A lot has happened in 2014, especially when we talk about SEO. It seems that the newest updates and latest developments are constantly being made and announced. According to Moz, there have been 13 new Google algorithm changes in 2014 (and that’s only counting the publicly announced updates!). To prepare ourselves for 2015, our agency sat down and gathered the top SEO trends to expect for the New Year for you, starting with:

Become Mobile or Get Left Behind

Remember when comScore predicted that mobile traffic would exceed desktop traffic? Well, it finally happened in 2014. And it’s truly monumental. Now that more and more users are accessing the Internet through smartphones and tablets, it’s crucial for marketing to be more mobile friendly, and that’s including your website. Google has always said that responsive websites are friendlier for users and, therefore, receive the best traffic, rankings, etc. from the search engine. They further cemented that notion this year with “mobile-friendly” notation next to websites in mobile search results and a few new tools to help website owners decipher whether or not their site is mobile friendly enough. Moving forward, it’ll be more beneficial for businesses to consider a more mobile friendly approach or risk falling behind.

Inbound Links Still Rule

The best type of links are still inbound links that indicate an earning of value, authority and trust with search engines, especially Google. The case used to be the more links you had, no matter what type of link, the better you would rank. That’s certainly not the case anymore. Google now considers, “implied links,” or “brand mentions” that are included within the text of the content and on the source’s webpage without the use of a hyperlink. This lets the Google know that the link is legitimate. Earning a single link from a high quality website is more valuable for attracting referral traffic, leads, and brand exposure. Link building on irrelevant sites and buying large loads of links to cheat search engines are over.

TIP: Businesses should make sure that both text and links naturally appear from a wide range of sources. Mixing URLs, keywords, phrases allow you to sound more natural and rank higher. Using the same hyperlink and keyword over and over again could get you penalized!

Quality Content Makes Google Happy

Quality content is still king. Websites have to really deliver quality information in order to rank for relevant search terms. Google search algorithms strive to make sense of basically web material that breaks down into simple text. The most relevant text gets the top bites. So, it only makes sense that content continues to dominate into 2015.

Add Social Layers to Your Web Presence

Since search engine algorithms are becoming more sophisticated, human signals will play a bigger role for SEO. It’s important that your business have a presence on social media. That said it’s not necessary to sign up for every social media site under the sun. Social media has truly evolved from being just a place to share content to a marketing and customer-service channel. By focusing efforts on just two or three social media channels, you are able to generate more leads, sales, and earn and continue relationships with customers.

Choose Keywords with Care

Targeting broad keywords are coming to an end. While they tend to have the most search volume, they don’t necessarily attract the right target audience. Plus, they are expensive! Instead, long-tail keywords with little to no competition are what give businesses the biggest opportunities to score traffic. However, businesses will need to spend a little bit of time learning and understanding their customers’ shopping and purchasing habits and researching the right long-tail keywords, phrases, and terms to go after.

There are dozens of articles that will question whether or not SEO is dead. The fact is the strategy and approach may change, but not necessarily the concept itself. There will always be competition to rank higher and earn new business.

What are some SEO changes you foresee for 2015?