The SEO landscape has changed dramatically over the past couple years, and Google has been at the center of it all. As we head into 2015, the online world is bringing a new era of search engine optimization, and we can only hope that search results get better.

If you have a website and haven't paid much attention to SEO, 2015 will be the year to really buckle down and come up with a strategy for improving your site's ranking in the search engines. While webmasters everywhere are scrambling to fix the problems that Google penalized them for this past year, this is your chance to implement a sound action plan that will increase traffic organically. As you devise an SEO strategy, take into consideration these predictions:

1. Anchor Text Will No Longer Matter

With a new Penguin update that rolled out on October 17th, Google has cracked down even harder on optimized anchor texts. You can still include keywords in your anchor text, but you are better off using generic text or brand names as anchors. Backlinks will still be important, but where these links come from will be more important than ever. Are the links coming from authority sites? Are the writers experts at what they're writing about?

2. Content Will Still Reign Supreme

The internet is full of content, but developing unique content will still be the main focus. The companies that tell compelling stories to connect with people will get more visitors, shares on social media, and subscribers. Bloggers will continue to be influential because of their first-person experiences and original content.

3. Social Signals Will Determine Search Engine Ranking

Links that are shared on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest already play a role in search results, but the person sharing these links and how influential they are will be important as well. If your site still doesn't have social share buttons for each article published, you may want to look at incorporating them. But be careful to use them gracefully, as they can impede performance.

4. Mobile Will Take Over

One of the reasons why keywords will no longer matter is because more people are doing online searches using mobile devices. According to a Nielsen Study, as of May, 2013, over 60% of the U.S. population now owns a smartphone, and the way people search using a smartphone differs from the way they search using a regular computer.  Many people also own tablets, so it's important to implement a responsive design and optimize your website for all mobile devices. Google has released the Mobile-Friendly Test to help you determine if your website is mobile friendly and to provide insights on how to make it mobile friendly should it not be. Once your site passes the test, you will achieve a 'Mobile Friendly' label alongside your listing in mobile search results.

5. Performance Will Play A Stronger Role In Ranking

With Google helping lead the performance movement and releasing tools such as PageSpeed Insights, it only makes sense that you will be rewarded if your website performs well. You will have increased traffic, which will lead to more page views, which leads to more sharing of content. We've worked hard over the past few months in order to achieve a 100/100 on Google's PageSpeed Insights.

6. Another Google Update

It won’t be long before Google will come out with another update that will make us cry. Google has been doing this since the beginning of the internet, so it should come as no surprise. Regardless, it will still be painful and we'll grow more grey hairs, but without all these changes, the internet would become stale and boring, right?

2015 will certainly pose new challenges for website owners and people working in the SEO industry. As long as you stay proactive with your search engine optimization efforts and continually produce excellent content that inspires people to share it on social media, you will have no problem driving organic traffic to your site.

Written By: Scott Whitehead