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Biggest Changes to SEO This Year That Will Change How You Do Your Job [INFOGRAPHIC]

How is Google fine-tuning its search algorithms? How can your brand keep ahead of the pack by anticipating or responding to these changes?

An infographic from Executive SEO Inc. explores the way SEO has changed in the past year.

Optimization for Mobile Traffic

“Many have been predicting that mobile traffic would exceed desktop traffic, and in 2014, that’s exactly what happened,” the infographic reads. “The percentage of organic traffic from mobile devices continues to increase.  As a direct result of that, Google has been placing increasing importance on mobile-friendly sites and has been penalizing sites that lead to errors for mobile users.”

Takeaway: Make sure your site it optimized for mobile.

Focus Has Switched from Keyword Rankings to ROI Metrics

Though many companies are less interesting in how they rank for certain keywords, they are becoming more interested in the ROI of their investment in social media marketing and SEO. The bottom line is: how much money is being made by the investment put into these two efforts?

Though there is a lot of desire to measure social and SEO ROI, most companies don’t know how to do it yet. “Almost 4 out of 5 surveyed are not currently able to track their email ROI,” according to the infographic. “Only 44% of companies say they can measure paid search ROI effectively.”

The Importance of Brand Mentions

“Brand mentions and implied links are less likely and less easy to be manipulated than direct, keyword-focused links,” according to the infographic. “Google is starting to place more emphasis on brand mentions, so they will eventually become just as important as direct links to sites.”

On top of that, over 80% of B2B marketers say their top goal in social media is increased brand awareness.

The Demise of Google+

“Although social media experts have pushed businesses to have a Google+ presence, and in particular, Google Authorship, Google has ended the Authorship program and will be dismantling Google+,” according to the infographic. “Google+ will be split into three parts, and Streams will become the newsfeed-like service.  Businesses will likely go back to other social media platforms, such as Facebook. The SEO implications? Definitely a shift in social media platform weighting/importance attribution.”

Focus on Building Relationships Instead of Creating Content

“Simply creating content is no longer enough to maintain a loyal following.  It is now necessary to reach out to bloggers and influencers to continue to spread the brand information,” according to the infographic. “ However, more connections are not necessarily better, as the quality of those connections is more important.”

Take away: Influencer marketing anyone? This is a way of building a web of interrelationships. Also, you can never have customer service that is too good.

SEO is Becoming Integrated with Marketing, Rather Than its Own Department

“SEO, social media, and marketing are merging together with a common goal to promote the business,” according to the infographic. “Dedicated SEO consultants will likely be phased out in the future.  Many PR agencies are picking up on the trend and are now offering SEO services to companies. In fact, 72% of PR agencies now offer SEO services.”

A More Focused Social Media Approach

“It’s important to locate where your customers actually are online and put the effort there. Social media is no longer just a means of customer service, but it is a marketing channel,” according to the infographic. “Concentrating on just two or three social platforms can build a loyal audience. 78% of companies have a dedicated social media team, only 26% fully integrate social media into business strategy.”

Earned Links are More Valuable

“Earned links, particularly citations from respected publishers, will improve SEO. Quality content is one of the most important aspects to earning links, along with choosing the audience carefully,” according to the infographic. “Blogging is the most recognized method of quality content, for a targeted audience. Companies that blog, and regularly create purposeful content, get much more earned links.”

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