SEO Best Practices for 2016August 8, 2016 Peter A. Liefer II
Have you been wondering if you still need SEO this year, given that you’ve ranked well in the past thanks to your competitive SEM plan? Or are you wondering if you need SEO in the first place, considering that you’re already doing well? The answer to both questions is a resounding YES!
Your favorable rank today doesn’t mean it would continue to do so for the upcoming months. Search engines are updating their algorithms in order to ensure that users are able to find the information they are looking for in the very first page. This means there is less emphasis on the “frills” and you would really have to work in order to get to the first page. Every single piece of content you throw out would have to be optimized and hardworking, so much so that your site would be chosen out of the perhaps millions that talk about the same content.
As for the other scenario, well, you can always do better! If you’re content with how your business is currently going, then that means you haven’t been dreaming big enough. You can always do more, and be more so that your business will become the best there is in your industry!
You may be wondering how we can claim that SEO is not outdated. Let’s take a look at some numbers.
As of May 24, the average number of annual Google searches has already reached 2 trillion – that means there are about 2.3 million searches per second. This is coupled by the fact that 11.095 billion searches came from US desktop, and more than half of that number is from mobile devices.
With these staggering statistics, wouldn’t you agree that SEO should be a vital part of your marketing plan, now more than ever?
A New Breed of SEO
Five years ago, keyword density and link building were the winning combinations you have to constantly hit if you want to rank favorably. However, the recent algorithm changes turned things upside down, and while keyword is still important, its importance has been significantly reduced. What do we mean? It’s time to introduce the SEO Best Practices for the year.
User experience – Today, the focus of Google and other search engines is to ensure that their users are able to get the right information on the first page, if possible. That means they need your content to be able to cater to their needs from the moment they click your link. Your content has to benefit your reader by providing them with the right information, and not just adding to the clutter in the virtual web.
This, therefore, brings us to…
Unique content – Do you still remember when 250- to 300-word blogs were already deemed significant, as long as you properly space the keywords? Today, long-form content is more valuable. Forbes’ Jayson DeMers reports that the ideal length for content is within the range of 1,140-1,285 words. Some content marketers tend to go over this by setting their word count to 1,500-2,000 words.
Yet no matter how long your content may be, remember that it has to be unique and that it should be relevant to your reader. To help the reader digest and understand the text better, you can use images, bullet points, and subheads, as well as illustrations. This will help with the flow of the article as well as give readers the summary of what they are about to read.
Also, while keywords are still important, you don’t have to keep on repeating them within the same article, or even mention them on the title and the meta descriptions. Today, search engine picks up on your actual content. For example, if your keyword is “most affordable clothing,” then you can mention the words “high quality,” “affordable,” “inexpensive,” “cheap,” and “clothing,” and the search engine would know that you are talking about offering an affordable line of clothing. It would pick up on what you are targeting, based on the content you have on your page.
Mobile Matters – Another trend this year is how much emphasis is placed on mobile. Your mobile website should be responsive and well-designed, it should be SEO-optimized, and it should be completely functional. Likewise, all your content must be readable on mobile, and every page should be laid out in a way that it is easy to share your content. After all, the majority of your target market is most probably using a mobile device. This is your chance to harness it and to ensure that you would be maximizing this tool.
Website Optimization – That’s not to say that your website should be neglected altogether. Rather, your website should be everything that your mobile site is, and more. Your website should be clean, SEO-optimized, and must be easy to navigate. There should be no dead links, the loading time shouldn’t take long, and the overall user experience must be positive. Your headers should be very clear so users would clearly see where they need to click next.
So that means you should do away with the heavy Java-backed video you wanted to load on your landing page but just takes ages to load. If you insist on doing this, then your potential clients would be bored waiting for the page to load and would just close the page.
These are just some of the latest and more pronounced changes in SEO algorithms this year. Despite the algorithm changes over the years, however, there is a single piece of advice that has stayed with us. It is: never use black hat techniques to rank higher in a shorter period of time, rather than trying to build your ranking through hard and good work. If you try to take shortcuts (in this case, trying to use black hat techniques), then you would be setting up your business for failure, as the moment the search engines get wind of how you are trying to circumvent the system, then you might be penalized, or worse, banned.
Whatever the case, SEO is clearly here to stay. We’re excited to see what new changes to expect in the upcoming months!
Img c/o Pexels.