an impact on how you show up in search results. The more sharable your content and the more you engage with users on social networks could help your overall ranking and authority. Add social share buttons to your site so your online visitors can easily share your site’s content for you!
People research: You know your keywords, you know what webpages you want on your site, but now the big focus is knowing the people you’re talking to. Keyword research is shifting to people research, knowing your target audiences’ interests, behaviors, and so on so you can provide customized content. Google Analytics offers specific tracking scripts to learn more about your visitors, as well as using social media networks’ analytics tabs to dive deeper into your demographic information.
Remarketing: Once you know your users, it’s a great opportunity to retarget them using remarketing campaigns. Remarketing is an extension of advertising that allows you to show specific banners and ads to people that have already interacted with your brand to further entice them to convert.
Errors are a no-no: We’re humans, we make mistakes but robots don’t do so well with errors and humans don’t like encountering errors or pages with the 404 on it. Make sure to run audits on your site’s content to make sure you’re redirecting expired pages or that there’s content
See what we did there? Don't confuse your online visitors with the promise of more information and then leading them to a dead end.
Negative SEO: Many marketers pay attention to negative SEO, which is most often accomplished in a link based format. Google can assess penalties against your website for participating in manipulative link building or having links to your site from bad sources. While it is up to the webmaster to monitor where these links are coming from, it is something many digital marketers are paying close attention to.
That was a lot of information and we thank you for taking the time to read about our predictions for SEO in 2015! Now, we want to hear what you think! Tell us what SEO trends you think are important to your business or which ones are most interesting to you in the comments section below: