Those who are planning to replicate old SEO techniques for 2016 must rethink their plans. Your planning for SEO 2016 may include certain changes to reach the top ranks of search engines – especially Google. Since Google keeps on updating its ranking algorithms success with SEO would happen without the ability to quickly adapt to changes in the industry.1
Our findings spread over following points:
- Keyword research: Is it still necessary in 2016?
- Voice search: Is it the future of search?
- On-page SEO: How do we incorporate keywords into our content?
- Site-wide SEO: What structural elements are necessary to achieve organic search visibility?
- Mobile SEO: Which elements are necessary to rank in mobile search?
- Link building: How do inbound links affect SEO, and how do you acquire them?
- Content Marketing: What is the ideal length of content?
- Unique Images: Will localized images be more relevant?
- Social Media: How important will it be?
To further elaborate his views he states that:
1. Keyword Research
The need for performing keyword research will still be important in year 2016. To find your business and products your potential clients would still be using keywords and phrases that are related to your business. For examples if you are an interior designer then such keywords as “interior designers in Dubai” or “top interior designers in Downtown Dubai”. Relevant keywords can be found in a variety of ways – for example you can:
- use Google’s Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, SEMrush and Searchmetrics’ Keyword Analysis tool to find popular keywords and phrases that are related to your business. These tools will also inform which keywords to select.
- look at your competitors’ top-ranking pages to determine which keywords they’re targeting. You can use SEMrush to ahrefs to find out your competitor’s keywords.
- also focus on long-tail keywords as natural language search becomes more popular and pervasive.
Cyrus Shepard, from Moz states that today search engines see how people interact with your website – are they going back and clicking on results, or are they finding the answers they’re looking for when they’re on your site? Today it’s about the post-click activity. Not only you have to get the clicks, but you also have to satisfy user intent.
Google has gotten better about interpreting meaning. Use of natural search terms (long-tail keywords will be highly effective. See the following video in which Matt Cutts is giving demo of Google Now’s improvements regarding comprehension of natural search terms.
2. On-Page SEO
Searchmetrics’ 2015 Ranking Factors report provides important insights into how you should be structuring the content in order to rank. Following are some key findings from the report, along with how you can incorporate them into your own content.
- Word Count: According to the report, the average word count for top-ranking content is in the range of 1,140-1,285 words. So when you prepare content for SEO 2016 keep in mind that longer articles will work.
- Proof and relevant terms: These are terms that support and ‘prove’ relevance to the main topic of your content. Google will closely monitor this and rank your site accordingly.
- Keywords within content: Keywords should still be incorporated into your content; especially in the title, header and subheaders, introduction paragraph, the body and conclusion paragraph. Continue to use your desired keywords throughout your content.
- Internal links: The number of links you include in your content wouldn’t be as important as optimizing your overall link structure: The optimization of the internal structure and page information would matter more than the total number of links, 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: The meta-description won’t necessarily help your content rank higher because it acts 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.
3. Site-Wide SEO (Also know as On-Page SEO)
Site-wide SEO means optimization of everything which is present. This section will cover important site-wide elements you should have in place in order to rank well in organic search results.
- Have a mobile-friendly/responsive site.
- Ensure that your website loads quickly on all devices. Top-ranking pages load in an average of 1.16 seconds for desktop results and 1.10 seconds for mobile. Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool and Pingdom can help you figure out how quickly your site is loading.
- Structure your content in a logical way by using interactive elements such as menus and buttons and bulleted lists
- Use internal and external links to guide users and search engines through relevant content on and off your site.
4. Mobile SEO
There are more searches happening on mobile devices than on desktop devices. Therefore ignoring mobile optimization should not be your choice because you may potentially lose over half of your site’s visitors and they might choose your competitor. For mobile SEO also take care of:
- Mobile pages need to load quicker, and should be smaller in size than their desktop counterparts.
- Use bulleted lists and larger font sizes (top-ranking mobile pages used an average font size of 15.63 above the fold and 11.44 in central areas)
- Try to avoid ads because they can slow down loading times
5. Link Building
Link building for non-linked mentions and citations (so called “implied links”) will be key to SEO 2016. This approach will only be possible through publishing high-quality content. Moz and BuzzSumo, have found 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’ posts
- Guest blogging will also remains an effective strategy for building inbound links and also for reaching new, targeted audience.
Many marketers believe that ‘social signals’ which refer to likes, shares and retweets on social media count as links, and therefore pass on ‘link juice’ to your site and content. However, Google has explicitly stated that they do not count likes and shares from Facebook or Twitter as links.
The key to high rankings in 2016 is publishing long-form, comprehensive content that meets the needs of users. Neil Patel called content marketing “The New SEO”.
Long-form article will often naturally rank well in search results, because it will convince the reader and encourage the reader to share with others – eventually more links will be built.
7. Unique Images
Having unique images to support your content will enhance user experience. Here most important SEO tip for 2016 is to focus on your audience. In the past, it was about marketers trying to promote what they wanted people to see. Today it’s about delivering what people actually want to see that will give you an SEO ranking boost.
8. Social Presence of a Company
Today an average consumer uses more than 10 sources of information to make a purchase decision! This is where social media is so important. To evaluate a company, consumers use local business directories, blogs, video sites, and photo sharing sites. They read reviews and interact with content published on social media sites. Claiming and publishing content across all of these platforms as part of a company’s web presence is vital to search engine optimization.
As a conclusion it can be said that there are number of factors that will contribute to better ranking for SEO in 2016. These factors will include keywords and content strategy, on-page SEO, mobile experience, social media experience and link building.