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Google and other search engine sites only want one thing; to give quality internet experience to its users. They want to make online search a lot easier and convenient that in just one typing, the user can have the quality and relevant results he or she looks for to the point that turning to the third page is not even an option. There should be no room for websites that do suspicious activities such as scamming, spamming, and disseminating malicious information. If they do, such websites will be banished from the search engine site.

Why does Google update its Algorithm Every Now and Then?

Google is like a world of its own and it does everything it can to protect its best interest and the interest of its search engine site users. This is why it undergoes continuous update on its algorithm, from Panda, Penguin to Hummingbird; these algorithm updates have brought a lot of rather surprising changes to the internet marketing landscape, and it hopes to change it for the better. This is the very reason why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts and online marketers are always on the look-out for algorithm updates, SEO trends, and strategies that they will need in order to keep up with the internet giant.

For example, in 2014, Hummingbird came into the scene unannounced. The said algorithm update was implemented one month before Google has made an official announcement about it. As a result, several websites that failed to match the requirements set by the previous updates and the new ones (i.e. Panda and Penguin) contracted a significant decrease in its web traffic; hence, a possible decline in its page rank, too. With this, it makes sense to be more vigilant as ever and it wouldn’t hurt to rely on the services of an independent SEO expert in case you need to proof your website from losing a lot of traffic during these updates.

Beyond Google, we also have to look at how our target audience use the internet. Do they tend to use a lot of keyword phrases now? Do they include local names or places in their search query about that particular service or product? After all, Google designs an algorithm that would generally benefit the internet users. You might still be asking yourself right now, how should I prepare my SEO team this new year? So here are the five SEO strategies in 2015:

1. Make Keyword Research and Planning a Priority

If Google had to revolutionize semantic search just to find exact matches to every word a person types into the search bar, website owners should take it as a sign of taking keyword research and planning seriously. Some entrepreneurs put up a web-based platform without optimizing it, because they do not have a proper set of keywords to be optimized in the first place. Thus, if a person tries to search for “pizza delivery Phoenix AZ” and if your website is not optimized for that kind of search, you will likely miss the said potential customer.

Notice that the query is more focused and precise because people want relevant and faster results. Therefore, Google sees this as queries getting more and more complicated so using long-tail keywords for your websites should be your focus right now. You can find long-tail keywords appropriate for your niche by logging into your Google Adwords account, use Keyword Tool, and then Keyword Planner. Needless to say, if your website offers specific information using keyword phrases it is going to be viewed by Google as relevant and reputable.

2. Invest in Mobile SEO

Think of those people that use their tablet PC’s and smartphones to buy something online. Mobile search users are plenty enough to surpass desktop search in 2014, amounting to 60% of overall digital media time spent. Do you see how much advantage you can have over your competitors if your website is mobile-friendly?

Being seen on mobile search by your target audience is increasingly becoming a necessity as a matter of fact. Google had even added a mobile usability report on its Webmaster Tools recently to help webmasters see which pages on the site that mobile users may have a hard time opening. So you should also take this as a warning to configure your mobile site carefully because you might lose about 68% of your mobile traffic, according to BrightEdge. Additionally mobile usability may not be a ranking factor as of yet, it will be in the near future so make sure that your mobile site is fast and responsive enough to load on any smartphones and tablets.

3. Improve your Social Signals

Social media sites are here to stay and we have seen it transform from being a social channel to an online marketing platform. Thus, it is recommended to add more SEO value to your social media signals by building a stronger presence on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and forging relationships with your social followers. According to SEO experts though, Google will be putting a lot of emphasis on Twitter and Facebook as one of the many ranking factors. Therefore now is the perfect time to make your brand known across the said social networking sites, but how?

For one, you can start building relationships with your followers by keeping them up-to-date with your company. You can keep them engaged by sharing your own thoughts, relevant news, articles, and graphic information that may spark conversation between you and among the followers. Getting your social media posts shared by your followers could get you as many citations or mentions as possible, which is crucial in ranking your website. Secondly, as they become active on your social page, you may be able to gain significant insights about your targeted demographics and psychographics. Such information may give you an idea on which new keywords to target so you can broaden your reach.

4. Always take the Current Search Engine Algorithms in Mind

Gone are the days when local SEO is in the backseat because it is now gearing towards taking a more crucial role to play in any internet marketing strategy. July 2014, Google had released its Pigeon algorithm update which is supposed to provide an increased accuracy and specificity in the local search results, particularly in Canada, UK, US, and Australia where the update has been rolled out to. This means you will be getting more accurate results for a certain neighborhood regardless if you used a colloquial or conventional term for that local place. No wonder 50% of mobile search users who conduct a local search for a certain store visited it within a day.

Another insight I’d like to share is that many SEO experts like Barry Schwartz see that Penguin will be more streamlined this year. And Penguin is notorious for penalizing websites with poor quality content, therefore if you want to have a better chance at ranking higher on search engine, producing a meaty and original web content must be a priority. Author Rank is also said to be going dominant in 2015, in which Google+ is already a ranking booster. So take advantage of your Google+ profile and start posting articles under your name. Once you have established yourself as a reputable author, there is a good chance at improving your web ranking on Google.

5. Content is King… as Always

As I mentioned earlier, if Penguin is going to be more robust this year, you should not sit on your laurels when it comes to your content marketing strategy. It is very important to come up with valuable content if you want to retain or improve on your ranking. But what kind of content should you prepare to produce?

A study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute in 2014 showed that small and medium size businesses begin to embrace the fact that web content and blog posts are quickly becoming the major aspect of their content strategy. However, both Panda and Penguin are there to remind you that your content should provide a valuable experience to the user or reader, so it is only logical to be careful in applying those SEO practices into the content. Your approach should not be focused on the sake of your online visibility but on the quality of experience you will give to your site visitors.

Aligning your technical teams and content writers is also crucial in this year’s SEO strategy. Many entrepreneurs are confused over which department does what because SEO has technical and creative facets. To solve this problem, it is best to make put these two facets on a single team and create a work flow that follows the traditional content marketing strategy; content production to optimization.

As we go through 2015, expect to see a lot of changes in the SEO landscape and these five essential strategies might help you prepare your business for what lies ahead.