There is very little that hasn’t been said about Search Engine Optimization, if you’re paying close attention. But if you’re not I will try to give you a quick rundown from a practical point of view for implementing SEO in 2106 in a ten item list. I create websites at a Search Engine Optimization company, and I believe we do this in an extremely cost-effective and competitive way in comparison to any other agency whose work I’ve seen in our area of Minneapolis, Minnesota. But this isn’t a sales article, I just wanted you to know that I have been operating in this space for years now.
Here’s a clear and to-the-point list of 10 things that will help your SEO in 2016:
1. Get your N.A.P. listings correct everywhere on the internet. N.A.P. listings stand for Name, Address and Phone Number and having them all be the same and correct is a signal that you are a reputable business and legitimate to search engines.
2. Get your Google listing verified by address, and pay special attention to your reviews – reminding happy customers or clients to submit a review and providing the link to do so.
3. Create content about your industry and things your customers would appreciate – Post on a regular basis to serve these customers, share value, and entertain. By doing so you attract more eyes through google search and image search and make it easier for people to find you as this content serves as ongoing clues to search engines of what the site is about and that it’s content is fresh. It doesn’t have to a ‘blog’, but blogs are actually in fashion these days and whatever you do, you should have a ‘content strategy’ of how you are going to add to your content ‘buckets’ on a regular basis.
4. Links still matter. Alot. Guest Post, and share content with influencers to get noticed and mentioned on other trusted and reputable sites. The more links on non-social media sites that are huge and trusted you have (for instance Lifehack.org, business.com, Huffington Post, Elite Daily etc.), the more likely your site will be indexed quickly and represented highly in search results. Get links to your homepage, avoid spammy repetitive anchor text, and use the brand + keyword, and the raw URL as much as possible, but keep it feeling natural and take it slow. Get a strategy for earning these links on a regular basis and build outreach into your regular habits if online visibility is important to you.
5. There are now more options for publishers like Facebook Instant articles, and Google AMP to serve content quickly. You can hook your site up to these systems in a way to quickly serve content. Currently I’ve implemented Google AMP on my site, but this trend will grow as these sites are incentivized by user base to serve content more quickly and get people in and out of where they want to go. 3 second load times are a hindrance to that. Utilizing Google AMP will start to affect search engine results soon, they’ve said.
6. Using Schema markup for important bits like Address and Phone Number should be standard. And you can push yourself a bit by using Schema in definitions and other key bits of information to try to be the breakout answer that Google features, for an even better listing. Schema is essentially meta data that helps Google serve up information more quickly to searchers and categorize information at it’s core.
7. Watch out for duplicate content, make sure you’re sharing original stuff. Don’t serve up content that can find elsewhere on the internet, as search engines can catch onto this pretty easily and it won’t help your ranking, in fact it can hurt it badly if it’s done often.
8. Share original visual content, infographics, and add a lot of pictures and videos to long posts. To keep people on a page longer and to make it valuable, visuals, infographics and entertaining or valuable pictures and videos keep people on and also to earn links, particularly in the case of original graphics and infographics.
9. The more content Google has to crawl, the more information it has to categorize what you do and it’s algorithm can ‘more confidently’ serve up your site and your articles.
10. Base everything you do on trying to be useful and entertain to get more “Dwell time.” Put yourself in the shoes of searchers and give them more information than they even were looking for. Try to mix visual content with useful copy that informs that has clear and clean hierarchy to make sure the site comes off as high-quality and reputable.
This is the stuff that will help attract people off of search engines, now you’ve got to help them “convert.”
And so, my next article will be “The Ten Things you Need to know about Conversion Rate Optimization” in 2016, but I’ll give you this hint: it all has to do with giving them the right, clear information, and making sure your company feels authoritative, reputable and trustworthy.