5 Strategies to Improve Your Local Search Rankings in 2015
Despite the many changes that Google has introduced to its search algorithm in 2014, there are still a number of highly effective SEO techniques that are working now and will continue to work in 2015.
Good Enough Content is no Longer Good Enough
Content is truly King, and is unlikely to be toppled from the throne anytime soon. With so much riding on the quality of your content, you simply can’t afford to produce anything less than excellent content that delivers value with every single sentence. Articles that provide readers with fresh insight into relevant topics will help establish you as the trusted authority with your audience. What’s more, excellent content gives Google the incentive to rank your web pages above those of your competitors who offer little value to the user.
Use Hummingbird-friendly Keyword Phrases
You need to think less about keywords and more about the conversational phrases that users are likely to use when searching for products and services in your niche. Your list of conversational search phrases should be sorted into categories that match
- Informational search queries. Phrases in this category are geared to providing information and answering questions.
- Navigational search queries. Your matching phrases should be directed at the user who is looking for your brand or product name.
- Transactional search queries. These phrases should match the buying intent of the query. Your phrases should include words such as buy, reviews, hire, or coupon.
Focus on High-quality Links
Inbound links will continue to be an important factor in search engine ranking and your emphasis should be on quality over quantity. Three types of links are particularly valuable, and should be the focus of your link building efforts in 2015.
Editorial links – These links are earned based on the quality of your content, and should be coming from authoritative sites relevant to your niche. Identify the best third-party sites serving your niche, write excellent content that resonates with the interests of the audience, and share your published posts across your social media channels.
Co-citation links – Whenever a link to your website is featured alongside those of your competitors or similar authoritative web resources, your site is enhanced by association in the eyes of Google. Conduct a Google search for “top 10” or “best of” lists relevant to your niche and make sure that your brand is included. If it isn’t, contact the publisher and request that your company be added. You can improve your chances of being included by offering suggested text that conforms to the style and tone of the list.
Broken links – Examine your competitor’s link profiles and compile a list of the authoritative sites that are linking to them. Look for any broken links coming from each of those third-party sites and offer to substitute a quality article (with a link to your site) for any broken links you find.
Clean Up Your Website
Replace dynamic URLs on your web pages with static URLs that include your targeted keywords and feature descriptive text that gives the user a better idea of what your page is all about. Make sure that each of your pages is properly optimized with descriptive title, meta, and image tags. Search for and fix any broken links and 404 errors.
Get Your Website Mobile Optimized
An estimated 43 percent of searches are made with a mobile device, and mobile search is expected to overtake desktop search in 2015. Google recently introduced mobile-friendly labels for qualifying sites and is expected to begin rewarding mobile friendly sites with better rankings in the near future. A website properly optimized for easy access and viewing across all mobile devices is an absolute necessity if your business is to remain competitive in the digital marketplace.