It’s 2016 and we are in the last quarter of the year. Are you still employing the same dysfunctional SEO strategies you used in 2015? More often than not, marketers wonder why SEO is not working for them. For a greater percentage of these people, the realization that there have been tremendous shifts in search engine ranking factors over the past few years is yet to dawn on them. If you are going to make it through in 2016 and close the year on the winning side, you will need to re-evaluate your strategies. SEO success doesn’t just happen; it’s worked for. Being sensitive to the gradual changes in search engine ranking algorithms is essential in ensuring that. To work it out, you need a guide and the detailed SEO cheat sheet below tells it all.
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Long gone are the days when search engine optimization and content marketing were different aspects. Today, the two go hand in hand. To dominate the SEO race, you need to up your content marketing skills. How do you achieve this?
For one, you will need to set your goals right. You will never know whether you are making progress until you are able to discern how closer you are to the ultimate destination. In the case of content marketing, setting goals keeps you focused. Where does content marketing meet SEO? Seek to identify the overlapping activities between the two marketing strategies. How do you want content marketing to boost your search engine results? Is it through increased links or user traffic?
Goals aside, you need to establish key performance indicators for content marketing to boost your search engine optimization efforts. Such indicators are key in tracking your performance. Things like online user engagement, links to content and call to action conversion rates among others can serve as critical KPIs. Even more, the need for highly optimized SEO content is almost inevitable when it comes to effective content marketing. Impressing the search engines is easy as including high impression keywords in your content. Nevertheless, you should be keen not to overdo keyword density because it might hurt your rankings. Most importantly, you should be keen on tracking your performance and checking the statistics. When used effectively, tools like Google Analytics will help you know the contents that attracted more visitors and the widely searched keywords.
There was a time when keyword was synonymous to SEO. One just needed to perfect the art of keyword research to carry. So much seems to have changed over the years. However, the primary principles of keyword remain almost unscathed. The definitive guide to effective keyword research remains the same. To know the exact words your customers are possibly using to search your business, you need to go some steps further.
Although these strategies can work a great way in finding the appropriate keywords for contents and sites, you must acknowledge the fact that the direct relationship between keyword and higher search engine rankings has shifted tremendously. Instead of contents focusing on particular keywords, you should have your contents centred on particular themes that are of significant interest to your readers and then effectively use keywords within.
Over the years, organic links have established themselves as critical search engine ranking components. More precisely, increasing the number of internal links within one’s site is almost unavoidable. Worth noting however, your link structure is even more important than the number of links within your content. For the best SEO results, you need to optimist your internal link structure. You will not only be able to keep many users glued on your pages but also satisfy the web spiders when they crawl through your website.
Besides optimization of internal links, you also need to work a long way in generating powerful back-links to your pages. It is always important for you to seek better ways of having people link back to you. For one, you can do big industry interviews and have them link back to your site. Alternatively, you can work closely with large publication that can even recommend better link for you. Creating back-links doesn’t necessarily mean accepting links from all sources. You need to filter your list. Tools like Majestic SEO can help you further in establishing organic link. This tool helps you identify your competitor’s close links. Using Google Analytics, you can analyse such links, focusing on how they were obtained and building strategies on acquiring similar links or even better ones. Having influential websites link to your site can have tremendous effects in boosting your search engine campaigns.
However much paining it might be, letting go of old link building habits is necessary. If you are to make it through 2016 and beyond with your SEO strategies, then ideas like reaching out webmasters for links, manual submission of your site to web directories and leaving spammy contents with links should be gone. Such tactics not only compromise your efforts but can also see you get some penalties
On-site SEO is all about optimizing the internal structure of your website together with its contents. If carried out perfectly, it can step up your SEO efforts in a greater way. Starting with the content, the word count should be relatively long. Long gone are the days when short contents with higher keywords density were enough for higher rankings. Things have changed. According to Searchmetric’s 2015 Ranking Factors Report, the average high-ranking content is between 1140 and 1285 words. In 2014, it was just 912 words. What does this suggest? Users are becoming more sensitive to comprehensive content. Simply writing short contents and brushing over important topics isn’t going to get you where you want to be.
Yet again, you need to embrace appropriate use of headers and Meta tags. According to a recent survey, it was disclosed that 99% of top ranking pages have meta-descriptions and 4 out of every five of them have H1 tags. Why should yours be an exception? Observably, you don’t just need meta tags, you need highly optimized meta descriptions and headers. They might not necessarily boost your SEO rankings, but are certainly critical influences of click-through rates.
Well, it has been used as a critical link building strategy for long and is still effective. Its effectiveness in building inbound links is undeniable. Truth be told however, so much has changed over the years with regards to guest blogging. Simply sending short low quality posts isn’t going to get the work done. Unless you are ready to send informative and engaging content to related websites, you will be better off without this strategy. Sending low quality posts to other sites not only denies you organic back-links but also hurts your reputation as a brand.
Yet again, you need to be very careful on the kind of posts you accept as guest blogs. You aren’t just going to accept any article submitted. They need to pass through a quality checker and be deemed fit for gracing your pages. Key among the considerations should be word count, quality, and keyword optimization. This way, you will be able to boost the content capacity in your site even as you achieve quality in bound links.
SEO is wide and stepping up your campaigns can be more involving than what we’ve covered. Other strategies like promoting your content on social media can never be left out. Although the number of likes, followers or comments might not have direct impact on search engine rankings, continued social media campaigns can boost your rankings through user-engagement. The fact that social signals do not count as signal should never put you off from optimizing social media usage. You still need Twitter, Facebook, Reedit and other outstanding social media platforms to step up your SEO campaigns.
It is 2016 and any old SEO tactic that’s not going to improve your rankings is not worth wasting your efforts or resources on. From now going forward, you need to make informed decisions if you are to materialist the dream of winning the ever-competitive SEO race.