As 2015 draws to a close, it’s time to re-evaluate your SEO strategy and create the necessary adjustments to make your marketing campaigns more effective. There have been quite a lot of significant changes this year in terms of ranking factors, which means you have to stay on your toes and employ the techniques that would bring the best results. To maximize your chances of maintaining your rankings and dominating your niche, here are the best SEO tactics for 2016 you shouldn’t miss.
1. Come up with a solid content creation strategy.
The search engine bots have gotten a lot smarter, which means SEO practitioners who continue to try to game the system are likely to achieve very little, if any, success. You would do well by focusing your efforts toward crafting an effective content creation strategy. This is one area that has seen a significant shift over the past couple of years, with online users raving for rich media.
Interestingly, the average word count for the top-ranking pages in 2015 is around 1,200 words, up from 900 words the year before. This is an indication that you should continue providing valuable information through traditional text, but don’t forget to include photos, videos and other forms of media to enrich your content and make it more entertaining to online visitors. Several studies show that posts with photos and videos receive higher engagement rates than those without.
2. Send social signals to your website.
If you have yet to introduce your business to various social platforms, it’s about time you do so. Making a presence in social media can help you generate a lot of traffic to your site. In addition, studies suggest that consumers prefer doing business with brands that can be found both on search results and social sites. It isn’t necessary to use all social media sites. Just be sure that you use the platforms on which your target customers spend most of their time.
3. Improve your on-page SEO.
Far too many webmasters ignore the power of on-page SEO. If you’re guilty, then spend some time identifying the problem areas on your site before moving on to your off-page strategies. Using keywords still matter. You should continue incorporating keywords in your content, but you should be wiser when it comes to choosing what keywords to use. Rather than looking at search volume, you should consider search intent and find the most relevant keywords used by your target audience.
Also, do not underestimate internal links. In fact, the number of internal links on high ranking pages increased since 2014. This makes it easier for your online visitors to navigate your site and find relevant information to the topic they’re viewing.
4. Stop abusing link building.
Backlinks have long been considered the most important ranking factor by many SEO practitioners. There are a lot of tools that enable you to build thousands of backlinks to your site in a matter of a few clicks. But in order to make your off-page SEO effective, you should focus on building backlinks from high quality, relevant and authoritative websites. You don’t want links from low quality sites pointing back to yours.
When it comes to anchor text, using the same exact match keyword repeatedly can actually get your site penalized. Just as you try to diversify your link profile, it’s also important that you use different anchor texts when you’re building backlinks.
Google continues to refine their search algorithms, requiring SEO practitioners to adapt and keep up with the latest trends. Keep in mind that SEO today is largely about providing the most useful site to online users. Trying to cheat your way to the top probably won’t get you anywhere. If you want to stay in the game for the long haul, you would do well by following the tips mentioned above and focusing on providing the best user experience to your visitors.
Jonathan Leger is a freelance writer and small business owner. He runs a popular question and answer website at AnswerThis.co.