SEO checklist for 2015 and beyond
By Norm Reid
As we near 2015, we have been working on our checklists and workflows to make sure our clients’ sites continue to thrive — and stay safe from algorithm updates.
You don’t want this to happen to your site. This was the result of a Penguin update which penalizes those involved with link schemes designed specifically to increase rankings.
(not one of our clients by the way)
Will your traffic continue to rise?
Will you stay out of the Google penalty box?
SEO is a constantly changing battlefield with a lot of new competitors daily. And those that determine the winners (the search engines) are constantly changing what they deem to be important or not.
Fortunately, the steps they are taking are meant to turn up relevant and useful search results rather than reward those that continue to use shady on-page tactics and link building practices.
After going through our SEO checklist, and after having worked on and audited many sites in 2014, I realized there are several items that most sites are still not taking advantage of, or using properly to be ready for 2015 and beyond.
Here are a few items you’ll want to make sure you are on top of heading into 2015:
Mobile Responsiveness: The number of people using the Mobile Web is huge; over 75% percent of consumers have access to smartphones. Your website needs to look good and function well on any device these days or you risk losing a growing portion of viewers. As your screen size shrinks, your site should resize appropriately so that you don’t have to zoom in and text remains readable. You can try it right now it you like- grab the bottom right corner of you browser screen and drag it to the left. Does your site start to re-stack itself? Does the text remain readable, or will you have to pinch and zoom?
Make your organic listings more appealing with schema markup
Schema markup is code that helps search engines return more informative results to users. Schema tags can be set up for certain items on pages such as prices, phone numbers, and reviews. These help to ensure organic listings are more appealing and more likely to get clicked on. In addition, search engines are likely to give more weight to those pages that use schema tags in future, as this structured data helps them to classify information more easily.
Learn more about your visitors with event tracking
Be more social with social media
The importance of social media is no longer debated. Many businesses have realized the power of social media marketing and have increased their use of various platforms, but there are also many businesses that have not. Social media has numerous benefits including increased exposure, increased traffic, increased sales, and yes, improved search rankings. Social media ranks among the highest on the list of factors influencing search rankings. You’ll want to make sure your profiles are set up properly and optimized.
Are you the best?
Getting reviews from your customers has always been a beneficial exercise for business, but today its importance is even greater. In Google’s pursuit to deliver the most relevant and beneficial results for local searches, they not only want to know what your business does but how your business is perceived. They do this, in large part, by seeing how many reviews you have and what your average customer rating is. When people then search with local intent, the highest rated results will appear in Google Maps. Additional sources of reviews are also helpful, such as Yelp.
Backlinks are huge, but make sure they’re relevant
Backlinks are links back to your site from external sites and are still very important according to the latest ranking factor reports. But they need to be from legitimate, relevant sources. In fact, some links can actually be harmful to your rankings. Any links that appear unnatural and useless to anybody that follows the links are suspect and might cause your site to be penalized. Buying a bunch of cheap links that also all point to your home page is a recipe for disaster, while link growth that appears natural and well distributed across your site should help your site.
Keywords are still important but…
And let’s not forget keywords. They are still the backbone of SEO but you can’t rely on just a few keyword phrases and repeat them over and over. You’re better to group your keywords into themes and use several synonyms and variations of your terms throughout your page. This provides Google a better chance of determining your target topic.
For instance, if you were business selling windows (not the operating system), having both ‘windows installation’ and ‘windows and doors’ on a page would be better than just having ‘windows installation’ which might possibly be confused with Windows computers.
Besides, if Google suspects keyword stuffing, you risk penalization.
It’s equally important to make sure you structure your content well with headings, introductory paragraphs, concluding paragraphs, good spelling and good grammar. This also helps Google to better understand your target topic.
Okay, I’ve really put pressure on myself with that one.
To keep your site up to date you need to stay educated and make sure you are implementing SEO best practices like those listed above. Sites need to be continually monitored to ensure they are technically healthy and set up well for both search engines and visitors.
Failing to do so, could end in a drop in rankings—and we all know how valuable those are.
It is quite a lot of work to maintain a successful website. But don’t worry, that’s what we’re here for. We stay on top of current trends, as well as your site. No moss grows on Rocket SEO.
Feel free to contact us if you want help.