SEO 2015 is the keyword of choice for new SEOs looking for tips and tricks in this new era. Almost everything has changed in the SEO arena since the inception of the field. The biggest change in 2015 is the promotion of reputation as a key ranking signal. Ranking algorithms are getting more and more complex and now they include a diverse set of social ad authority signals. The key to win in 2015 is to become an authority but, in order to do so, just must pick your niche very well. If you want to go straight to the checklist, click the image that follows:
1. On-Page SEO
1.1 Keyword Research
Try to find not only the best keywords, but also the least competitive ones among the attractive pack. I recommend using Traffic Travis, Wordtracker and the Adwords Keyword Planner for your daily duties.
1.2 Domain, Title & Meta Keywords
Even in the case of brandable domain names, consider getting one with your main keyword in it. This helps because most people will simply link to your website using your domain name and you need keywords in the link in other to rank for something other than your brand.
Choose a title that is catchy, includes your keyword and looks good on search results. It’s actually easier than it sounds but takes some getting used to. In the case of the meta keywords, go for less than a dozen and pick the most related keywords to each article. This is hard work but so is all of SEO in 2015 and beyond.
Go for longer pages, try 1000-1600 words. Remember we’re crafting the best pages on a subject, not TMZ articles. Gather information from several sources in order to present a 360-degree view on the subject and only include your keywords naturally.
1.4 For Latent Semantic Indexing
Your page must convey a to of meaning. It should be a destination for the subject your ranking for. Hence, consider creating sections for the major sub keywords relating the page’s main subject. In case you’re wondering what is Latent Semantic Indexing, just visit the link.
Your page must convey a to of meaning. So, take care of your images by making them accessible to everyone. This includes creating Title and ALT tags for every image. Be as descriptive as you can for the images and structure them for exploration on image search engines as well as for blind-user consumption (via aural browsers).
Increasingly more important, the key is to find good content to include in your page while making the text around the video point to its content. A quality indicator of web pages is descriptive text that allows the viewer to understand the content even if video doesn’t work on his machine. SEO 2015 and SEO 2016 will be increasingly about the video web. In 2018, video consumption will be the primary content distribution channel on the web.
Word on the street is that the speed score has been increased on Google’s algorithm. Make your site load as fast as possible and compare it to others in your niche. Use my guide Common Mistakes in Website Performance Optimization to gain the fastest possible website loading speed.
Authoritative content usually links to other authoritative sites in the form of references. Doing so decreases the page rank passed by the page but increases your on-page ranking power, so use accordingly.
1.9 Content Age
Include the date of publication as well as any subsequent revision date. Make sure to update key pages on your website every year.
1.11 Social Media
One of the most important features of Google Plus is its authorship system. The idea is that an author can build rank and trust (called Author Rank) based on the content they write all over the web. Google already has a way to determine your expertise at those subjects and it is only getting smarter in how it ranks authors and their content. For instance, if your content is constantly +1’ed and shared, it will be a strong signal that the content you create is of high quality and offers plenty of value.
In 2015, AuthorRank and social media signals are more important for ranking than almost anything else. Your reputation and social media link profile are the two strongest signals of the quality of your content.
1.12 Mobile Experience
The web is mobile first. I repeat, the web is mobile first. Your site must be responsive and load fast even on 3G smartphones. Test your site on a variety of mobile devices and optimize the mobile experience as much as you can within your budget. This should not only benefit your SEO but also your CRO (conversion rate optimization).
1.13 Secondary Factors
Italicize or bold your keywords (it’s pretty old school but works). Also consider changing your unimportant links to nofollow and includes multiple images. The main idea is to create a resource that your visitors will love and share.
1.14 General Guidelines for Page Quality Ratings
It’s become typical for Google or someone else to leak these “page quality guidelines” on a yearly basis now. “Search Quality Evaluators” are trained using this very document and these guidelines can be of great use to seasoned as well as new entrants into the SEO field. The links to download or print the document are below the snippet (the full document is 160 pages). I suggest you read this document at least a couple of times in order to get a feel of what a great web page is all about.
2. Off-Page SEO
It’s more than just links now, with the search engine game getting more and more complex. Now it’s a game of authority, relevance, freshness and reputation than anything else. Sure you still need links, but what can serve you best is getting authoritative links. These are my best tips to get links from top publications and pundits:
2.1 Link Profile
Contribute to top publications and social hubs so your link profile includes incoming votes from Reddit, Pinterest and other highly regarded social networks. If your PR agent can get you an interview on Forbes consider answering queries for HARO of a similar service. Invest in building a link profile that is varied, filled with top publications and very natural.
2.2 Social Signals
Follow the leaders of your industry of to the point when you can become one. While following them, explore what the audience likes and keep a log of your most retweeted content, etc. Doing this will make your posts more liked over time and you’ll achieve links in the social media profile of your audience.
2.3 Educational Signals
Links from encyclopedias, educational institutions and government matter ten times as much. Consider doing guess posts for institutional leaders and seek to be included in top-of-the-line directories.
2.4 Press Releases
In my experience, it helps for page rank but not for much else. It helps build your brand and creates a nice journal that the press can use to talk about you. However, don’t expect to rank for competitive keywords just submitting press releases.
Consider making widgets or embeddables to boost your presence on the Internet. Make sure your keywords are included on the bottom of these widgets and promote them accordingly.
2.6 Content Syndication
Distribute your content as articles, commentary for the press or free reports. Think of this as syndication of your efforts. Just pick a dozen very high-quality websites and syndicate on a regular basis.
2.7 Video Production
There are many ways to produce video content in a cost-effective manner while gaining coveted links from Youtube and the like. Do your research here.
2.8 Enterprise SEO Tools
Use enterprise SEO Tools in order to guide your efforts and monitor results. Follow this Buyer’s Guide and pick the best solution for your company. This report answers the following questions: What trends are driving the adoption of enterprise SEO software? Who are the leading players in enterprise SEO software? What capabilities does enterprise SEO software provide? Does my company need SEO software? And, how much does SEO software cost?
3. Additional Resources
SEO in 2015 is highly demanding and competitive. In order to win, never stop learning, keep reading and discovering new techniques. Refer to these documents in order to further your understanding of on and off page SEO:
2. Google’s General Guidelines for Page Quality 2014