:: By Travis Bliffen, Stellar SEO::
As you know, SEO is a fast changing game and falling behind can spell disaster for your website.
There are, however, a handful of tips that can help you stay on top of SEO this year.
1. Schema Markup - Last year we shared tips with you about Schema markup and while at the time it wasn't a major issue, its importance is growing in 2015. As search grows across numerous devices, Schema markup will be critical in making sure your site contents are properly understood and displayed.
2. Diversification - Ever hear "don't put all of your eggs in one basket"? Diversification is critical in most things in life, and SEO is NOT the exception. Optimizing and ranking your own website is awesome but not enough. In 2015 you should be looking at ranking social profiles, videos and any other properties that can build brand awareness and send traffic to your website.
3. Link Building - Until you get a newsletter from Website Magazine authored by myself telling you link building is dead, don't waste your time worrying about it. If you want to build links that work now and in the future, get placed on authority sites. Even if the link doesn't help your rankings at all, you will still get referral traffic; isn't traffic the point of SEO anyway?
4. Topically Themed Pages - If you are still making a landing page for each variation of a keyword, STOP! Google is capable of understanding the overall topic of a page meaning you can rank a single page for several keywords. Instead of repeating the same keyword throughout your post, look for Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords to include in key places like heading tags and 'alt-text'.
5. "Content is King" - Am I the only one tired of hearing that? If you work with an SEO company and all they tell you to do is "keep writing great content" they are missing the big picture. If you write on epic post and it generates 10 stellar links that is much more beneficial than 50 blogs posts without any links. Now, if you have a means to promote your blog posts and drive traffic to your site in volume, go for it. For the rest of you, spend 10 times as long promoting a blog as you did writing it. That is your goal for 2015.
6. Local SEO Evolved - For a while local SEO was heavily driven by the number of citations your business had and how consistent they were. Now local SEO takes several factors into account including inbound links. If you are relying on citation building alone, you aren't going to get far this year. Reviews, inbound links, citations, and on-page factors need to be dialed in if you want to rank local terms that are competitive.
7. SEO isn't Cheap - For those of you who have hired an SEO firm in the past and paid a couple hundred bucks a month for services, times have changed. For many years SEO was driven by cheap tricks and even cheaper outsourced link building. To be a successful SEO firm today you have to be good at PR, content research and development, technical SEO and link building. If someone is offering you all of this for $300/month, RUN!
8. Social Media and Branding - As Google evolves in its ability to understand SEO, business owners and SEOs have to evolve as well. In the ongoing battle with spam, Google is exploring ways to identify reals companies versus spam sites and social media is one of the factors being used. Social signals can be faked pretty easily and to combat this, Google is looking at the big picture of brands. Make sure you are branding yourself and your company on every platform you use. Even if it does not make all the difference today, you will be thankful in the near future.
Travis Bliffen is the CEO of Stellar SEO, a digital marketing agency specializing in search engine optimization.
As you set out to conquer SEO in 2015 and drive hordes of customers to your site, remember, Google is getting smarter which means you have to get smarter as well. If you want to learn more about social signals and SEO, checkout this upcoming webinar.