Introduction from Adam Audette: This is a special guest post from Lauren Polinsky, which she crowdsourced from our stellar SEO teamies at Merkle | IMPAQT. You'll see more of these going forward, as we unite to create the World's Leading SEO Agency™! (Yep, I went there.) As the year came to a close, the Merkle | IMPAQT Search Account Managers brainstormed which trends, issues and best practices would be the most impactful in 2015. We took what we learned in 2014 and organized our thoughts. Who needs 1,000 things to do in 2015? Let’s just talk about the most important and interesting issues:
1. Build Trust in the Capabilities of SEO Best Practices - Working with all teams to gain buy-in will be important for future success, especially for clients that are required to go through extensive compliance reviews before content can be approved to be posted online. Institutionalization frequently has proved to alleviate the bottleneck of the review process. 2. Multichannel & Assisted Reporting - SEO has never occurred in a vacuum. In 2015 SEOs will need to report from multiple online and offline channels to understand the impact optimization efforts have on the site.
3. Expanding in the Local Search Ecosystem - What we have seen so far is that the following variables have some level of impact on the results:
- Verified vs Unverified listings
- Amount of reviews
- Average rating of the review
- Frequency/newness of the reviews
- Regional qualifiers based on the location of the searcher
4. Create Local Landing Pages - Research has shown that brands with crawlable local landing pages for each brick & mortar store are more likely to have more local search impressions in the results. PPC 5. Increase Usage of Dynamic Ad Copy - Stand out from other search ads by incorporating dynamic ad copy that matches the users’ search queries. 6. Build Remarketing Lists - Find more of an engaged audience from building cross-channel marketing lists such as Display and Social lists to build remarketing opportunities. 7. Launch Yahoo/Bing Remarketing Efforts - Expand advertising outside of Google. 8. International Campaigns - Brands will need to consider prioritizing their advertising budgets – and site optimization efforts – to include additional international advertising costs to their US Campaigns. 9. Customized Landing Page Experiences - Developing content and/or new pages for a better, more customized experience per audience to help convert users at any stage in the funnel.
Sites & Content
10. Optimize for the User Experience - Group & monitor landing pages by KPI to maximize the user experience for different areas of the site. 11. Invest in New Technology - SEO’s will push their clients/companies to invest more in incorporating new technology such as parallax webpages that tell interesting stories in visually appealing ways. Engaging websites will build more links naturally, earning more trust and authority from search engines over time. 12. Mobile Optimization - Mobile usage accounts for 30-50% of total site traffic (retail), not including app downloads/usage. Focus on organic metrics across mobile sites and apps (and desktops, tablets, & other devices) for engagement signals and optimization. Need to develop SEO multi-device, multi-access strategies for sites.
Search Engines & SERPs
13. Easier to Show PPC Sitelinks - Google softened the criteria needed for PPC Expanded Sitelinks to show, further cannibalizing organic traffic. 14. The On-Site Search Box in Brand Search Results - Google updated brand search results to include an “on-site search box” in results. In return Google has reduced the number of organic sitelinks visible for similar searches. 15. Secure Sites - A green lock now appears next to snippets from secure websites, encouraging more webmasters to migrate to HTTPS. 16. More Than Google - As the Yahoo/Firefox partnership shows, search engine share can change overnight. Optimize for the experience and not just the engines. Even Duckduckgo changed its name to www.goose.com -- looks primed for a buyout! 17. Right to Be Forgotten - Europe is already regulating content Google can serve in search. There is enough traction in this line of thinking from efforts such as Right to Be Forgotten or Spain attempting to regulate Google News that suggests online privacy in the U.S. could become a bigger political focus. 18. Monitor Brand Citations - Brands will want to work on building more citations, linked or unlinked, from authoritative websites. Utilizing Authors is a great technique to building citations. This may not be everything to do for your specific website in 2015, but focusing on a handful - if not all of these trends - can help brands build more awareness and "surround sound" this year. What other SEO best practices do you think will have a huge impact on search in 2015?