16 Must Do Strategies to Improve Your SEO in 2016

The rules for effective SEO marketing strategies have shifted seismically over the past few years...

The rules for effective SEO marketing strategies have shifted seismically over the past few years. Experts offer tips on the current state of SEO marketing and how you can use it to maximize your investment in content in 2016.

This guide will provide everything you need to know about fundamental SEO marketing strategies in 2016:
  • Content is King to You SEO Marketing Strategies 
  • Keywords aren’t the be-all and end-all for SEO 
  • Word Count Matters for Better SEO Marketing 
  • Focus on The user Experience 
  • Optimize Your Site for Mobile 
  • Use unique images with your Content 
  • Focus on Your Audience 
  • Local SEO Strategies to Become Even More Important 
  • Do Keyword Research 
  • Where and How To Use Keywords 
  • How To Vary Keyword Usage 
  • What is Keyword density in SEO? 
  • What’s ideal Keyword density Percentage According to Google 
  • Social Content Will Gain Prominence 
  • Videos Will Still Rule on SEO 
  • Voice Search Function a Must

Marketers are beefing up their investments in content, but to leverage those investments, they’ll also have to put some time and effort into learning the new rules for SEO marketing strategies. The days of driving traffic to your site by packing headlines with keywords are long gone, experts say, and the new SEO strategy revolves around another big-money marketing focus: experience.

Content is King to You SEO Marketing Strategies

Content is king. In the world of SEO this sentence is directly related to Matt Cutts, the Head of Google’s Webspam team, but he wasn’t the first one. In fact, Bill Gates had already stated this back in 1996 when webmasters were spamming their way up to the top of Google.
Content is King to You SEO Marketing Strategies
Gates also appreciated that the concept of content is very wide. For far too long, links have gained too much popularity and whilst the concept is correct and still an important part of Google’s algorithm, it should now be links through content.

Keywords aren’t the be-all and end-all for SEO

Including keywords in headlines is becoming less important, Shepard says. “Google has gotten better about interpreting meaning. It used to be that if you wanted to rank for ‘best restaurants,’ you had to say ‘best restaurants’ three or four times. It’s still helpful to mention ‘best restaurants,’ but the semantic meaning is becoming much more important. Now you can just talk about great dining experiences, and the search engines will pick up on it.”
“Historically, we wanted to get a keyword in the body copy or in the meta description. Now that’s all gone out the window. As the search engines get smarter, they start to think about other words that you expect to be in that article, what will signal that this is an authoritative article on the topic. If you were writing an article about the Apple Watch, you might have the words ‘Apple,’ ‘iPhone,’ ‘Watch,’ ‘apps’ and ‘time.’ If those are in the body copy, it sends signals to the search engines that this is a pretty good article.”
Seventy-five percent of search queries are between three and five words long, so you should write headlines accordingly, he adds. “The search engines are figuring out that if people search for the word ‘marketing,’ or any one- or two-word query, they don’t get the results they want. To get quality results that are most likely to answer their question, they have to go to three-, four- or five-word queries. As content creators, when you’re thinking about optimization, you have to think about that.” This will be your ideal
SEO marketing strategies.

Word Count Matters for Better SEO Marketing

We have known for some time that Google shows a preference for longer, more comprehensive content. According to the report, the average word count for top-ranking content is in the range of 1,140-1,285 words. This is up from 902 words in 2014. When creating content, focus on providing comprehensive coverage of your topic, rather than writing shorter content that only brushes the surface of your topic.

Longer articles perform better in search results because there are more words and images to rank on the page, Shepard says. “People are sharing longer articles on social media more, and linking to them and citing them more. Shorter articles do well sometimes, but on average, longer articles tend to perform better.”
I prefer 1,200 to 1,500 word article for my SEO Best Practice! 

Focus on The user Experience

"Google, right now, is making 500 algorithm changes a year,” Laetsch says. “Every change is focused on making sure that when someone searches on Google, if they get the right result on the first few pages, they’ve got a great experience. It’s not, ‘How am I going to tweak the engine or trick Google, Bing or Yahoo?’ It’s how you make sure that your content is the best possible content on the Internet for the words that you care about.”
While articles with a “top five” list format often are clickable, Drysdale suggests using them sparingly. “People like things that they can quickly digest, but it doesn’t necessarily have much weight with search,” she says. “You have to make sure that whatever comes after the number makes sense and is useful.”

Create an editorial calendar to appeal to your customers’ interests, Laetsch says. “That’s the most important thing that a marketer can do for SEO marketing strategies in 2016. Your content has to be original and targeted to your audience. If you curate content, take a paragraph from another article or site, and give them full credit and add an attribution, but add a paragraph or two in your own voice: ‘Here’s why I think it’s relevant.’ You’re adding a journalistic voice and making it your own.”

Optimize Your Site for Mobile

Is your business website mobile-friendly? Your audience is no longer in one place. People use all sorts of devices such as tablets, smartphones, laptops, phone watches to browse web. Keeping this in mind, plenty of brands went mobile-friendly. And we anticipate that more brands will take up this trend in the upcoming year. Mobile optimization will become the norm, rather than exception. So, it’s high time you changed the way you conceptualize and create SEO strategies for mobile searches.

So it’s important to ensure that your Web/Blog content is mobile-friendly. Making sure Google can understand the content that’s found within a mobile app, and leveraging the marketing of the app with respect to SEO, is an opportunity on the consumer and B-to-B marketing side.”

Google’s algorithm update previous year ensured that mobile-friendly websites get a search ranking boost on mobile searches. As more and more people use mobile to surf the Internet, Google decided to make it easier to find relevant, mobile-optimized websites. So, it now uses mobile-friendliness as a factor in ranking search results. If you’re still not convinced, here are just 5 stats that will make you go mobile-friendly in the future.
  1. 4 out of 5 consumers use smartphones to shop. (Source: Convinceandconvert.com) 
  2. 70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour. (Source: Socialmediatoday.com) 
  3. Over 1.2 billion people access the web from their mobile devices. (Source: Mobify.com) 
  4. Global mobile traffic now accounts for 15% of all Internet traffic. (Source: Newtarget.com) 
  5. 95% smartphone users have searched for local info. (Source:Adwords.blogspot.com) 

Use unique images with your Content

While images aren’t as big of a referral source in Google as they used to be, having unique images on your site is valuable, Shepard says. “The same image can show up in hundreds of places around the Web, but having unique content around those images is what makes it stand out. I’m not opposed to using stock images to illustrate a point, but any time you can create something that’s custom or use unique photography, that will pay off more in the long run.”

Focus on Your Audience

The most important SEO tip for 2016 is to focus on your audience, Shepard says. “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.”
“The reason we’re doing optimization and want to show up in Google, Bing or Yahoo is not because we make money because we show up No. 1 or No. 2. The reason we want to rank well in the search engine is so that our audience, the people we’re trying to reach, have a great experience. It doesn’t matter how high you rank if your target audience goes to your site and they’re not happy.”

Local SEO Strategies to Become Even More Important

This trend is only going stronger over the years. According to Entrepreneur.com, local SEO is likely to gain solid grounds in the coming days. 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, especially in front of the relevant audience, increase. It is must to have your local pages which will include the name of your business, address etc. with Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Since Google came out with its “Pigeon” update, local SEO has gained significant prominence forcing businesses and marketers to focus on a local tangent.  So, ensure of having location specific keywords and personalize content basis your target audiences’ location to stay ahead in the game in 2016. Check out some stats to know the benefits of ranking in local search results.
  • Local searches lead 50% of mobile visitors to visit stores within a day. (Source: Searchengineland.com) 
  • More than 60% consumers have used local information in ads. (Source: Business2community.com) 
  • 50% mobile searches are conducted in hopes of finding local results. (Source: Business2community.com)
Your listing in the local pages can increase consumer engagement with your business and your ranking.

Do Keyword Research

The principles of keyword research have remained relatively stable.” To some extent, this is still true today. The fundamentals of performing keyword research have not changed. We still want to find words and phrases that our prospects are using to seek out our business and products. There are a variety of ways we can do this effectively: 
  • Using keyword research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, SEMrush and Searchmetrics’ Keyword Analysis tool to find popular keywords and phrases that aren’t hyper-competitive. 
  • Analyzing your website analytics to find out which keywords are already generating traffic and sales. You can use this data to find new, related keywords, or to build additional content based on these terms. 
  • Looking at your competitors’ top-ranking pages to determine which keywords they’re targeting 
  • Focusing on long-tail keywords as natural language search becomes more popular and pervasive.
While these SEO strategies can all be very effective at finding relevant keywords, we have definitely seen a shift away from the one-to-one relationship between using these keywords and achieving high rankings.
Google has become more sophisticated, and instead of looking at search queries solely in terms of keywords, those queries are analyzed in terms of user intent. So, you must do keyword research in order to improve your Search Engine Ranking?

Where and How To Use Keywords

There are 8 places that you can use keywords on your website to signal to Google which pages on your site you want to rank for which keywords:

Page Title: The page title, also known as a title tag or title element, is written in the coding of the page, like this – <title>Mention Your Keywords Here</title>. The page title isn’t displayed on the page itself, but is shown in the search results and in the web browser. You definitely need to add your the keyword for a page here, but don’t just put the keyword and nothing else. At the very least, put your business’s name either before or after the keyword.

Url: The web address for the page (i.e. www.yoursite.com/mention-your-keywords-here). This is a good place to add keywords as you can use them without needing to use them in a catchy or enticing way like with the page title or H1 tag. Using keywords in your url isn’t possible when trying to rank your homepage though.

H1 Tag: The main header tag for the page. This is normally the title at the top of a page that tells the reader what the page is about – like an article title in a magazine or newspaper. This should ideally grab the interest of visitors to your site, to make them want to read on, so you need to balance using your keyword with making it interesting.

Body Content: The main written text on a page, such as a product/service description or an article. You only need to mention the keyword once, though you can mention it more times if that happens naturally when you’re writing. You definitely don’t need to aim for any kind of keyword density (2%, 5%, etc.).

Site Navigation Link Text: The text that forms the links in your top navigation bar or sidebar. Using your  target keyword in its exact form here can look spammy, and can negatively affect the user experience, so normally you’ll have to use a shortened or alternate version of it.

In-Content Link Text: The text that forms the links on your pages that link to other pages on your site (e.g. this links to a page on this site about SEO for internal links). Mix up your usage, by sometimes linking up the exact keyword and sometimes linking up a partial sentence that the keyword is in. Always keep the user experience in mind with this.

Image Tag: The html code used to add an image to the page (i.e. <img src=”file-name-including-keyword.jpg” title=”Title of the image including the keyword” alt=”Description of the image including the keyword”>). This text won’t show up on a page, unless, for some reason, the image itself doesn’t load. If there are multiple images on a page, you can add variations of the keyword to each of them.

Meta Description: The snippet of text that gets displayed in the search results to describe the content of the page. Search engines don’t use this as part of their ranking algothrim, however, they do highlight/bold any keywords used here, which makes your site stand out more in the search results and seem more relevant.
Google no longer takes into account the meta keywords tag (i.e. <meta name=”keywords” content=”Keyword 1, Variation of Keyword 1?>), as it’s too easy to manipulate and spam. As they don’t pay attention to the tag, it makes no difference at all to your site’s rankings if you use it or not. Some sites still use it, some don’t. If anything, you’re better to not use it, as doing so makes it easier for competitors to pinpoint what exactly keywords you’re targeting.

How To Vary Keyword Usage

You can target multiple keywords on 1 page but, unless they’re very closely related, it can be difficult to do. The best approach is to have 1 main keyword target for each page, and then to also target variations of that keyword with that same page. Keyword variations will typically be the main keyword with one or more extra words (online, service, review, buy, cheap, London, Yorkshire, etc.) added.

If the only difference between keywords is the order of the words, a minor word (a, an, in, on, to, etc.) or plurality (s, ies, etc.), then you can target those keywords on the same page as multiple main keyword targets, as Google recognizes each of those variations as being nearly the same, and will generally return pretty much the same set of search results for each of them.
Always you should remember about Keyword density in order to get the best result from your SEO marketing strategies.

What is Keyword density in SEO?

In common word, Keyword density is percentage of number of times Keyword appeared on a Web page by total number of words in that page. So if in an article of 100 words you are using your Keyword 10 times, your density will be 10%.

What’s ideal Keyword density Percentage According to Google

One of the most common myth is if we use our keyword many time, we will rank higher in SERP’s. There is no ideal or exact percentage for better ranking, though an optimum 1-3% of Keyword density with Semantic Keywords works for me. If we talk about Google, Google suggest to write natural article with your Keyword in article. There is no ideal percentage but having your Keyword few times with natural occurring, will be helpful.

One should be careful with Keyword stuffing as it can lead to over optimization penalty or Google will treat your article as low-quality spam article. Instead, you should keep a good Keyword density percentage which looks natural and not stuffed.

Google wants to rank QUALITY documents in its results, and force those who wish to rank high to invest in higher-quality content or great service that attracts editorial links from reputable websites. (Learn How Google Rank a Web Page)

Social Content Will Gain Prominence

In the coming times, content from social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will gain more importance on the SERPs. Already, 76% marketers use Social Media to support and boost SEO, cites an article published at Impactbnd.com. In 2016, marketers will do everything possible to make their Facebook posts or tweets rank higher on the SERPs.

Isn’t that amazing?! We predict that more social media content will be indexed on Google and other popular search engines such as Bing and Yahoo. This will in turn blur the lines between ‘web’ and ‘social media’ in terms of SEO strategies. So, 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. For instance, if you search “KFC” on Google, the company’s Facebook page, Twitter profile and the LinkedIn page appear as the top listings. See for yourself!

Videos Will Still Rule on SEO

We all know that videos are a great way of keeping audience engaged and entertained. But do you know that by using enough videos, you can improve the ranking of your page on the SERPs. A report by Marketing Land states that videos make for 62% of all Google searches universally. Moreover, Google has started giving attention to blended results/searches. So, why not grab this opportunity to appear on the first page of search results by including an engaging video in your content? According to Quicksprout.com, videos get 50 times better organic page ranks in Google as against plain, static text results. Also, video searches garner 41% higher click-through rate as compared to plain, static text content, according to Relesoo.com.

Many marketers chose to drive their modern marketing engine with the fuel of Video SEO. And we predict that more marketers and businesses will embrace the trend of videos in the coming year too.

Now, the only way to appear in the search engine pages like this is by uploading your videos on You Tube and embed it to your post. 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.

Voice Search Function will Work Better

These days, people who are on the go use voice search simply 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. The popularity of voice searches has been spurred by Microsoft, Google, and Apple launching their own versions of advanced voice-responsive assistants – Cortana, Google Now and Siri.
Even ‘Domino’s Pizza’ has a ‘voice-ordering feature. 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.  Google Study finds voice search mostly used to ask for directions. For teens, doing a voice search while watching TV (59%) and while with friends (57%) are the highest use cases, according to marketingland.com. Whereas for adults, voice searching is done the most while watching TV (36%), followed by when with friends (24%) and while cooking (23%).

If you’re willing to add a lot of great content to your website, and create buzz about your company, Google will rank you high.

So, concentrate on creating fresh and quality content that you can and promote it across all social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. By just doing this, you will find that your search rankings have improved tremendously. The next step would be to sustain the rank by posting fresh and unique content and videos regularly.

If you try to manipulate Google, it will penalize you for a period, and often until you fix the offending issue – which we know can LAST YEARS.
Backlinks in general, for instance, are STILL weighed FAR too positively by Google and they are manipulated to drive a site to the top positions – for a while. That’s why blackhats do it – and they have the business model to do it. It’s the easiest way to rank a site, still today.

So, concentrate on creating fresh and quality content that you can and promote it across all social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. By just doing this, you will find that your search rankings have improved tremendously. The next step would be to sustain the rank by posting fresh and unique content and videos regularly.

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