Ready to conquer SEO in 2016? Good! Before you start, there are a few things you should consider. Google updates search algorithms more than 500 times a year. These algorithms increasingly prioritize quality web content, but some search rules aren’t obvious. The days of keyword stuffing are gone. As algorithms evolve, understanding SEO will be even more crucial to getting your content in front of users. Companies that pour time and money into creating relevant, high quality content will be frustrated if web traffic remains stagnant. The good news is that following a few simple steps can help you conquer SEO, and ensure your content reaches the right audience.
Don’t Overdo Keywords
Unlike SEO of the past, keywords will be less important moving forward. Google algorithms have become more sophisticated and can better interpret meaning, making precise keyword strings increasingly obsolete. Search engines in 2016 look for a diverse range of words and phrases associated with the subject to determine page quality. For example, in a piece about the Apple Watch, the search engine would expect to find words like “apps,” “time,” and references to other Apple products, such as the iPhone.
Focus on User Experience
As Google focuses on returning the best content for every search, truly engaging, original content becomes more important than content that has clearly been manipulated for marketing purposes. Recycled ideas and images will cause a site’s ranking to drop. Companies should consider what their audience would find engaging and strive to provide content to fill that niche. Original content can take many different forms. A variety of original articles, images, and videos will help ensure your site gets the optimal amount of traffic.
Include Longer, In-Depth Articles
When it comes to SEO, sometimes more is more. In general, pieces of 1200 to 1500 words perform best in Google searches, marking a shift from past algorithms. In the past, 300 words was considered a lot for a web page. These days, however, longer, in-depth content is seeing more traffic. This is partially because a longer article offers more words and images for page ranking. Another reason for this change is that many people now link to long-form content on social media, increasing traffic to these pages.
Optimize Your Site for Mobile
People are increasingly accessing websites on smartphones and tablets, so it’s vital that your site is easily searchable for mobile and is equally easy to navigate. Your website should be 100% responsive, meaning it takes the shape of whatever device is being used.
Need to test how mobile-friendly your website is? Google makes it easy with the mobile-friendly test.
Incorporate Original Images
Images aren’t the most important component of a Google search result, but they still affect page ranking. Original images that can’t be found elsewhere on the web will positively affect search results. Think about the kind of images that would appeal to your audience, and do your best to provide them instead of relying on stock images for your visual content.
Despite Google’s algorithm changes, businesses now have an even better opportunity to reach their market by providing original content. Instead of focusing on manipulating search engines, content now should focus on meeting users’ authentic needs. With these five steps, you can be sure your content will actually reach your audience.
How do you keep up with all the Google Algorithm changes? Have any tips for conquering SEO? Please share in the comments!