Tomorrow marks the beginning of 2016, and the start of a new year is as good a time as any to recap on what is working in the world of search engine optimization. I’ve put together this list of five points in what SEO works in 2016.
Mobile – A greater emphasis on mobile devices should be among your top priorities.
For most webmasters, this can be as simple as ensuring that everything on your website reads exactly the same on a mobile device as it does on a desktop, if not going all the way to create a mobile specific version of your site.
If nothing else, be sure that your site is mobile ready with a responsive design, meaning a design which responds and adjusts to the device it is being viewed on. This is one of the few confirmed and unanimous musts in the world of SEO last year, and it applies to 2016 and beyond just as importantly.
Varied Content – Avoid strictly text based articles, blog posts, and even informative pages. More varied content in the form of images, infographics, video, and even forms goes a long way in delivering a more versatile and engaging user experience in delivering your content.
Search engines know this, and consequently will always reward the page which employs multiple options for delivering its content over the text based page covering the same topics.
Targeting Keywords – While search engines are getting better about determining what certain content is about without needing to be explicitly told every time in the meta data, effective keyword usage in your content is still the best indicator for search engines to easily determine how to index your page.
And note that when I say effective keyword usage, I mean a healthy and more importantly natural mix of LSI keywords.
As such, keyword research is just as relevant as it’s ever been, so having a masterful knowledge on how to conduct good keyword research to find the best targets to base your individual content around is a huge requisite for your success.
More importantly, remember that thanks to voice search and user intent, very specific long-tail keywords are still very much in play despite what some marketers may tell you. It’s never been easier to find and rank for more highly targeted and commercially viable keywords with more people searching for them than ever, so don’t overlook the importance of keyword research for even a moment.
User Metrics – User metrics are still the best indications which search engines have for genuinely gauging the value of your content to its users.
The longer someone spends on a page of your site, the more pages they visit, the lower your bounce rate, these are all indications of good content which deserves to rank for the keywords it triggers.
Which leads me to my final bullet point…
(Superior) Content is Still King – It may sound like a broken record at this point, but superior content is still king and better than any other SEO tip on this or any other list.
Creating good content earns you valuable links, social proof, and other important ranking signals/factors, not to mention it earns you repeat visitors to your site and has a higher likelihood of converting on your website’s goals.
Arguably just as important as knowing what SEO works in 2016 is knowing what to stop spending your time on. That said, making predictions on what’s going to become less effective is more of a crapshoot as, outside of black hat methods, it’s much more difficult to take guesses on what search engines will value less.
Furthermore, odds are if one search engine relegates a ranking signal, another could maintain just as much emphasis on it, if not place an even greater worth.
As a general rule, the only white hat strategies which will suffer in the new year will be those which are borderline and could easily be seen as going the way of black hat in time, so be wary of those.
To your success in SEO in 2016!