What you thought you knew about SEO in 2016 is a different animal then what you thought SEO was all about. A recent series of informal chats with potential clients about SEO had me spending time dispelling all the usual SEO myths of years past about link building, keywords on page, meta keywords, tags, template’d area pages, emd’s and guest posts, oh and lets not forget those services from Fiver.
Perhaps with the ever changing algorithms and the new semantic search landscape, its far easier to understand and stick to SEO practices of the naughties rather then SEO in 2016.
SEO in 2016
Google has evolved and so has the user, link building still works but in the context of link earning, its about your product, its about satisfying your users intent in the moment.
“I want SEO because I want to show up first position in Google”
But what is your Goal?
“My goal is to show up first in Google”
NO: your Goal is to Sell More! …. and then, “Showing up in Google is a Consequence of the Success of your Product” and how well you put that marketing strategy into place.
You cant just say, I am going to build a website, add some products and cook up some SEO recipes that I found somewhere online. Then make my success ontop of my rankings.
NO: your products success has to come before that!
The SEO Evolution in 2016
Perhaps some of the leading experts in SEO will help you understand how far SEO has evolved and into 2016.
“In my opinion the most important thing for SEOs to focus on in 2016 is improving the quality of user experience on their web site(s)" Eric Enge
“I would say in 2016, new trends would be around AMP (accelerated mobile pages), keep up with being mobile friendly and HTTPS might become more important" Barry Schwartz
"SERPs are changing, and we’re still laser-focused on very small sets of keywords and a tiny microcosm of metrics. Meanwhile, verticals are expanding, Knowledge Graph is expanding, Google is pulling answers from our own sites, paid search is evolving, and mobile and desktop are diverging" Dr. Pete Meyers
"The user is more important than your content and, in fact, more important than Google itself. Google is but a single source of traffic, whereas the user lives on Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon, BuzzFeed, the New York Times, ESPN and more" Cyrus Shepard
"As a SEO, if you focus on creating the best product, content or even service for a user, you’ll increase your rankings over time." Neil Patel
“I believe the most important aspect that SEOs should focus on 2016 is technical SEO understanding" Aleyda Solis
"The best SEOs learned this long ago… Focus on collaboration with content creators. Leads come from traffic. Traffic comes from rank. Rank comes from links. Links come from relationships. Relationships come from collaboration" Andy Crestodina
“It’s not a one size fits all solution in 2016. If you’re a larger publisher or retailer I’d be looking strongly at both AMP and structured data (JSON-LD). If I were a SMB I’d be focusing on reviews. In the background, everyone would benefit from refocusing on the basics – in both technical and on-page optimization.” AJ Kohn
The article is well worth the read and includes thoughts from additional SEO experts such as: Marshall D. Simmonds, Bill Hartzer, Bill Hunt, Russ Jones, Ross Hudgens, Jeff Sauer, Mark Munroe, Brian Jensen and Lukasz Zelezny.
Satisfying The User in 2016
How do you make sure your marketing strategy and website line up with your user in 2016?
1. Be Present
When consumers use Search to find out about a specific product, service or topic, make sure you’re there waiting for them. Tools like Google Trends will help you figure out current search queries and trends within your niche. You’ll be able to understand what consumers are searching for. This will help you determine where your consumers are going and, therefore, where you need to be. You may want to improve SEO on your website or run a targeted Google Ads so that people searching for something specific are directed to your site. Once they get to your site, though, what can you do for them?
2. Be Helpful
Now that you know where and when to meet your potential customers, make sure that you’re useful when you connect with them. If you’re not, they’ll turn to a brand that is being helpful. According to research, 51% of mobile users have decided to purchase from a brand other than the one they assumed they would purchase from because the “winning” brand offered useful information. In order to be helpful, figure out the unique ways in which you can solve a problem or make life easier for the consumer in the micro-moment.
Provide inventory information, show a how-to video or offer easy checkout with an instant purchase button. How you direct them to the website should be thought out, too. For example, if your Google Ad says you have a how-to video that will help the with the topic they’re searching about, but the link goes to your homepage instead of the video, you’re going to lose that potential customer.
All consumers have an intent, start by looking at content that satisfies their intent:
- I Want to Know : “How can I lose weight?” or “Where can I find my credit score?”
- I Want to Go: The consumer wants to connect with a company that has a website that’s customizing information to a specific location.
- I Want to Do: Consumers need help right now with doing something or learning something.
- I Want to Buy: Give consumers the information and tools they need to make a purchase right at this moment.
In-Depth article on: Does your Site Satisfy your Consumers Intent?
On Page SEO in 2016
We primarily focus on our Local SEO services and as such our on page SEO advice is based upon local search, but don’t dismiss this too quickly, remember user intent #4 I Want to Go: The consumer wants to connect with a company that has a website that’s customizing information to a specific location.
2 Quality & Authority of Inbound Links to Domain
3 Quality & Authority of Inbound Links to Page
4 Physical Address in City of Search
5 Quality & Authority of Structured Citations
6 Product & Service Keyword in Website URL
7 Click-Through Rate from Search Results
8 City, County in Landing Page H1/H2 Tags
9 Consistency of Structured Citations
10 City, County in Most/All Website Title Tags
12 NAP Matching My Business Page
12 Geographic Keyword in Website URL
14 Quantity of Inbound Links to Domain
15 Location Keywords in Anchor Text of Links
16 Diversity of Inbound Links to Landing Page
17 Proximity of Address to the Point of Search
18 Quality & Authority of Unstructured Citations
19 Proper Category Associations
20 Quantity of Structured Citations
Read More on the: Top 20 Local Search Ranking Factors
As many as 75% of consumers research a business online before deciding whether or not to become a customer. Even if the consumer first heard about a business offline, they’ll still visit the website to check it out before becoming a customer.
Search engines aren’t the only way they’re finding local businesses online – four out of ten consumers use social media or review websites to search for a new business.
Overall, it’s clear that quality matters to consumers more than price. Reliability and trustworthiness are also factors that affect whether or not a customer uses a business. As SEO’s in 2016, we need to understand our clients business, their consumers and how to best meet their needs online.
Need help with your Local SEO, feel free to give us a call for a no obligations chat.