SEO Fundamentals For 2016
While SEO has evolved into a complex industry with many strategies, it still has some fundamental aspects. No matter how you want to personalize your approach, there are some basics that you must adhere to, just the same as every other website owner.
Keywords, content, and linkbuilding are all important aspects of search engine optimization. However, how they are viewed by the search engines has changed.
Here is a fundamental guide to what websites will need for SEO in 2016.
Correct use of keywords.
Keywords are still important for SEO. You still need to do research on search terms and phrases that users will type into Google or Bing in order to find sites such as yours. However, you must be very careful when using them. You can’t just center a page around a keyword. The context in which it is used is just as important – if not more so – than the keyword itself. Also, it’s recommended that you focus on long-tail keywords. The more specific, the better.
The page title, subheadings, meta data, images, and content should all be optimized. Google tends to show a preference for longer bodies of content, of 900+ words. However, there are instances when it’s simply not practical to have that many words on a page. The most important thing is to include all of the important points about the page’s topic. Visitors won’t want to read 900+ words if most of it is filler.
Having a mobile-friendly site has only become a fundamental aspect of SEO within the past couple of years. By 2016, every website should have a mobile version of its layout. It should be accessible by all users, no matter what kind of computer or mobile device they are using. Everything should be easy to read. Images should scale properly.
Page load speed
Google rewards sites that load very quickly. If a page is bogged down and takes more than a few seconds to load, it will not rank very high. It contributes to a bad user experience. It also leads to an increase bounce rate, which will hurt rankings in itself. Use site speed tests to find out if everything loads quickly. If not, some modifications will be in order. GT Metrix is a great tool to use for testing and analysis.
Proper content structure
It doesn’t matter whether you just have a couple of hundred words on a page or two thousand, the content should be structured properly. It should be structured in a logical way for both the user and search engines. Use bullet lists to break up content into smaller chunks. In addition to the text itself, the images and interactive elements should be structured for user-friendliness. The site menu and buttons should be located in convenient spots and not out of the way.
When it comes to off-site SEO, it’s best to get backlinks from sites and sources that actually matter. Ten years ago it was common for a lot of website owners to spam their URLs to thousands of link farms and directories. While linkbuilding is still important this is NOT the right way to do it. Aim to get backlinks from sites related to your industry that are vouched by Google. You will also want other people sharing and ReTweeting your content across social media.
These are the important SEO fundamentals for 2016. We can only wonder how relevant many of these will be five or ten years from now.