Search Engine Optimization as an industry will surely evolve in 2016. Every year lots of changes are being done in the algorithm, strategies and different updates from google…So this year something new seems to shake up the scene and force us to reevaluate our priorities.
Local SEO will evolve further
Google drastically changed the way that local results are calculated, and business owners and Local SEOs all across the country collectively freaked out. Google is putting significant effort into local search.
In 2015 was the introduced the local 3-pack, it’s clear that mobile behavior is having a huge impact on how Google is approaching local search.Whether we like Pigeon or not, it’s a part of the game now, and we all have to adapt.
In 2016, you’ve got to be a jack of all trades if you want to succeed in Local SEO.
Content is the king
You still need quality backlinks, quality content, and optimized pages. Using a proper strategy for your content distribution, your content is more likely to gain traction; through social shares, links and through increased search rankings.
Creating useful and well-optimized content that is deeper in subject matter expertise about any given subject is the key, but so is having a plan in place for getting that content in front of a wider audience.
The key to high rankings in 2016 is publishing long-form, comprehensive content that meets the needs of users. Above all, it must provide value.
Authority building still occurs off-site; to build a reputation, you still need off-site signals like inbound links, social signals, and reviews.
Social media will become more important for search visibility : You will need to carefully heed and embrace the upcoming trends in the world of social media to stay ahead in the game. Greater social signals (such as users sharing your content or interacting with your brand) can help you rank higher, but for the most part social media serves as a great external channel to generate more inbound traffic for your site.
The fundamentals of performing keyword research have not changed. We still want to find words and phrases that our prospects are using to seek out our business and products. There are a variety of ways we can do this effectively:
- Using keyword research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, SEMrush and Searchmetrics’ Keyword Analysis tool to find popular keywords and phrases that aren’t hyper-competitive.
- Analyzing your website analytics to find out which keywords are already generating traffic and sales. You can use this data to find new, related keywords, or to build additional content based on these terms.
- Looking at your competitors’ top-ranking pages to determine which keywords they’re targeting
- Focusing on long-tail keywords as natural language search becomes more popular and pervasive.
So, if this one-to-one relationship between specific keywords, user queries and search rankings is gone (or at least significantly diminished), how does on-page SEO work in 2016? Without keywords, which on-page strategies and tactics are still relevant?
Following are some key findings from the report, along with how you can incorporate them into your own content.
Word Count: We have known for some time that Google shows a preference for longer, more comprehensive content. According to the report, the average word count for top-ranking content is in the range of 1,140-1,285 words.
When creating content, focus on providing comprehensive coverage of your topic, rather than writing shorter content that only brushes the surface of your topic.
Proof and relevant terms: These are terms that support and ‘prove’ relevance to the main topic of your content. Using them indicates to Google and to your readers that you’re comprehensively covering the topic. Proof terms are words and phrases that essentially must be used for a particular topic; for instance, ‘search’ will almost always be used when writing about ‘SEO’. Relevant terms, on the other hand, are words that are often used alongside a primary keyword in order to provide holistic coverage of the topic. When discussing ‘SEO’, relevant words might be ‘Google’, ‘Panda’ or ‘rankings’. Years ago, SEO professionals used the term “LSI Keywords” (Latent Semantic Indexing) to refer to these types of keywords, but it isn’t used lately anymore.
Keywords within content: Keywords should still be incorporated into your content; especially in the title, header and subheaders, introduction paragraph, and conclusion paragraph. Overall, according to the Searchmetrics report, top-ranking pages saw an increase in the total number of keywords used in the body of the text; however, this did not apply to the very highest-ranking pages. Continue to use your desired keywords throughout your content.
Internal links: According to the report authors, the number of links you include in your content isn’t as important as optimizing your overall link structure: “What counts is not the total number of internal links, but rather the optimization of the internal structure and page information so that the user (and also the search engine) is optimally guided through the provider’s content and to ensure that the user stays on the page and is satisfied.”
Use of header and meta-tags: 99% of top 10 pages had a meta-description, and 80% used an H1 tag. While the meta-description won’t necessarily help your content rank higher, it does act as a sort of ‘ad copy’ in the search engine results (SERPs). As much as possible, ensure your H1 tags and descriptions are unique and accurately describe the main topic of your page.
Google recently announced that more searches happen on mobile devices than on desktop devices. So if you ignore mobile optimization, you potentially alienate over half your site’s visitors
File size and site speed: Not surprisingly, these are both important factors for ranking in mobile search. Mobile pages need to load quicker, and should be smaller in size than their desktop counterparts.
Mobile-friendly format and structure: Because mobile users are often accessing the web while ‘on the go’, your content should be structured in a way that makes it easy to read and understand.
The best technique for SEO is link building (getting valued and relevant sites linking back to your own- kind of like a reference).
It can be next to impossible to create a site, enhance the search engine discovery of it and then expect to find your site listed on the first page of google (or even the top four results).
Such results come with time, great linking networks, exceptional content and large volumes of traffic. These are metrics that google will read from your site and as a result will rank your page higher as a credible website relevant to the target content in its search engine.
Instead only building links, business owners and marketers should be working towards earning links through publishing high-quality content.
While the significance of links as a ranking factor is changing, they remain a significant ranking factor. In a recent analysis performed by Moz and BuzzSumo, they were able to identify the content types that are most likely to accumulate a high number of links. These are:
- Research-backed content
- Opinion forming journalism
- Long form content over 1,000 words
- List posts (‘listsicles’)
- Why’ & ‘How’ posts
Here are some of trends that people are talking about for 2016:
1) Using structure tags for mobile support
2) Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
3) Real Time Panda Algorithm
4) Bigger knowledge graph for google
5) Deep links will become highly important
6) Local search to become more relevant
7) The popularity of voice search
8) Unethical and negative SEO practices will not be qualified
9) Content curation will replace content aggregation
10) High Quality Content
11) Higher Google ranks no longer mean more organic clicks
12) Rich answers are on the increase — that’s both a threat and an opportunity
13) Page speed is utterly important — optimize it today, don’t put it off till tomorrow
14) Tracking your organic traffic with Google Analytics gets even more difficult
15) Keywords are neither dead nor dying — they are still the basis of your SEO campaign