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SEO and SEM predictions and tips for 2015

James A. Martin | Jan. 29, 2015
The coming year promises to be an eventful, and potentially challenging, one for search marketers. These SEO and SEM experts share predictions on the big search trends and offer tips on how to prepare for and take advantage of them.

Search Results Get Personal
Devices will increasingly integrate "passive listening" in order to predict search queries and intent, and to deliver the most relevant results, says Justin Emig, search marketing manager, Web Talent Marketing. Emig cites Amazon's Echo and Google Now cards as two examples of passive listening technologies that will drive the delivery of more personalized search results.

"Google will also place a heightened focus on answering consumer queries directly from the search results pages," according to Emig. Websites that employ structured data markup and rich snippets, and that optimize for the kinds of questions Google Now users ask, will benefit from this trend.

Marketers Shift Dollars to 'Less-Crowded' Platforms
>"The top search marketing trend to watch out for in 2015 would be marketers shifting a lot of their budget to untapped, less crowded and unconventional platforms," says Taruna Manchanda, digital marketer, Wingify Software Pvt. Ltd. Bing Ads will become a stronger player in search marketing as a result of this trend, according to Manchanda. "Even though Bing's traffic volume is low, this leads to lower competition and less costs" for digital campaigns. Marketers can purchase leads on Bing for half the price of leads on Google AdWords, Manchanda says.

Video Advertising Accelerates
Video advertising on sites such as YouTube "is still less competitive and comparatively cheaper" than other forms of online ads, but it offers a lot of potential for raising brand awareness and increasing conversion rates, according to Manchanda. For example, video viewers may experience your brand for 30 to 60 seconds, compared to a 5- to 10-second glance at search or display ads.

SEO and SEM Tips for 2015
Ensure Your Website Design is Responsive, Mobile-Friendly
"If your budget is tight, I recommend at least having a few responsive landing pages designed specifically for your pay-per-click (PPC) traffic," says Anthony Myers, founder, Preeminent Productions. "If you're not actively running any PPC campaigns, find out what your best converting pages are. These are the pages that organic traffic is landing on and converting visitors to leads or customers. Have your three to five best pages redesigned to be responsive. And make sure to offer a great user experience for small screens. Even if you're not displaying the full content [of your desktop site], get visitors intrigued enough with your mobile site to leave their email addresses. Use a call to action like: 'We know you're on the go, so let us email you the full version to read at home later.'"

Test Your Website's Mobile-Responsiveness
You can use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to "diagnose any areas where your Web pages aren't meeting best practices for mobile," says WikiJob's Rice. "Aim to have all your pages labeled with the 'mobile-friendly' snippet, to differentiate your pages from competitors and gain an advantage in click-through rate from search. Also, be mindful of the rise of voice search, and how people will phrase queries differently on mobile and expect concise, location-based answers to their questions."


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