7 Keys to SEO in 2016
2015 has concluded; 2016 is here! This time makes as much sense as any to consider what changes make sense for your SEO marketing campaign in the new year. When you use focused SEO marketing strategies to drive your web content, you set yourself up with the best chance for success. Here are seven steps to take that can help you grow in 2016.
1. Do More with Mobile
Mobile searches now outpace computer searches on Google. People are searching on the go, and relying on the results they find on their smartphones and tablets to find what they need. Your strategy should thus include a mobile-friendly site with a clean look and tightly-focused content that helps lead potential customers to your site and your business. You need to reach high in search rankings for as many keywords as possible, developing content that is both rich and relevant. The more you optimize both form and text for searches on mobile devices, the better you position yourself to succeed.
This strategy, to work well, requires a good web design that mobile users can easily navigate, with your home page and any e-commerce checkout link available on every page. Your full content library should be accessible, but the writing should be focused at the top so users can click to read more as they read. You want the site to be simple and sleek, but not pared down in terms of what is available to your customers.
2. Build Your Local SEO
A huge part of mobile optimization, as well as an important component of your SEO marketing in general, is local SEO. This continues to become more critical to your success as potential customers rely more heavily on location services and online reviews to make decisions on where and how to purchase what they need.
Your ability to rank well with local review sites and your expertise in focusing text on neighborhood-level searches can be critical here. Encourage your customers to create reviews of your products and services, and feature your name, address, and phone number in both text and metadata throughout your site. The more you do to allow location services and searches to identify where you are and what business category best defines you, the more the local search results will reward your efforts.
3. Targeted Guest Blogging
Guest blogging can do wonders for your backlinks and reliability scores in search engines if you do it judiciously. In recent years, some have overused this tactic to the point that it actually hurts their rankings. Inviting guest posts from people who don’t add to your reputation in the business niche you occupy can do more harm than good. Similarly, writing guest posts for sites that do not complement your business does little to enhance your reputation or to get the kind of links back that help you.
The best guest posts involve working with a site that has established itself in an area that is relevant to what you do. You don’t need to work with direct competitors, as this can defeat the purpose of trying to outrank similar companies. But finding someone focused in a different market area who has succeeded there, and developing a partnership in which you help each other out, can be great for local results for both companies. Further, if you find companies that offer complementary rather than directly competing goods or services, feeding off each other’s expertise can lead to a mutually beneficial relationship.
4. Content, Content, Content
No matter how many times Google, Bing, and Yahoo! change their search algorithms, they will always work to reward excellent, original, relevant content. As 2016 arrives, you should look to rededicate yourself to identifying topics that will be the most relevant to your customers and creating content regularly around those topics. The more often you can post new information for your customers, and the more your writing inspires those customers, the better your site will rank over time.
Importantly, pushing content out just to put something out can create more problems than it solves. You need to take the time to get to know your customer base: their demographics, their interests, and what benefits they get the most from your company. Use this information to guide what you write for them, and deliver something at least weekly that will keep them coming back for more. Nothing does more for your site rankings than excellent content, so this should be your biggest focus in the coming year and beyond.
5. SSL Certification
Google has announced that its algorithm rewards those who obtain SSL certification for their websites. This is a small investment that identifies your site as holding security for users who visit and may enter personal information. The return on the investment comes in higher search rankings for you in the first instance, and more confident users willing to use your site.
When you obtain this certificate, it allows Google to pull your site up with its default https designation. This in turn gives users a more direct view of your site without the search warnings that come when a site is not certified. Further, it gives peace of mind if the person is concerned with the security of his or her IP address, or any personal or financial information that must be entered for a purchase. And finally, the search rankings you have get a bump for reliability when your site is secure. If you do not yet have this in place, now is the time to move ahead with it.
6. Semantic Search
Keywords remain important to SEO marketing. Your content should always be focused with one keyword phrase as a topic that guides the post or article. But more and more, semantic search capabilities mean you do not have to rely on just the phrase appearing verbatim each time. In fact, contextual cues in the text that show relevance for your keyword phrase throughout the article arguably does much more for you than just the keywords themselves.
This becomes even more important as manual searches start giving way to igital assistants like Siri and Cortana. The technology in these tools emphasizes further natural language searches as opposed to strict keyword density. You are writing for people—and while you still need to write for the machine to understand your topic area, the algorithms present in these assistant technologies will continue in 2016 to bring that closer to what you are writing for people to read anyway. The search engines are doing more all the time to punish mechanical writing and reward well-crafted content, and you should be working harder than ever to write toward the goal of content humans find compelling.
7. Build Your Social Media Presence
Finally, social media platforms will continue in the coming year to become more and more important. A well-designed Facebook page is almost required for you to maximize your online marketing campaign, with regular posts bearing SEO-friendly headlines. A Twitter presence is also helpful, and any other sites that complement your business model help. You need to stay on message and deliver consistent content over time, allowing your customers to know they will learn something about your market every time they read or click on a link. When you post regularly to these sites and work to extend your network, you increase your reach and build on the power of your SEO marketing to increase your potential customer base exponentially.
Work with 1st in SEO in 2016
All of these tips really just scratch the surface of what you need to consider and implement in your SEO marketing plan. Every day Google is changing its algorithm, tinkering to stay ahead of those trying to game the system. As a result, the only effective way to write for the search engines is to write compelling content that people want to read. A business owner can do this, but it tends to take away from time you could better spend running other aspects of your business.
1st in SEO focuses on your SEO marketing campaign so you don’t have to. We dedicate ourselves to content marketing, employing the most effective SEO techniques to help you better tell the story of your business. Contact us today to help you launch your company toward a successful 2016.