A new year is on the way, and you know what that means—more of Google ruffling our feathers with ninja Penguin updates and Panda roll-outs. (Just kidding. Kind of. Google has it right when it comes to wanting better content for its users. Although we’re sure “ninja penguin” updates would strike even more fear into SEO black hats. Just sayin’.)
In all seriousness, the search engine optimization world isn’t immune to change. We know it, you know it. But if you thought internet marketing was evolving enough already, well…
In the words of Bachman-Turner Overdrive: “B-b-b-baby, you just ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
Here are some of our best SEO predictions for 2015 and PPC predictions for 2015 to prepare your website for a new year of business: (Considered some of the best business trends for 2015)
SEO Predictions for 2015 – Trends in Digital Marketing
Mobile Marketing Trends 2015
- Mobile traffic will completely surpass organic traffic for most businesses.
Is your website optimized for mobile? It had better be. The continual rise of smartphones puts a search engine in everyone’s pocket—even for business-related searches. If you don’t want to miss out on new business due to your un-optimized mobile site, perhaps it’s time to make that a priority New Year’s resolution.
- Google will reward websites that offer users a good mobile experience.
While mobile-optimization is already believed to be a ranking factor, you might start seeing some very tangible results in increased site traffic. We’re already seeing this with the mobile-friendly labels that now show in Google search results. But considering Google’s focus on user experience, this prediction could very well give you a major advantage over competitors who have yet to make the jump to mobile.
- Only content that adds value to the readers will rank well.
How do you define “value?” Well, ask yourself how your users “use” your content: Do they read the whole page? Do they click your links? Basically, is your content doing what it needs to do to get you closer to conversions? For 2015, we’re betting that content that adds to user experience and provides them with the answers they’re looking for will begin to rank better than pages that don’t. That’s right—content will be all about meaning this year.
- Semantic search will understand search queries at such a level that keyword-focused content will be pushed off the first page of search results.
As search algorithms improve, so will semantic search’s ability to find exactly what users are looking for based on the meaning of the words. Sound too futuristic? Not so—Google’s own Semantic Search project has been in the works since 2012 (Source: Wall Street Journal). Assuming these SEO predictions for 2015 happen, this change will drive copywriters to produce tighter, more focused content—no more grey/black hat SEO. Not without fear of severe ranking punishments, that is.
- Exact keyword use will diminish.
Exact keywords might not be as useful to users as they may have once been—at least in Google’s eyes. Like the Semantic Search prediction, it’s the meaning behind the words that Google wants to help users with. Expect to see some changes in your top ranking keywords this coming January.
- Information websites will compete with Google, as Google continues to expand their knowledge box, beating out Siri and Cortana for direct answers.
Search engines have always served as great places to find answers. So with all this focus on meaning and context in 2015, other websites will have to butt heads with Google to prove themselves as authorities. This might mean a shift from providing free, useful content to visitors and instead hoarding it from non-subscribers.
- Website content will need to be written by influential authors that display high authority in their fields based on social signals and high quality writing.
Online authority goes a long way. While link detox can tighten up your online profile now and then, nothing enhances your public image quite like website shares and backlinks. But that takes quality content. More than simply being in the right place at the right time, latest SEO trends tell us 2015 will be the year thought leaders start clashing to prove who really belongs in the field and who should sit in the bleachers.
- Fixing crawler errors will be top priority, as Google rewards sites without errors by increased rankings, bringing a 2-5% increase in traffic.
2015 will be time for your techs to brush up on their stuff. While crawler errors deter users to your site, the fact that their presence may be inhibiting your site from better traffic is all the reason you need to fix them right away.
- Increased emphasis on encryption and security.
The internet can be a scary place—and we don’t mean your high school Myspace photos. Users need to feel secured when visiting websites. To meet this need, we predict many businesses making the jump from HTTP to the more secure HTTPS, as well as implementing improved CAPTCHA and other security features to provide users with better peace of mind.
- Launch their own search engine to compete with Google.
While we can’t guarantee anything for sure about the iSearch (or whatever it’ll end up being called), we know it’ll at least be trendy. We’re waiting to see how they can somehow tie it into their Apple Watch.
PPC Predictions for 2015 – 2015 Digital Marketing Trends
- Estimated that 40% of all paid search traffic will come from mobile in 2015.
People do more than search for business on their smartphones; they do business, too. (Source: MediaPost) Take note—with search engine marketing expected to grow next year, so too will people’s needs for on-the-go search results, leading to an increase in ad potential.
- Bing Ads Unified Targeting Phase 2.
Like Google had done previously, Bing Ads may launch its second Unified Targeting movement, estimated as early as March next year. This will push all ad campaigns automatically, targeting the thriving mobile market. Suddenly that 40% increased paid search traffic looks a lot more significant, doesn’t it?
- Google Shopping to become 25% of Google Search spend with more targeting and optimization capabilities.
If you aren’t familiar with Google’s M.O. by now, we’ll say it one more time: Google is all about the user. We won’t be surprised if Google dedicates a full quarter of their 2015 search spend to make their price-comparison service a little more user-friendly.
Online Reviews, Social Credibility, and Ad Extensions
- More advertisers utilizing Seller Ratings (gold stars) in their ads
Shoppers love ratings. And why wouldn’t they? They want to make sure their hard-earned money is going to a reputable seller. Gold stars simply add visual appeal to make good merchants recognized for their outstanding service.
- Ad extensions that enhance the size and looks of ads.
If you thought the “But wait—there’s more!” saying was outplayed, don’t dismiss it yet. Online ads that appear even bigger and better-looking than before may be on the horizon this coming year.
- Increased consumer rating annotations on more businesses.
Google’s steady focus on providing tailor-made user experiences extends even to their ads. As Google Consumer Surveys gather info, it will conduct more independent research and then link that to your business domain within your ad. Better info, better business, right?
- More people making multiple searches before making a purchase.
Fresh off the holidays, this is a feeling we know all too well. In pursuit of finding the best online deal, users will keep an increased eye out for your goods or services. Being conscious of this gives you even bigger incentive to really make your ads stand out.
- Retargeting for search ads becoming a bigger part of every advertiser’s strategy.
Search retargeting works as part of your existing marketing strategy. But PPC predictions for 2015 believe you may see an increase in its use, as re-engagement of users can lead to the conversion you’ve been looking for. With people taking more time to evaluate their purchase than ever before (see the above prediction), retargeting gives you the chance to get back in the game.
Internet Marketing Agencies
Our own CEO Garry Grant weighed in on our SEO predictions for 2015 by taking a top-level look at internet marketing agencies in general. “I think we’ll be seeing more consolidation of SEO companies. We’ve seen some of this happen already. But as smaller agencies are absorbed by larger agencies, who’s going to serve all these small- to mid-sized businesses? There’s no outlet for them.”
It’s definitely something to consider if you’re a burgeoning young startup. Here at SEO Inc., our philosophy has always been that SEO is a long-term treatment rather than a quick fix—a marathon versus a sprint. Showing up in Google’s SERPs not only takes time but perseverance.
“If you spent $200 for 2 hours a month, what kind of work will you get out of that?” The answer: Not much. Nothing that will make a meaningful, positive impact on your website’s traffic.
How to Prepare for the New Year
So how do you make the most of these SEO predictions for 2015?
Take a look at your business. What needs work? Where would you like to improve? Is it your on-site content? Your social media? Your Google AdWords campaign?
Identify one area you’d like to work on and go from there. Start slow—remember, New Year’s resolutions take time. By keeping a potential problem area in mind, you’ll be able to anticipate changes without being blindsided. (NINJA PENGUIN UPDATE!—Just kidding.)
If paying attention to these trends helps you get ahead of the game, then we’ve done our job. You’ve got all the tools at your disposal for a successful new year—let’s make it a good one!