As we’re sure you’re already aware Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is becoming more and more important in an effective marketing strategy. To help you get the most out of search engines, we have put together our SEO tips for 2016. If you follow our tips you’re sure to improve and start moving up the pages on Google and other search engines.
SEO, where to start?
We have to start with Google, it would be rude not to. Towards the end of 2015, Google released their latest search quality guidelines, a mere 160 pages long and not yet completed according to Mimi Underwood, Google Senior Program Manager and Search Growth & Analysis. She went on to say that the guidelines are forever changing and just because the document has been published, it isn’t always going to be 100% accurate due to how SEO evolves and how people use it. She did say however, that although Google wouldn’t update every minor change, they would try and publish big changes to the guidelines as they happen.
Google decided to release the guidelines for transparency reasons, after previous versions of the guidelines were leaked back in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2014. On top of this, Google stated that the guidelines need a major review due to the huge increase of mobile phone searches.
Search Quality Guidelines – what are they?
Basically, it’s a document that allows us to see how SEO works. It allows us to understand what Google is looking for in a web page and shows how to get your web page to the top of search engines. Google works this out by measuring a site’s Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. If Google can see you have managed your SEO effectively and you tick all three boxes then you are going to see your web page move up the rankings.
Is it Important?
The guidelines are vital for anyone who is involved in SEO or content marketing. It allows you to see what it takes to get to the top of the search rankings which is invaluable information as an SEO professional and even Web Designers.
The Pick of The Bunch
We understand that you might not want to look through all 160 pages of the document so we have put together a short list of key pages to make it a little easier for you.
- Your Money or Your Life (page 9)
- Website Maintenance/Reputation (page 15/16)
- Overall Page Quality Rating Scale (page 19)
- High-Quality Pages (page 19-23)
- Page Quality Rating: Important Considerations (page 58-59
- Page Quality Rating FAQs (page 65)
The Mobile User Needs (page 67-86) is also worth a read and will give you an idea of how Google is dealing with the growing influence of smart phones on their search engine.
Despite the latest guidelines from Google about SEO, a lot of people are still making mistakes when it comes to their own SEO. We’ve constructed a list of the most common SEO mistakes you’re able to avoid them.
Key Word Cramming
Previously, keywords were vital to ensuring that your content was successful in the eyes of search engines. This led to a lot of people cramming in their keyword wherever they could, often making the article very clunky and not very nice to read, for example.
Keyword cramming isn’t good. Keyword cramming makes text hard to read and keyword cramming isn’t liked by the search engines, this means keyword cramming is actually bad for SEO. Why is keyword cramming bad for SEO? Because search engines can see straight through keyword cramming.
Whilst writing content, remember more is less when it comes to the keywords of the article, you need to balance getting the keyword in the content whilst still making reading the content enjoyable for the reader.
Alternatively, some people have dropped keywords all together. This allows you to just write naturally and not even consider having to it in a certain keyword in to an article – although this arguably makes for a easier read for the viewer, it gives search engines no guidance at all, meaning your wasting your time. SEO experts understand that there is still a need for keywords but make sure you do your research on your keywords – find your niche. At Local Buzz Marketing we like to write without keywords in mind, focussing more on the actual article itself.
This is a killer, once upon a time you were able to put around 300 words in your blog post and be around the top of the search results. More recently search engines have started to look at websites with little content, seeing them as ‘low-quality’, this therefore leads to a lower ranking. You page should have at least 1000 words in it, as well as being easy to read with optimised images.
Duplicating content is one of the quickest ways to be moved to the bottom of a search engine, don’t do it! not only is it awful for SEO purposes but it is also illegal.
To avoid being slammed by the People Penguin update, you need to ensure that you have eliminated any ‘spammy links’ that you could possibly have in your page. Make sure that all the links you are putting in your article are different, don’t constantly link your keyword with the same hyperlink. If you’re just realising that this is what you have been doing, its a absolutely huge task to remove all of your links and has been likened to clearing your house after a flood, which you will need an SEO expert (like us) to help you.
No Link Building
Link farms gave linking in articles a bad name, the truth is that linking is still valuable for your SEO. Having said that, for your links to have the impact your hoping for you need to do your research, only link to relevant websites that are within your industry.
Treating SEO and Content Separately
SEO and content are almost identical, they go hand in hand together. Good content with a bad SEO strategy (e.g no keywords) is a waste of time and vice versa. Lots of good quality content will keep your blog active but unless your blog has its fair share of keywords, genuine inbound and outbound links then you’re not going to see your blog move up the rankings, making the great content a waste of time.
Just before you’re about to post your amazing new article, there are a few final things you need to make sure that you do. Its not just the content and keywords that are going to help you move up the rankings, you need to make sure that your whole post is perfect in the eyes of search engines. This means you need to optimised the title, description and all image tags.
SEO tips for 2016
Now that we have shown you what not to do with your SEO, it’s only fair that we share a few of our tips with you.
Content is King
Content will always be number one when it comes to SEO strategies. Every blogger should write good, unique content for their blog – this is the best way of ensuring you will move up the rankings on search engines. Here at Local Buzz, we recommend that you should at least be writing 500 words and making sure everything is optimised, including the title and the images.
Make your blog easy to read – search engines like user friendly blogs. Make sure that the structure of the article is clear and there are appropriate headings and sub headings which break up the text. And finally, don’t forget to include your keyword!
Sharing your blog on social media is the best way to increase your traffic and this is a technique used by most bloggers. As it increases the traffic to your website, this will move you up in the search engine results page due to the number of organic traffic increasing. Therefore, sign up for every major social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc) and start sharing your blogs all over the web.
This links the previous two tips together. Write good quality content on a regular basis and try and post on your blog as much as you can as this will make your blog more visible on search engines result pages. You will also be able to be more active on social media, increasing the amount of traffic going to your site.
Building quality links is a vital part of any SEO strategy. Backlinks are any inbound links or incoming links which are received by a website from a different website. Without backlinks your SEO won’t be successful this is because search engines often check the number of backlinks of a website so it can determine the websites SERP Ranking, Popularity, Value and Importance on the web. Therefore it is always a good idea to try and increase the amount of backlinks to your blog, you can use dropmylink.com or linkcollider.com to find similar blogs to yours, after you have found a similar blog it’s a good idea to comment on other blogs by leaving your site URL, Guest Posting on other websites and from Social Media which will help with your backlinks. We understand that this can be confusing and if you feel like you need help with your SEO, don’t hesitate to contact us.
We’re sure you’re aware of how big mobiles have become. Therefore it’s massively important your whole website is mobile friendly and it looks good. Remember, 2 billion people are surfing the web on their mobiles therefore you’d be silly not to consider them.
There are many more SEO strategies that will also be beneficial to you, these are just the guidelines and we wanted to try and help you understand the way search engines work. These are the just some of the SEO tips that we use to help us and our clients with their quest for success online. If you follow these tips and try and stay away from the mistakes that we mentioned earlier you should start to see your ranking on search engines improve.
Thank you for reading our SEO tips for 2016, if you need any help with your SEO, we’re here to help so don’t hesitate to contact us!