About 12 billion web searches are conducted each month in the U.S. alone, according to hubspot.com. SEO helps you drive quality traffic, get visibility, boost your brand, and lend your business the credibility it needs to succeed. SEO therefore becomes more and more important if you are an entrepreneur.
Though search-engine rankings keep changing from time to time, make sure you have built your site the right way, that you regularly post quality content, and that you stay up-to-date regarding the latest SEO developments.
This blog first addresses the SEO trends in 2016. After that, it focuses on the 12 simplest ways to have a good start with SEO. If you are an entrepreneur, this blog will get you started with SEO or it will give you helpful ways to improve your SEO quickly. By quickly, I mean performing the actions, as SEO usually takes quite some time to be fully effective.
SEO in 2016
Gaurav Kumar lists “the hottest SEO trends and developments that are set to rock the world in 2016.” They are discussed below, so you know what you should focus on when it comes to SEO in 2016.
1. Social content will gain prominence
In the coming times, content from social media will gain more importance on the search engine result pages (SERPs). By now, 76% marketers use social media to support and boost SEO. In 2016, marketers will do everything possible to make their posts rank higher on the SERPs.
Kumar predicts that more social-media content will be indexed on Google and other popular search engines, which will blur the lines between web and social media in terms of SEO strategies. Be prepared to find, collect, and use your valuable social content for optimizing your page for maximum visibility. For brand names, social-media profiles are amongst the top results in search listings.
2. Videos will still rule
Videos are a great way to keep your audience engaged and entertained, but using enough videos also helps you improve the ranking of your page on the SERPs. The blog ‘62 Easy, Valuable Tips to Rock Your Video Content’ lists 6 video content stats that urge you to use video as a marketing tool. One of them is the fact that organic traffic from search engines increases by 157% with video.
It is important that Google is able to find your video content, successfully index it, and display your video content when specific keywords are entered as search terms.
3. Mobile optimization will become crucial
Is your corporate website mobile-friendly? People use all sorts of devices to browse web, such as tablets, smartphones, laptops, and phone watches. Kumar anticipates that more brands will take up this trend in 2016. Mobile optimization will become the norm, rather than exception.
The number of searches on mobile devices has grown by 43 percent year-over-year, and 73 percent of users conduct online search via mobile devices while at home, even when they have access to a computer.
Therefore, make sure that mobile optimization finds a prominent place in your 2016 SEO strategies to stay ahead of your competitors. Make sure that everything on your site, from colors to fonts and from content to logo design, is mobile optimized.
4. A voice-search function will be a must
According to Kumar, people on the go use voice search, because it is more convenient and safer, especially when someone is driving or multi-tasking. It is becoming a huge part of mobile usage, as it has taken away the pain of typing keywords to run a search query. Almost all mobile devices have a voice search functions. However, make sure that your content is easily searchable through voice searches by using long-tail keywords, which are more likely to be spoken than conventional keywords.
5. Content aggregation will get bigger & better
Matthew Capala says that “today, 85% of search results on Google is comprised of Knowledge Graph, maps, local, wiki, news, social media, carousel, images, videos, Amazon, Yelp, and other content aggregators and rich media.” People look for sources that provide all relevant information for a particular subject at one place.
According to Rebecca Lieb, content aggregation is a highly proactive and selective approach to finding, collecting, organizing, presenting, sharing, and displaying digital content around predefined sets of criteria and subject matter to appeal to a target audience.
Kumar advises you, if you are planning to do so, to make sure that you collect and curate content from different, high-authority sources and to display it at one place for your users to see in order to build your authority.
6. The craze of mobile apps will grow
According to this 2015 infograph, mobile apps now account for 52% of all time spent on online digital media, and users spend 89% of their mobile media time using mobile apps. This is the reason why increasingly more businesses explore the advantage of mobile apps.
Feature your brand prominently in the app name and make sure you have proper links to apps for better search rankings. Also, you must ensure that app optimization tops your list of SEO optimization.
7. Local SEO will become even more important
According to Jayson Demers, local SEO is likely to gain solid grounds in 2016. As a marketer, you have to let Google know where you are located and what you are offering, so that your chances of showing up on pages in front of the relevant audience increase. It is a must to have your local pages on Google, Yahoo and Bing, which include the name of your business, address etc.
12 Simple and Helpful SEO Tips and Tricks
As you now know what SEO looks like in 2016, it is time to take action and improve your SEO. Want to know where to start? Use these simple and helpful SEO tricks.
1. Ensure a killer user experience.
According to Neil Patel, user experience (UX) is often viewed as a separate discipline, but all of SEO is built on the foundation of user experience. SEO plays a crucial role in the process of UX, but UX serves SEO too.
You cannot have “good SEO” unless you have a good UX. Every aspect of SEO, no matter how technical, somehow gets back to producing a great UX. Patel lists why:
- To have “good SEO,” you must have great content (a beneficial user experience).
- To have “good SEO,” you must have a functional site (an error-free user experience).
- To have “good SEO,” you must have logical site navigation (an easy user experience).
- To have “good SEO,” you must have relevant keywords (a relevant user experience).
- To have “good SEO,” you must have quality backlinks (a trustworthy user experience).
Patel concluded that “when you improve user experience, from any vantage, you upgrade your SEO strategy to a whole new level of awesome, and that should all be underpinned by the fundamentals of strategy.”
2. Pay close attention to your page titles.
Most people do not even notice page titles, but in search engine results, title tags are very prominent as they are the most noticeable part of your page in the search engine results. Your page title does not show up on the page itself. In many programs, the page’s headline automatically becomes your title, but you can adjust it. Pam Neely lists the three important steps:
- Make sure every page on your site has a unique title tag.
- Make sure they accurately describe each page.
- Try to make them sound enticing.
3. Meta-page descriptions are ad copy. Write them with that in mind.
Meta description tags should be descriptive, but Neely urges you to make them attractive for your reader. Your pages are competing with ads in the search results, so write those page descriptions like they are ad copy rather than a robot’s notes.
4. Use ALT tags.
ALT tags let you add a text description to every image on your pages. They are an often overlooked, but easy way to optimize your pages, as most content-management systems make it very easy to add ALT tags. Neely advises you to sprinkle your keywords in as you write them, but to write them for humans instead of search engines.
Neely mentions that ALT tags are also important for social sharing. Some social platforms, like Pinterest, use the ALT-tag copy as the default description. Make sure the text people are sharing is the text you want that audience to see.
5. Reduce bounce rate with interactive content.
Neely explains that a “bounce” happens when someone comes to a page on your site and then leaves without clicking on anything. A bounce rate of less than 50% is great (and unusual); most blogs get about an 80% bounce rate.
There are many tactics to reduce bounce rates. Make your pages look easier to read and add interactive content. Interactive content includes a simple poll, a quiz, an embedded SlideShare or a video.
6. Link your webpages to each other.
Neely lists three basic kinds of links:
- Inbound links are links on other sites that point to your site.
- External links are links on your site that point out to other sites.
- Internal links are links that go from one page on your site to another page on your site.
It is good to add a couple of external links to the content-heavy pages on your site, if they are respected sites and relevant.
Internal links are part of SEO best practices now. Add links in blog posts, on your About-Us page, and on pages with much content.
Google has clearly said they frown on most link-building tactics, but Neely offers some safe ways to build inbound links:
- Create a piece of amazing content (infographic, eBook, video or otherwise) that others will want to link to.
- Do some unique research and publish it as a report.
- Guest post: publish unique, insightful articles on high authority sites.
- Get the type of traditional business listings that are expectable, on sites such as Yelp, your local Chamber of Commerce, and trade organizations.
7. Use keywords in filenames of documents and images.
Using keywords in filenames helps your readers understand what is in the file or image, and as shown above: a good UX is good SEO. Do not “keyword stuff” your filenames though; use one or two keywords. This way, you give the search-engine bots more information about what your content is about, and every little bit helps.
- A good file name: TranslationGuide.pdf
- A bad file name: TranslationGuide_BuyTranslations_TranslationServices.pdf
Neely has the great tip of avoiding using underscores to separate words; use hyphens instead. Search engines see hyphens as spacers and underscores as letters.
8. Upgrade your keyword research.
Keyword research is another old-school SEO tactic that needs an upgrade. Neely claims that search engines are sophisticated enough now that simply inserting the same exact keyword all over your pages is not going to work. You will look like you are trying to manipulate the search results, which you are.
Use the Google Keyword Planner to identify your core keywords and use those keywords where they make sense. Vary them: plural versus singular, difference verb tenses, different word order, synonyms. You know, make the use seem like that of a human being.
Among SEOs, this type of keyword flexibility is known as “latent-semantic indexing.” It is how search engines associate different terms. Increasingly more, search engines are using keywords like concepts or topics, so we should too.
9. Make your content easy to read.
As you need to write for humans rather than robots, your pages and content should be easy to read. To make your pages look easier to read, use these tricks that Neely offers:
- Write short paragraphs.
- Punctuate those short paragraphs with a one-sentence paragraph every so often.
- Use sub headers.
- Use bullet points like this list
- Add images every 350 words or so.
- Add quotes and call-outs.
10. Do not forget social media.
If you have read the first trend mentioned in this blog, you will not be surprised by this. Make your content easy to share and share it with your audience. Sharing gets your content more attention, which increases its chances of attracting links from other sites. Social signals are now also a ranking signal and Tweets are indexed. Finally, social-sharing buttons have become an important part of search-engine optimization.
11. Write more content
According to Patel, the content-marketing boom has produced an undesirable side effect: there is much lousy content out there. Because of all this low-quality content, many thought leaders have said, “We have a problem.”
Some call it “content shock” — the emerging marketing epoch defined when exponentially increasing volumes of content intersect with our limited human capacity to consume it. The premise of that statement is flawed, according to Patel: “Of course, individuals cannot consume all the content, nor is anyone asking them to.”
Patel agrees that low-quality content is a problem, but does not agree that more content is a problem. He has increased his output with success: “My SEO has skyrocketed, my traffic has exploded, and my marketing funnels are blowing up with fresh, qualified leads.”
More content is better as long as it is rock-solid, kickass content. Your audience will select the best content available. Your content can be the best. And the more of it, the better.
12. Register your website with Google and Bing webmaster tools
As Alex Chris says, not having your website registered with the webmaster tools is like driving with your eyes closed. He urges you to take advantage of the plethora of information given to you by both Google and Bing.
Apparently, some people believe that by not registering your website with Google, you can ‘hide’ things from them, slip under their radar, and reach the top of the search results. I personally do not see how hiding and getting the best results are linked…
Chris states that this “is not a ‘hide and seek’ game: good long-term rankings can only be achieved if you follow valid methods and techniques. For the record: Google already knows everything they need to know about your website with or without submitting it to webmaster tools.”
Which of these 12 SEO tips did you find the easiest and most helpful?
Read more: Quick and Effective SEO Tips