There are a lot of different ways to do SEO and the search engines are always changing. What was working yesterday might not be working today. That is one of the reasons why SEO professionals love their job. In this post, we here from 18 people in the SEO field. We asked each of them, what is working in SEO for you now. Here are there responses. The interviews are the authors opinions on their own and do not reflect any opinions of Ignite Visibility. That being said, I was impressed with all their responses. In addition, I was surprised by how similar their outlook was.
What is Working in SEO in 2015?
Co-founder and CEO
To me, writing good and engaging content that is shared, watched and read by many people is what’s working for me in SEO. Content is king (as it really always was), and so if you can come up with a great piece of written content, you’ll not only post that content on your site, but you can also blog about it, tweet it, share it on FB, Pin it, guest blog it, do a press release about it, do a podcast about it, shop it to the media, and make a video based on it too.
Digital Media Analyst
Making sure your site performs well on mobile holds ever growing importance in 2015 as the number of mobile users continues to steadily grow. Creating engaging content that people actually want to read, and working towards building relationships via outreach and social media channels, is what is working in terms of getting your content shared and linked to.
Panda and Penguin are cracking down on poor/thin content and this will continue while Google gets more sophisticated in detecting poor content. The days of creating horrible content and doing well in search will be nearly impossible. Private blog networks (PBN), guest blogging on poor quality sites that take any guest post are days of the past. Google has made it one of their goals to deter webmasters from purchasing or acquiring these types of links. They are either ignored or even worse you can be penalized.
Public Relations Director
Our current SEO strategy is to create meaningful content for blogs and other such publications who provide us with links to our clients in return. It’s a one-hand-washes-the-other type of arrangement that seems to be working quite well actually. We also have adapted all of our websites to use a question and answer style formatting and copy writing. This not only improves the quality of the content, but it makes the page look better and it gives potential customers the information that they are looking for much quicker than a block of text.
SEO Team Lead
Content marketing has been the most effective SEO tactic for us in the past year. Content marketing is simply the practice of creating unique, high quality content for your niche and then promoting it to people who would be interested in it, who then link to it or share it on social media. This content can take the form or blog posts or resource articles that live on your site or guest posts on other high traffic blogs. The three pillars of SEO in my mind are On-Page Optimization, Content, and Link Building. If you already have your on-page stuff taken care of, then content marketing can help with both content and link building. As for what’s new, Google+ and Google Knowledge Graph cards are two new SEO developments that we have been working on that are starting to show some results.
Joseph Hirschhorn Howard
Director, Founding Partner
Blogging with high-quality content has become a staple of a great SEO campaign. It helps you develop an expertise in your industry as well as cover a broad range of topics and provide actionable information for visitors. Simply put, it allows you to attract more traffic as well as satisfy your website visitors. I would stay far away from comment links back to your website. This is a black-hat tactic frowned upon by Google. SEO is not about how you can game the system to get links, but how you can grow your user base, traffic, and conversions by creating a truly useful destination for your visitors.
In general, creating high quality non-duplicated content that is relevant to the page titles and your SEO friendly URLs are always going to be best practice. Where you start to improve traffic is when you start paying attention to the long-tail queries that are made on your website (found through Webmaster Tools) and then creating content around these queries. Rather than creating a new page around these queries, I would suggest starting a blog. Use the blog to address the long-tail queries which will allow visitors to subscribe to your blog thus the start of creating more traffic. Push the blog out on all social media platforms you/your company are active one, but make sure you don’t just post it once and then forget it. Test out some different titles. You may think that the title you have chosen is great, but your customer may not find it useful. This is where testing will help you out – rather than putting all your eggs in one basket, you’re allowing some ideas to fail and some to succeed!
Senior Digital Marketing Executive
I know many SEOs have cut out linkbuilding activity from their SEO strategies as a result of the Penguin update, however this is completely the wrong approach. Google only penalizes websites trying to game the system, not sites that have backlinks from quality, relevant sites. I’d highly recommend linkbuilding to anyone looking to see positive results from their SEO efforts. Of course, you need to be careful about the sites you get links from, but when done correctly, the gains definitely outweigh the risks. The Majestic Backlink Analyser plugin is good for this purpose, and provides a quick overview of whether a site is worth approaching for a backlink.
The one trick that has consistently worked for me is to treat offsite SEO as a PR or branding activity. That is how businesses became authorities in their respective industries before the search engine was invented, and is exactly where Google’s algorithm is headed as well. Things like directory links, guest posts, etc. are just
minor signal aberrations that may or may not work in the long term. What will consistently work is how you ‘brand’ your website/business. By investing in digital PR (which includes getting talked about in the media – without or without a link, regardless of a dofollow link, and on the social media), you can enhance the brand of your website and is exactly what will work regardless of what changes Google makes to their algorithm.
Senior Account Executive
MMI Public Relations
Search engines want to refer traffic to the websites most relevant to a user query. To increase your website’s relevancy, optimize web page descriptions, title tags, menu items, page text and the website’s theme. Offer a good user experience. Ask yourself the following questions: Can your audience find the information they seek in just a few clicks? Does your website have an unreasonably high bounce rate? Consider the authority of your website. Having your audience link back to your website and building relationships with other trusted websites that will cite or reference your content increase this authority. Assess your website’s performance. Is your website functional across multiple platforms? Does your website code load quickly?
For me the focus has spread from being about relevance and authority, to now include user-experience as well Google are placing value on websites that load within 1 second, and provide a mobile optimized experience. Therefore a well-designed responsive website is a must in 2015. Links are still vitally important, although they value quality over quantity now. SEO strategies should be focused on securing high value editorial links from authoritive sources. A good way to do this is using schemes such as ‘help a reporter’.
With the Panda and Penguin updates to Google’s algorithm, content is the key to successful SEO now more than ever. But rather than optimizing for particular keywords, content must be geared toward answering the question implicit in a user’s search query. So how can one achieve this practically? Do your keyword research, but prioritize the long-tail keywords and keep a laser focus on one question: What is the user’s intent behind this keyword?
For the last couple of months, we have been focusing our efforts on improving the rankings of our product pages. This includes large scale changes, like fixing canonical tags on the site, as well as on-page SEO, like replacing duplicate content from manufacturers with fresh, original content that is at least 500 words in length. We have been tracking the SERPs of these product pages for several weeks, and anywhere from 33 to 49% of them (depending on the week) have seen higher rankings. In addition to this, our organic traffic and organic conversions have gone up. I would definitely recommend eliminating as much duplicate content – and creating as much original content – as you are able. It does make a difference.
Once your long, quality content has been built, sharing it on all of the most traveled social media outlets is the next step. I will search for “top social media by traffic” and choose which outlets to engage based on traffic. Not only do you get backlinks for shares, likes, and follows, but you get a consistent stream of traffic if you are engaging an audience. I only post one item per month and still manage to get roughly 1,000 followers a month with my strategy, and these followers and their shares increase my search engine rankings.
First, creating a dedicated page for each target city eg. ‘Brisbane Hammocks’. These keywords are low competition (lower than ‘hammocks’) – easy targets. They also convert well. Second, creating backlinks to the most profitable city’s page, the one with low delivery costs and high profit margin. So the other cities will rank decently, but this city ranks best. Third, submitting to the top 20-30 local directories helps. 80% will be no follow, but they can still help your rankings in the local pack and map listings. The 20% with dofollow can help your organic rankings. Fourth, PR such as HARO/SourceBottle is a good addition to the directory listings since it adds diversity to your backlinks profile, making it appear more natural to Google.
John M. Crossman
Crossman & Company
A combination of things are working. Focused audience – We are constantly working on building our audience with people from our industry. We target them and specifically go after them. We also seek out their social media and like them. Combination of professional and personal – We post industry information and photos of company parties. People appreciate market insight and a personal touch. Multiple lines of communication working together – As a company, we use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. We leverage our website, PR, and industry events. Even more powerful, we leverage my personal social media. While my company has a significant social media platform, my personal social media platform is much larger. Because my last name and the company name are the same, we can leverage them significantly
Head – Marketing
Our company blogs drive a significant amount of traffic to the website. We do not currently write as often as we would like to, but still we are able to generate a lot of long tail keyword traffic from our posts. We ensure that our posts are intended towards our target audience by careful selection of the right themes and keyword focus. The other strategy that seems to kick-ass at generating quality organic traffic, is regular content contributions on high quality publications. I’m not sure of the SEO benefit it may be bringing, but it certainly generates a lot of referral traffic and builds authority and credibility for our brands.
I have a lot of clients with amazing websites, and what seems to really do the trick in SEO as of now is to include other prominent bloggers on posts, praising them (honest praise). Doing this makes them share the post with their audience, and sometimes they even write a post about it, or post something with your name back. Good relationships and networking with bloggers who you traditionally think of as competitors – that’s a great asset!
Summing it up
I was really impressed with a lot of the responses. As you can see, most people are fairly aligned on what is working in SEO in 2015. The majority of people recognize that content is playing an increasingly important role. In addition, thin content is really hurting websites. Finally, when it comes to mobile page speed and usability are key. Thank you to everyone who participated. If you didn’t get a chance to comment, please make sure to do so below.