It is simply not enough to have a well-designed web site; you need to promote it vigorously to make a mark in today’s highly competitive world. SEO is set to have new, exciting developments in 2015, and marketers need to gear up if they don’t want to miss the bus. There are going to be several changes and new strategies that need to be adopted to improve website page rankings, which will automatically lead to increased traffic being diverted your way. Google will be even more vigilant and emphasize on its algorithms that are set to have new, challenging parameters, as the existing ones have been circumvented by deploying devious, though clever techniques. It is better to follow White Hat SEO in order to avoid being penalized, and this is possible only if you follow some smart tips. Here are a few that should help your site fare well this year. #1. Semantic search Gone are the days where there was standard content with a generous sprinkling of keywords that were inserted cleverly. Writing, merely for the sake of it no longer works like magic. Keywords still play a vital role though, however it pays to inculcate the latest trends and practices. Semantic search is one such tactic, which is actually more like long-tail keyword-search. The search engine is intelligent enough to sense a search for a long query that pinpoints what the user is looking for. Semantic search is highlighted in exceptional content that throws up precise information in response to any search query. Forbes believes that Semantic is the key to marketing this year. Under semantic search, the search engines try to understand the intent of the user before presenting the search results. This is opposed to finding keywords on webpages with respect to the search query that happened a few years before. The Hummingbird update launched by Google was a big step in providing location relevant semantic based search results before the end user. For a website looking to leverage the power of semantic search, it is important to segment your overall marketing strategy and make it as locally relevant as possible. Thinking about topics and not relying just on keywords would be the strategy to follow. #2. Outsmart the others No one can deny that content is king even today. Great content always holds the interest of users. Hence, look out for exceptional content and try to create something as good, if not better. Promote such content vigorously, and you are bound to reap results. Take the cue from this technique and you can create compelling content that can be published with confidence. Think about creating evergreen content that can serve as link baits and fetch you some great backlinks. This is one of the best ways to outsmart your competition. Creating evergreen content is not easy, it requires creativity, patience, time and hard work but in the long run, it is bound to give you best results. #3. Neighborhood is important Search Engine Land has emphasized the importance of not ignoring small businesses dotting the neighborhood through its Pigeon Update of 2014. Users may be looking for specific products or services and would appreciate ratings, listings and images that help them decide faster. Moreover, people will be used to local listings like the ones on Yelp that help with improved ranking. Although Google is yet to recognize Pigeon, it was launched by Search Engine Land and helps marketers understand the intricacies of how Google has perfected searches. For local businesses it is important to maintain a strong local presence by making use of local listing on the popular business listing sites. Citations are an extremely important component of the Google algorithm and will surely impact the overall search presence of local business websites. #4. Relevant and prominent keywords Keyword is an integral part of content from a marketers’ point of view, and hence has to be relevant and fit in snugly in the content. At the same time, the keywords have to be prominent enough to be noticed, lest their very purpose is lost. It pays to follow the basic rules of keyword prominence that include keywords figuring in the title, body and tags. Another golden rule is to never exceed the prescribed ratio of keyword usage. Usage of keywords in a user friendly manner is the strategy to follow. Search engines like Google have become smart enough to understand where the keyword levels go beyond a certain readability level and count it under spam. A single time keyword usage in the important area of the webpage like the H1 tag and the title tag will give you more benefits than repeating them again and again in the entire content area. Adding long tail variations of prominent keywords or synonyms is another great strategy to follow. #5. Keep up with the times Staying ahead of the competition helps generate revenues. The content that figures on your site needs to be up-to-date, and you cannot afford to have content that is old and almost useless in today’s context. Information has to be current and at your fingertips in order to hold the attention of the users. One great way to ensure that your site carries the latest in the form of content would be by newsjacking it, which is nothing but using hot news and happening events to your advantage. It would be a great idea to give some importance to authors by giving a byline or creating an online profile as Google uses its search algorithm to rank authors according to the quality of their content. Google always try to present the best and genuine search results before the users. Think about health related queries and if you find any inaccurate information returned by Google then will you trust it as an end user? Google knows this fact very well and this is the reason, it emphasizes a lot on returning only authoritative search results. To gain authority in your niche, you need time and effort both. Audience is the main key that can make your brand authoritative. Each year brings new developments and changes and it is important for marketers to keep up with the updates. The above points should give a rough idea about how marketing companies can keep ahead of competition in today’s highly competitive environment. Images: ”Hipster Writing SEO Concepts on his Note/Shutterstock.com“ ______________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. 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