Search engine optimization, also referred to as SEO, is a living, breathing process that changes often.
In order for your website to gain maximum visibility on the web, there are different elements you need to take into consideration.
You may think your website is SEO friendly as-is and doesn't need any alterations, but it's likely the rules of the SEO game aren't the same as when you first began.
Don't let your website fall behind your competitors' websites. In this case, change leads to something better.
Here are some of the changes you'll need to make to succeed this year:
In 2016, it's more likely than not that your audience is utilizing all different types of devices. Today, mobile devices are used for almost everything, not just communicating with friends and family.
From smartphones to tablets and everything else in-between, your website needs to be able to adapt to them all.
Mobile advertising, mobile commerce, mobile applications, and mobile friendly websites are expected to grow throughout 2016.
Mobile optimization is an important factor when it comes to Google's search results. If your website isn't compatible on a mobile device, it's not compatible with Google's first page results.
So, what is it that will make your website compatible with mobile devices? For one, you need to consider the design structure.
While Google recommends responsive web design, there is also dynamic serving and separate URLs.
Also, make sure all the buttons are easy to click. Buttons that are too small or too close together negatively impact user experience and will drive them away from the page.
The social sharing buttons are important examples. Since most social media users are accessing their accounts through mobile devices, having functional share buttons can make all the difference.
Mobile optimization also benefits the loading time. Visitors will leave your page if it takes too long to load. It goes against the convenience of mobile devices.
Practicing local SEO will allow those in your area to see that your business or organization is nearby through their search engines, as well as set you apart from local competitors.
One of the best ways to accomplish this is by utilizing local keyword optimization. This means adding keywords to your website that signify where your business or organization is located.
If someone is searching for a hair salon in Boston, Massachusetts, it's likely they are going to type in something along the lines of "hair salons Boston" or "Boston hair salons".
In this case, you most certainly want to be optimizing for those keywords if you're the owner of that hair salon.
To find the best variations of keywords relating to Boston hair salons, use Google's Keyword Planner. You can then add them to URLs, title tags, meta descriptions, and H1 headings, just don't over use them.
Another way to get your business or organization recognized locally is by placing it on all the major local business directories, as well as industry specific directories.
These directories receive a large amount of traffic and will heavily increase your chances of your business or organization being found.
Related Article: SEO Friendly vs. SEO Strategy: Why They Both Matter to Business
Satisfy User Intent
It's all about giving people what they want to see, not just what you want them to see. When users click on your content, they're looking for something specific.
The goal is to not only get them to your page, it's to provide them with an answer. The ideal situation is for them to click your page, find exactly what they need and not go back for other results. If you satisfy the user's intent, it's more likely the user will save it or even share it with others.
The best way to qualify as user intent is by thinking in terms of do, know and go. These users typically want to do something (possibly buying intent), know something (possibly an answer to a question or a solution to a problem) or go somewhere (possibly driving directions).
Along with ranking higher, longer articles receive more traffic than shorter articles. For the best results, aim for 800 to 1,500 words, but don't let the word count make you lose sight of the article's purpose.
Filling the article with fluff to reach a desired word count will not work to your advantage. The phrase "quality content is king" doesn't flow as nicely as "content is king," but quality content wins in SEO.
Google decided to put this into action to provide its users with the most informative and useful results.
Google has its users in mind, you should too. Not only does the proper length allow for more visibility, it allows for more keyword use. It's not recommended to stuff your content with keywords, but the length gives you a little more flexibility.
If you don't feel as though your website is up to speed with all of these new changes, then now is the time to reanalyze your plan.
Familiarize yourself with Google's Webmaster Guidelines if you aren't already.
You can be practicing something that Google is penalizing you for without realizing it. If that's the case, and maybe you've been doing this for a long time, a penalty clean up is possible.
It's fairly easy to recover from if you follow the proper steps.