2015 is almost here and it’s time to think about your SEO budget and other fiscal priorities. Companies are mapping out their marketing budgets for the coming year. It’s no secret that businesses are placing stronger emphasis on improving their digital profile and connecting with customers online. Recent data suggests that over two-thirds of executives expect an increase in their digital marketing spend for 2015. While increases are anticipated across the board, SEO remains one of the key components of every digital marketer’s toolkit. One major change – the emphasis on mobile – is at the heart of expected increases.
The Shift Towards Voice Search
Over the last two years, there has been a critical shift in the way consumers are using search engines. More mobile users are turning to platforms like Google’s Voice Search instead of relying on traditional computer-based search methods to find what they’re looking for online. The move towards voice search has two important implications for companies. The first is that potential customers are more likely to use a conversational tone in their searches, as opposed to taking the time to think about the best possible query to obtain the search results they want. For example, a mobile user might use voice search to ask their phone a question like, “Is there a vegetarian restaurant nearby?” But if they were to type out a traditional search query, it would likely be something along the lines of, “Vegetarian restaurant Boston.”
As more mobile users are making the switch towards voice search, companies are responding by modifying their SEO strategies accordingly. Google’s Hummingbird update was intricately tied to this change. In 2015, there will be a larger emphasis on long tail keyword strategies that are developed around speech as opposed to traditional keyword queries. Companies are allocating a portion of their marketing spend to keep up with the changing search landscape and ensuring that their content and search optimization techniques focus on mobile technology.
Enhancing the Search Experience for Mobile Users
In the past year, Google has placed a strong focus on improving the search experience for mobile users. Recently, the Google team has added ‘mobile usability’ to their list of features in Webmaster Tools. Site owners can access the mobile usability feature to see whether or not their site is well optimized for the smaller screen. The emphasis on mobile makes sense, as an estimated one-quarter of all searches are conducted from mobile devices and that number is only expected to increase.
Given this, it was only a matter of time before mobile usability became a key component of companies’ search marketing strategies. Sites that offer a poor user experience for mobile searchers are already incurring penalties from Google, while others that have taken the time to ensure that pages function well on the small screen will likely see a boost in their rankings moving forward. Improving your mobile optimization includes everything from evaluating content to ensuring that your website design looks good on a variety of devices.
Many companies have read the writing on the wall and are responding by stepping up their efforts with regards to mobile search in 2015. Businesses are placing a stronger emphasis on improving mobile usability, making sure that pages are rendering well across devices and sites are easy to navigate. Site owners are relying on guidelines provided by Google’s Webmaster Tools to ensure that mobile users have the best possible experience when visiting their company websites. As a result, SEO spending is increasing and money is being reallocated to modify traditional site designs for the smaller screen.
Changing search trends and mobile are affecting many companies’ search marketing budgets for the coming year. As the landscape shifts towards voice search and improved mobile usability, businesses are increasing their SEO spending to secure their position in search rankings. Long tail keyword strategies focused on natural speech and enhancing mobile usability will likely be the top priorities for many digital marketers as we move into 2015.
Are you a small business owner thinking about next year’s marketing? Contact us today to learn more about how our expert team can assist you in developing a plan that takes the latest changes in digital marketing into account when planning your 2015 SEO budget.