It’s no secret that SEO is constantly evolving, so it can be tough to keep up with the latest trends and then analyze those trends to decide which are going to be most important. If you want to have successful SEO in 2015, however, this is unfortunately one of the most important things to consider about your strategy. Being prepared for some of these trends and anticipating what’s to come is part of what will set you above your competition.

Fortunately, 2015 is full of some pretty bold trends, meaning they’re easy to spot. If you have still been scrambling to try and perfect the already-existing aspects of your SEO strategy, don’t sweat it. Many of the trends this year are easy to understand and implement.

Top 5 Trends to Understand in 2015 for Successful SEO

Below are 5 of the top trends in the SEO industry this year and how you can react:

1. Semantic search hits a high point.

Semantic search is a way that Google is trying to interpret the meaning of search queries as opposed to just looking at keywords. In other words, they look at the context around different keywords as well as synonyms that go along with different terms. Now that Google is starting to look at content this way, it’s important you optimize your content with this in mind. This actually makes keyword research even more important because you should be focusing on synonyms and conversation phrases that people might actually type into the search box.

2. Mobile SEO and responsive web design grows.

On April 21, Google is set to roll out a mobile algorithm change that is said to affect more people than any Panda or Penguin update we’ve seen. They have spent countless months warning Webmasters to prepare by using a responsive web design and making sure their mobile presence is easy for users. You can learn more about creating a mobile strategy here.

3. Earned links and link building will focus more on brand mentions.

This also means that building authoritative relationships will become more important. It’s all about quality over quantity of links this year. You have to actually earn your links and get natural brand mentions as opposed to using keyword-rich anchor text or plugging links into articles for SEO purposes only. I recommend using Google+ Ripples to find influencers as well as really engaging with authoritative websites to try and establish a connection. The more connections and relationships you have, the more natural links you should earn.

4. ROI metrics > keyword rankings.

2015 is going to put a big focus on adjusting your analytics to focus on ROI as opposed to just rankings. After all, rankings don’t mean much if they aren’t leading to some type of engagement, so companies are going to start spending more time following a visitor’s path to purchase and optimize pages along the way to improve ROI.

5. SEO will now include more video.

In a more general sense, SEO will put a focus on types of content different than your traditional text content. This includes infographics, polls and surveys, videos, interviews, etc. According to FunnelScience, landing pages with video lead to 800% more conversion, and MistMedia reports that 88% of visitors stay longer on a site with prominent video displayed. This is only expected to grow in 2015, so having an optimized YouTube channel and then posting those videos on your website can help you keep up with your competition and keep people on your page longer.

The Takeaway

The truth is that some of these trends have actually been trends for quite some time, it’s only now getting down to the nitty-gritty. In other words, it’s only now that these trends are becoming so crucial to understand and implement. If you want to stay close with your competition, it’s important not to fall behind on what’s to come.