While you might consider beefing up your investments in content, you’ll also need to put some time and effort into learning the rules for SEO in 2016 in order to leverage those investments. Gone are the days are driving traffic to your site by packing your headlines with keywords, according to experts, and the new SEO strategy revolves around yet another marketing focus: experience.
Moz Inc., a Seattle-based SEO consulting company, conducted a study in August 2015 on the future of SEO, which found that the most important factors include:
Design and readability (increased 67%)
Usage data, including dwell time (increased 67%)
Analysis of a page’s perceived value (increased 81%)
Mobile-friendliness (increased 88%)
Factors that will likely decrease in impact in 2016 are the influence of anchor text (down 49%) and the effectiveness of paid links (down 55%). Here, we’ve compiled five SEO tips for 2016:
1. Intention is everything.
In the old days, SEO was about getting the click, but now, you don’t need an exact keyword to show up on relevant search result pages. Search engines are seeing how users are interacting with your company’s website such as whether they’re going back to the results page or if they’re finding the answers they need when they’re on your site. In 2016, it’s about the post-click activity. Not only do you need to get the clicks from your readers, but you also need to make sure you’re satisfying their intent.
2. Keywords aren’t the end-all and be-all.
Google has progressed to where it can interpret meaning better than it had in the past, so including keywords in headlines is not as important as it was in the past. It used to be that if you wanted to rank for “best nightclubs,” for example, you had to write “best nightclubs” at least three or four times in your content. While it’s still helpful to mention “best nightclubs,” the semantic meaning is becoming more important. You can discuss fantastic nightclub experiences, and Google and other search engines will pick up on it.
According to Martin Laetsch, the director of online marketing at Act-On Software Inc., 75% of search queries are three- to five-word phrases. As such, you should write your headlines accordingly. Since most people don’t get the results they want with two or three words, they often go to three-, four-, or five-word search queries instead.
3. Focus on your users’ experience.
It goes without saying that the more original your content is, whether it’s a video, image, or long-form content, anything you can create that will justify sharing or reading is best for your website. Listicle articles that list items in a “top five” format, for example, are often clickable, but use them sparingly. While people like to be able to quickly digest content, these types of articles don’t always bear much weight in terms of search results. You’ll need to make sure that the actual content is useful and makes sense.
The most important thing you can do for SEO in 2016 is to create an editorial calendar that appeals to your customers’ interests. Your content must be targeted to your audience and original, and if you curate content, give them an attribution and full credit, but feel free to add a paragraph or two in your own voice to tell your readers why you think it’s relevant.
4. Yes, size matters.
On average, articles between 1,200 and 1,500 words are better for search results and ranking purposes. This is a drastic change from two or three years ago, when 300 words was considered to be a long page. For competitive terms especially, longer articles are ranking higher in SEO and are getting more traffic. Make sure you break up long-form content with images, bullet points, and subheadings throughout the page to make it easy for your audience to quickly scan and digest the information.
5. Use unique images.
Although images aren’t a huge referral source in Google like they used to be, it’s valuable to have unique images on your site. Since the same picture can show up hundreds or thousands of times online, implementing unique content around those pictures can make your website stand out. While stock images can help to illustrate a point, any time you can use photography or create something that’s custom, you’ll find that the benefits are more likely to pay off in the long run.
Contact Schweb Design Today for More Information
Here at Schweb Design, we understand that one of the most important things you can for SEO in 2016 is to focus on your audience. In the past, it was about companies trying to promote products, services, and content that people wanted to see. Today, however, it’s about giving information and answers to questions people are asking that will give your brand the SEO ranking boost you’re seeking. It doesn’t matter how high you’re ranking if your audience visits your site and they aren’t happy with what they find. If you’re ready to get your site ranking and you’d like to learn more about implementing a new SEO strategy in 2016, contact us today at (717) 715-0993 to get started, and we’ll be more than happy to help.