SEO will continue to change and what better time to evaluate your strategy than the New Year? Consider these tactics for a successful year in SEO:
1. Don’t try to fool Google. This is no different than 2014—the key to successful SEO is to first comply with Google’s guidelines, then overachieve. Make sure you:
- Include quality content on your pages.
- Don’t stuff keywords (really, this tactic is seriously outdated).
- Don’t worry about exact keywords. Remember that Google doesn’t require the exact word to count keywords anymore. Plurals, phrases and misspellings no longer cost you a ranking.
- Be concise with your tags—select only the most relevant keywords to summarize the content.
- Remember local SEO. The basic requirement for Google is city and state in five locations. Start there.
2. Keep your URLs short. Your URL is your top line of ranking. Keep it descriptive and focus on categorization by aligning your page topic and keyword.
3. Cultivate inbound links. This is one thing that certainly hasn’t changed. The greater number of quality inbound links to your site, the greater your chances of showing up higher in results. Do you have a solid inbound link strategy? If not, consider these four tactics to start:
- List your site in relevant directories.
- Participate in blog conversations. Find blogs that your target readers would read and make meaningful comments that link back to your site.
- Include your website and keywords in any press release.
- Be social. Updates on Twitter and other social platforms are a quick way to gain inbound links.
4. Be fast. This isn’t old news either: readers have a need for speed. If you don’t keep up, you will get left in the dust. The faster your site operates, the better your chances of keeping readers with you.
5. Continue to prioritize security. You know about PCI compliance, but do you know about HTTPS? Historically, websites ran on Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP), but now Google emphasizes the use of Hyper Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). Why? It’s the best way to encrypt your website for resistance to hackers.
7. Don’t neglect other search engines. We all do it: we get hyper-focused on Google and forget that there are other players out there. But, while Google cannot be ignored, other search engines shouldn’t be ignored. They are becoming more competitive and neglecting to optimize for those search engines could cost a lot. Think about how Firefox dropped Google for Yahoo last year. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
It’s inevitable that 2015 will bring more change in SEO, but it’s good to know that key tactics from last year still hold water.