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When it comes to selling online, there’s a whole checklist of important to-do’s before you scale to success. From design to check out to product delivery, online store owners must make sure each and every customer interaction with their brand is as convenient and seamless as possible.

Of course, before any experience can be had, that customer has to be able to find your store first – and this is where SEO comes in.

In the past, websites optimized for keywords first and quality later. However, as Google’s algorithms continue to change, sites have begun optimizing for quality and social shares. SEO is an ever-changing beast that way, and 2015 will be no different. In fact, 2015 may see SEO’s biggest best practices upheaval yet, as mobile search takes precedence over that of desktop.

The big SEO trends in 2015 for small businesses are going to be mobile SEO and local SEO.

What does this mean for your online store? That’s a great question, and one we fielded over to SEO expert Simon Serrano, SEO manager at Bigcommerce. According to Simon, SEO in 2015 will be focused on two big trends currently disrupting the small business SEO ecosystem. And online small businesses better get ready now.

What do you anticipate will be the biggest SEO trends in 2015, particularly in relation to businesses with 500 or fewer employees?

The biggest SEO trends in 2015 for small businesses are going to be 1) mobile SEO and 2) local SEO.

Google is focused on optimizing for mobile search and expects search queries from mobile devices to outpace those coming from desktops in 2015. Therefore, every business should make sure they have an amazing mobile version of their site that is fully SEO optimized and provides a great user experience. Sites who continue to use a desktop version of their site for mobile users are going to start seeing their mobile rankings drop.

Local SEO has already gained one update in 2014 via Pigeon and as mobile searches increase, local searches are going to increase as well. Making sure that your site is listed and optimized to show in Google’s local results will be key to maximizing visibility on mobile-local searches.

Do you believe SEO best practices will change as a result of these trends?

Because of the smaller screen sizes on mobile devices, we may see SEO best practices change in regards to title tag lengths, descriptions and on-page content.

What’s your best advice for small businesses that want to maintain or improve their search engine rankings in 2015?

Claim your Google Business listing. This will help ensure you show up on local searches.  Also make sure you understand the changes that took place with the Pigeon update.

Make sure your site is ready for mobile by modifying your site’s design so that it is responsive and mobile-friendly. Some website builder and ecommerce platforms already offer mobile-friendly, responsive designs and templates, making setup a breeze.

For more SEO advice for 2015, drop your questions in the comment thread below.

Photo: Flickr, Robert Scoble

Leave a Comment
  • Thanks for the info. Undoubtedly Local and Mobile SEO are going to be prominent like never before. But I am more curious to know about the content marketing. That’s the most powerful SEO weapon.

    My question is how to generate quality links through Content Marketing?

  • Dena Lawless

    I’m personally very happy that Google changed it’s algorithm for quality purposes – content should be quality first, helping to solve a problem for someone – great post Tracey!

  • Simon Serrano

    For brands that are online-only, Google recommends creating a brand page instead.

    Brands, organizations, artists and other online-only businesses should create a brand page instead of a local page. Brand pages follow the Google+ page content guidelines. Learn more about the difference between brand and local pages

    Via Google business listing guidelines: https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177?hl=en&ref_topic=4540086

  • Simon Serrano

    Hi ROn, just get ahold of a smartphone and go to your site. If you see the same experience as you do on a desktop computer, then your store is probably not mobile ready. If you see a different layout with touch-friendly buttons and text that fits itself to your screen size, then you are most likely using a mobile friendly design.

    Additionally, you can also go to Google.com on a mobile device and search for your site using the ‘site:’ operator. Just go to Google.com and search for “site:yourstore.com” and replace yourstore.com with your actual store domain name (ie. site:amazon.com). On the results page, if Google places a small, grey text label next to your site’s description saying “Mobile-Friendly”, then you are good to go.

    If it does not say “Mobile-Friendly” next to your site, then you may want to look into updating your store’s design to use a mobile theme. Bigcommerce has tons of free and premium themes that are mobile friendly.

  • Simon Serrano

    Hi Barbara,

    Local SEO may not make sense for everyone, either because a store owner doesn’t have a physical location to list or because users don’t perform localized searches. In your case, I would do some keyword research to determine if location is a major component in your product category. You can identify these searches because they usually have some sort of location based keyword appended to them, such as “pandora charms boston” or if they are looking for a local location in their area, such as “Your store name boston”. If you find that there is not a lot of searches for location based keywords, then you can probably skip creating a local business listing. If you do find a lot of location based keywords for your products and/or store name, then it’s probably time to start thinking about opening a physical location.

    DON’T FAKE IT
    I would not use a fake address, PO Box or UPS store address or any other address than your actual store location as mentioned below. Remember, this address will show up on a local search result listing when users search for your business, often times with a street-view image of the location as well. If you list a location or address that is not yours or belongs to a different business, users may think that you have closed down or are not a credible business. Either way, it’s a bad experience for a potential future customer.

  • Melissa Luhrman

    What about if you are in Australia?

  • ROn

    Hi, how do I know if my BigCommerce site is mobile ready?

  • Old World Gourmet

    Try using a ups store mail box address. All UPS stores have an actual address rather than a PO box

  • Question regarding Google Local SEO: What’s the suggested protocol for a home-based online business without a brick & mortar? We don’t want or need folks coming up our driveway expecting to find a store or showroom. Our BC website is responsive, so we’re good on that point. Thanks!

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