2015 has arrived, and with SEO techniques evolving so quickly we can be sure that the year will bring some major changes. It’s impossible to be completely sure what those behind the search engines have in the pipeline for 2015, but here are a few predictions that you might want to consider when you’re optimising your website for success:
The ever-increasing importance of mobile optimisation
More and more people are using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to search for, and view, websites. By mid-2014, 60% of online traffic came from mobile devices. Websites in today’s online world need to be responsive. If your website isn’t easy to browse on a mobile phone then you won’t just miss out on visitors and conversions – you’re also likely to also miss out on those top search engine places in 2015. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check what the search engine thinks of your site.
The improved understanding of images
In early December it was announced that CAPTCHA codes would be wiped out in favour of a new ‘I am not a robot’ system. The reason? Computers have learned to read text within images. In the past, it was possible to hide text in a picture so that search engines couldn’t see it – not always the most white hat of techniques, but potentially valuable when used properly. Now it’s better to assume that search engines can read your images, and (as the need to change the CAPTCHA process proves) that complicated and hard-to-read fonts won’t fool them.
A focus on social signals
Search engines are looking for recommendations and interactivity. Social signals are becoming increasingly important, so you’ll want to be on social networking sites and to have clear links to your social profiles on your business website. Just creating a profile won’t be enough, so make sure that you’re regularly using social media to talk to and interact with other people.
Secure encryption will matter
Google announced recently that website security levels are going to affect rankings in 2015. SSL certificates may encourage search engines to rank websites in better positions. You can buy SSL certificates for your website, but bear in mind that this change will be one of the more complicated changes to implement.