Change in time calls for change in methods, so are you still using the same SEO tactics and strategies as you did last year, or the year before? If so, it may be the right time to re-evaluate your strategy. There have been fairly significant shifts over the past year when it comes to search engine ranking factor. It is wise to note that success with SEO does not happen without the ability to quickly adapt to the changes in the industry. The guide below should provide you with everything you need to know about fundamental SEO in 2016.
The fundamentals of performing keyword research have not changed. We still want to find word 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:
While these strategies are all 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.
So if the one to one relationship between specific keywords, user queries and search ranking is gone, how does is On-Page Search Engine Optimization work in 2016 without keywords, which on-page strategies and tactics are still relevant? Search Metrics’ 2015 Ranking Factors report provides us with important insights into how we should be structuring our content in order to rank. Followings are some key findings from the report, along with how you can incorporate them into your own content.
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. 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.
These are terms that support or prove relevance to the main topic of your content. Using them indicates to Google and to your readers that you are comprehensively covering the topic. Proof terms are actually words and phrases that essentially must be used for a particular topic; for example, ‘search’ will almost always be used when writing about ‘SEO’. Relevant terms are words that are often used alongside a primary keyword in order to provide holistic coverage of the topic.
Keywords should still be incorporated into your content especially in the title, header and sub headers, introduction paragraph and conclusion paragraph. Overall, according to the Search metrics report, top-ranking pages saw an increase in the total number of keywords used in the body of the text.
However, this did not apply to the very highest-ranking pages. Continue to use your desired keywords throughout your content.
The number of internal links on high-ranking pages has increased since 2014. According to the report authors, the number of links you include in your content is not as important as optimizing your overall link structure. What actually counts is not the total number of internal links, but rather the optimization of the internal structure and page information. So that the user (and also the search engine) is optimally guided through the provider’s content and also to ensure that the user stays on the page and is satisfied.
Most of the top 10 pages that is 99%, had a meta-description, and 80% used an H1 tag. While the meta-description won’t necessarily help your content rank higher, it does act 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.
Ensuring each piece of content is properly optimized is key; however, without the proper site-wide elements in place, your on-page SEO won’t do much good. This section will cover important site-wide elements you should have in place in order to rank well in organic search results.