2016 has barely grown beyond its first month and the SEO world is already shaking. One with all the recent dances in the SERPs and the up-and-coming Google Penguin 4.0 algorithm update, a lot of tremors and imagination of the future has been arising in marketers, which to be honest, I can’t fully understand.
SEO is and has always been so easy and I don’t understand why people complicate it so much all the time. Now, to show you just that, I decided to ask 80 SEO experts for their #1 SEO tip for 2016. Warning: you will be hearing the words “content” and “backlinks” a lot throughout the tips.
As I told you, SEO is pretty simple and straightforward, and those two things I mentioned above are basically all you need in order to rank. Now, each SEO I interviewed has their own unique “twists” of what the best thing you can do in terms of SEO in 2016 is, so bare with me.
I suggest you read through all of them (even if you read only the headings) not only because you will learn something (maybe, I don’t know how much you know), but also because you will see how other people, doing the same thing you are doing, think and act to get the results they, and perhaps you want. Here we go.
2016 SEO Tip #1: Create Content That Screams “Share Me”
Douglas Karr from DK New Media, thinks that shareable content is the key to SEO in 2016:
Creating remarkable content that is successfully shared socially is a strong indicator of it’s ability to be linked to for search ranking. Infographics stand out as a great strategy to research, create, share, and do paid promotion on. The links will follow, as will top rankings.
2016 SEO Tip #2: Focus On User Engagement
Oren Greenberg, a Digital Marketing Strategist & Head of Search at Kurve, said that SEOs in 2016 must focus on the user engagement metrics of their website:
2016 sees a shift in Google to a greater focus on user engagement on site. Make sure to focus on CRO (a great tool to automate these insights is Reactful, and Optimizely is the market leader in small/medium size businesses for running tests).
Moz is a great SME tool for managing SEO campaigns with arguable one of the best blogs on inbound marketing. Nonetheless, the core of SEO will still be backlinks, only way to go about achieving those authoritative endorsements is through crafting high quality content.
2016 SEO Tip #3: Research & Document Your Customers’ Questions
Aalap Shah, the Co-Founder of SoMe Connect, recommended businesses to take notes of their customers’ queries:
Research and document the questions that customers are asking you when they pick up the phone, walk in, or email to do business with you. Base keyword research on actual purchase intent vs. what you think/feel your business is.
Focusing in on these opportunities will allow you to position yourself in the SERPs for voice and mobile search (think Siri here) and also online as these are the words and phrases that will lead to conversion.
2016 SEO Tip #4: Produce High Quality Content That People Want
Dr. Fait Muedini, the Founder of International Relations, basically said to give the people what they want – in high quality format:
The best SEO tips that I would recommend are two in particular: Produce great in-depth quality content, and also ensure that that content lines up with what users are looking for.
Using keyword research, you can see how many times a keyword is being searched. Then once you find terms that relate to your business, you want to produce rich content around those keywords. It is imperative to put in work developing detailed and useful content.
2016 SEO Tip #5: Use High Authority Expired Domains
I’m really surprised by how many people are not aware of private blog networks, let alone knowing how to set them up properly. Jean H. Paldan, the Managing Director of Rare Form New Media, said that finding and then using high authority expired domains and their backlinks is a great way to boost your SEO:
My best SEO tip is to buy expired domains that have a high page authority and have a lot of broken backlinks. Simply order the domain, then fix the already in place backlinks to point to the site you are looking to promote. It is a great way to get solid links, but it does take patience and time to do the research.
2016 SEO Tip #6: Pick Your Keywords Wisely
Cameron Garrant, and Inbound Marketing Specialist at Repsly, said that you need to make sure that your content contains keywords that you actually want to rank for:
2016 will see many established rankings start to fluctuate, if the beginning of the year is any indication of what is to come. Making sure that your content is supported with related keywords and given authority from related sites will grow in importance as the year goes on.
Over-optimization of on-page elements that sacrifice user experience has already started to negatively affect many sites. At Repsly, we use tools such as SEMrush to discover overlap in supporting keyword rankings throughout the top 10 SERP for our target keywords, and then build valuable content around those keywords.
2016 SEO Tip #7: Add CRO To Your SEO
Chris Lucas, VP of Marketing at Formstack, basically said that your SEO efforts, after all, need to bring in results:
Conversion rate optimization improves your website’s performance. It doesn’t help people discover your webpages in the first place. That’s what SEO fundamentals – title tags, meta descriptions, keywords, etc – are for.
CRO can help turn these essential SEO elements into conversions. Have you identified the call to action that leads to the most form submissions? Put it in your home page title tag. What benefit statements resonate with your ideal customers? Rephrase and add them to meta descriptions, subheads, and page content.
These “snippets” and sound bites of compelling copy can increase your chances of showing up in relevant search engine results pages. And they’ll generate profitable clicks at the same time.
2016 SEO Tip #8: SEO Has Changed, But It Also Hasn’t
Brandon Doyle, an Assistant General Manager at Rank First Local, still believes in the power the comes with great content:
Although SEO is different than it was five years ago or even last year, it’s really not. In 2016, the best way to get your web pages ranked in the top SERP positions is to create content with high value, for example, relevant information to your industry, product, service, or customers, and earn backlinks from trustworthy sites.
Share your content as much as you can, but with strategy, to earn links from media outlets, other local businesses, and trusted sources within your community. Links from .GOV or .EDU sites are the best.
2016 SEO Tip #9: Answer Queries With Content
Scott Benson, Founder of Benson SEO, said that you should think of each search query as a question that needs answering:
Each phrase entered on search engines is a query, a question that needs answering. Creating content to address those questions is a great SEO strategy to drive targeted traffic. These are visitors who know exactly the information or service they are looking for, and so they are primed to convert at a much higher rate.
2016 SEO Tip #10: Integrate Video
Edward Sturm from EdwardSturm.com, said that you should focus on media in 2016:
Domains with the highest authority are integrating all forms of media. 2016 in SEO will be the year of integrating video into websites. Many users prefer it to text and it can increase on page time.
Wistia is a great resource for this, and I predict that they’re going to grow their dominance as an SEO friendly platform for business video.
2016 SEO Tip #11: Utilize Structured Data
Julian Connors, the Organic Search Strategist at Anvil Media, recommends SEOs to focus on structured data in 2016:
SEO strategists and digital marketing enthusiasts will want to utilize structured data, specifically rich snippets, in 2016 in order to:
- Increase immediate visibility.
- Increase CTR.
- Increase consumer confidence for those who are not loyal to a specific brand.
- Increase monthly conversions.
Having recently implemented this particular tactic with an international brand that specializes in home audio solutions, Anvil noticed the following metrics that were brought to fruition within one week:
- Total traffic – 2% YoY (75,733 consumers to 76,989).
- Shop/Play5 – 762 individual consumers increase since January 27. 10% increase in consumers (776 to 850) compared to the same previous time.
- Shop/PlayBar – 1728 individual consumers increase since January 27. 18% increase in consumers (1588 to 1869) compared to the same previous time. 177% increase in revenue ($5,598.34 to $15,503.65) compared to the same previous time.
Of course, social SEO will continue to be a must for brands that are interested in gaining immediate visibility within the SERPs for individual forms of content.
2016 SEO Tip #12: Catching Up To Speed
Sometime SEOs are so focused on finding the perfect strategy, or the next big backlinks tactic, that the fundamentals get overlooked. Site speed is one of many algorithm signals that determine search ranking.
According to a recent study, average page load speed is directly affected by rankings. Fix this step and users will reward you with less bounce, and more engagement.
2016 SEO Tip #13: Research & Understand The Top Ranking Content
Kevin Pike, President at Rank Fuse Interactive, think that you should simply research the top content in your niche and then model that to create the “next best thing”:
If you want to rank with the best, you simply need to actually develop content that is the best. Start with some keywords or phrases you want to rank for and spend time looking at today’s winning results.
Doing this is an important step beyond keyword research people often miss. By fully understanding the types of content it takes to be #1, it becomes much easier to develop better ideas to trump the status quo and become the next #1 ranking.
2016 SEO Tip #14: Focus On Locations & Licensed Professionals
Adam Broetje, CEO at Odd Dog Media, suggested something a little bit different than the conventional SEO tip:
Businesses that have multiple locations and/or licensed professionals in their business can get a big win by focusing on citation cleanup and creating a dedicated page on the site for each location/professional.
While there has been some buzz about this for locations the past year or two, most have missed focusing on their licensed professionals. It’s a good idea to find a review monitoring system as well to keep up on your locations’ and professionals’ online reputation.
2016 SEO Tip #15: Give & Give Back
Michael Heiligenstein, the Manager of Communications, Marketing, and Content at Fit Small Business, proposed the using the good old give and you shall receive strategy:
Too many webmasters are paranoid that linking to other sites will hurt their own rankings. That’s only true when you link to spammy or unrelated sites. Many of our top articles have dozens of links and still rank in the top 2 for popular searches.
Linking to relevant content can help your rankings, especially when you reach out to the people you’ve featured and see if they would link back to your article. We’ve experienced enormous success with this method.
2016 SEO Tip #16: The Relationship Between Relationships & Links
Daniel Horning, Founder of SEO Eclectic, urged people to focus on relationships, not just links:
Build better links. Obviously? But what does better mean? The search engines have continued to emphasize on the importance of building real relationships on the web – earning links from other sites because they know, trust and like you.
True relationships on the web continue on past one interaction… beyond just one links. So even though one followed link from one domain is all we need as we’re building, don’t discount the power of a 2nd, 3rd, and more links as you continue the relationship with that domain you guest posted for one time.
Sure, the links themselves aren’t passing as much, if any link juice because they’re coming from the same domain. But they are probably passing trust signals to the engines – and the only thing sweeter than link juice is trust.
2016 SEO Tip #17: Make Sure Your Customers Find You Before Your Competition
Tamara Budz, the Managing Director at Silver Shade Group, recommends businesses focus on compelling copy and engaging content:
The best SEO advice I can offer any business is to write better copy and create engaging content. Determine the keywords that your audience uses when they search for your products and services.
Use those words on your site and within your articles to ensure that your potential customers find you, rather than your competition.
2016 SEO Tip #18: Forget About Discovery – Think In Terms Of Relevancy
Christiano Ferraro, a Managing Member at Christiano Ferraro Consultancy, said that businesses in 2016 should shift their focus from discovery to relevancy:
SEO in 2016 is no longer about discovery, but about relevancy. With the increased pressure to incorporate user experience, the right message to the right audience gets us there.
The big tip to keep in mind? Keyword research executed along with a content strategy. Write the content that matters, then do the research to translate the value in the message so it’s understood by the SERPs to put you in front of the right audience.
Research with the intent on how to be found and not what to write about.
2016 SEO Tip #19: Think Multimedia
Kent Lewis, President & Founder of Anvil Media, said that you should think in terms of multimedia:
Google appears to appreciate multimedia assets like video, images and audio over the written word. Since video has 5x higher recall than written word, why no lead with video?
HD video has the additional benefit of being transportable to images, audio and transcribed to text, so you have four media outputs from one single video.
2016 SEO Tip #20: Take a Holistic Approach To SEO
Jonathan Gilde, Director of Operations at BrightHaus, basically said that balance is key in SEO for 2016:
It’s more important than ever to take a holistic approach to search marketing. Brands need to optimize their site for proper keywords, utilize social media and email marketing when appropriate, and seek out backlink opportunities.
2016 SEO Tip #21: Perfect Your URL Structure
Emily Pierce, a Search Engine Marketing Specialist at OuterBox, said that SEOs need to make their URL structure search engine friendly:
URLs describe a website to search engines so it’s important that they are relevant and describe each page. A poor URL structure that includes number strings, symbols, and non-descriptive content can not only affect rankings on search engines, it’s bad for user experience as well.
2016 SEO Tip #22: Create Embeddable Assets
Tim Ohlrich, Senior SEO Manager at Straight North, said that you should include some embeddable assets on your website:
Having linkable assets are great when it comes to getting people to link back to your site. Tough part is most of the time they are linking to your asset and not the more important page on your site.
Which is why in 2016 I am making all of our site’s assets have an embeddable piece to them. When I show a publisher a helpful checklist, video, or tutorial, I can offer them an embeddable version to place on their site.
That way their readers have quicker access to it, and if the topic is close to one of my service pages, I can source credit it with a link to that page along with the original resource.
2016 SEO Tip #23: Perfect Your Internal Linking Structure
David Waterman, Senior Director of Earned Media/SEO at The Search Agency, recommends SEOs to take notes of their internal linking structure:
Keep an eye on your internal link structure. New content and navigation changes can create a tangled mess of internal links. You can leverage Google Search Console to monitor this.
2016 SEO Tip #24: Stop Using Bland Templates
Matt Boehler, SEO Manager at All Campus, is sick of the general outreach approach that people take. Get creative guys:
Already this year I’ve got 3 emails from people using that same “we’ve been out of touch for one of the following reasons” pitch. You know, the one where the fourth reason to why you aren’t responding is because you’re trapped under something heavy and then the PS at the bottom says they’ll send help.
Nothing about it is personalized. In my experience I’ve had more success with outreach when the email references 2 – 3 points to who I’m sending it to.
2016 SEO Tip #25: Be Wary Of Internal Duplicate Content
Duplicate content still runs ramped, but not necessarily across the web. Internal duplicate content is common still today. There are a few ways to identify internal duplicate content:
2016 SEO Tip #26: Diversify Your Anchors Distribution
Yuval Aharon from Rated Radar Detector, diverted our attention to anchors, and more specifically their distribution:
Links are the #1 factor in SEO, we all know that. But where [do] links come from? They come from [via] anchors – it could be naked URLs, it could be exact keywords, and it could be LSI or generic anchors, btu we always find ourselves unsure of the type of anchors we should be using.
Well, in 2016, you are going to need to use all of them, but in order to get the best results, you have to do it wisely. I always see people investing fortunes in PBN and EDU links without getting any results, because it’s all about anchors diversity.
Use the low quality anchors (naked, generics) with lower quality links like profiles or blog comments. Then use the middle quality anchors (LSI) with middle quality links like Web 2.0s. And finally, use the high quality anchors (exact match) with high quality links like PBN and EDU links.
2016 SEO Tip #27: Ask Yourself If This Is Something You Would Link To
Nick Calloway, the Founder of WFHGuide.com, said that you should write content that you yourself would share:
The best tip I can offer is to always ask yourself “is this something I would link to?” after every article you write, and be brutally honest. If it’s not, then re-work the piece until it is. Backlinks are king when it comes to SEO.
If you wouldn’t link to your own content, then why would anyone else?
2016 SEO Tip #28: Set Up Your Google+ Business Profile
My best SEO tip for local businesses who want to take charge of their own SEO is to set up a Google+ business profile to increase visibility in search results. When a prospective customer looks for a product or service in your area, Google Maps will automatically display your company information, directions to your business, and even customer reviews.
Remember, it’s all about getting found – and Google+ will help you with that. Also, don’t forget to verify your Google+ business listing so you can update your info and photos to attract more customers to your business.
2016 SEO Tip #29: Produce Relevant Content
Nick Leffler, Owner of Your Brand by Nick Leffler, said that you should focus on relevant content:
Relevant content to your audience will always remain the top SEO tactic. Google and other search engines are always looking to deliver their visitors more relevant content. Just ranking high will not keep a visitor, you must also deliver quality content that is relevant.
2016 SEO Tip #30: Don’t Panic
Joe Goldstein, Lead SEO at Navolutions, urges you not to panic:
If I can only recommend one SEO tip for 2016, it’s this: don’t panic. Google’s high profile updates in 2015 – like Rank Brain, Mobilegeddon, and the local 3-packs – caused a lot of conjecture and confusion when they really shouldn’t have.
Expect more announcements like those in the future. The fundamentals of SEO aren’t changing anytime soon, and if you stay the course while everyone else is freaking out, you’ll be one step ahead.
2016 SEO Tip #31: Mind User Engagement
Steffen Ploeger, an SEO Specialist at 9thco.com, recommends SEOs to focus on user engagement metrics:
Since Google made big changes to their algorithm in 2015 and the years prior, 2016 is the year to optimize for rich answers. According to Stone Temple Consulting, rich answers appear on 19.45% of Google search results out of the 850,000 keyword queries used to trigger these.
On-page plays a big role and should be looked at on a monthly basis. I believe in user engagement as a possible ranking factor besides bounce rate, time on site, mobile friendliness and many others. By sharing blog posts through social media channels and by interacting with users, brand awareness increases.
Therefore it is mandatory that website are mobile friendly, probably one of the most important ranking factors in 2016 and for the years to come.
2016 SEO Tip #32: Build a Content Calendar
Michelle Rojas, the Digital Marketing Manager at Commercial Industrial Supply, said that building a content calendar is a great way to stay on track with your SEO efforts:
It is no secret that content is extremely important for your SEO success. One of the easiest ways to stay on track with your content strategy is to build out a content calendar for your website 30 – 90 days in advance.
You should strive to become somewhat of a publication house of topics that are important and helpful for your target customers.
2016 SEO Tip #33: Be Careful With Your Mobile-Friendly Strategy
Stoney G. deGeyter, CEO & Project Manager at Pole Position Marketing, warns SEOs to be careful of their mobilegeddon strategy:
A mobile-first strategy should not mean mobile only. A lot of marketers are jumping on the mobile bandwagon but going way too far. While you want your website to work on all devices, some are moving to solutions that make the site look the same on all devices.
Your desktop computer is not a mobile phone and therefore your website should not work like an app when being used on a computer. Apps, hidden menus and mobile-friendly design all play a role in successful online marketing, however site visitors have different needs depending on the device being used.
If your website only meets the needs of one of these three audiences it will work great for that audience, but not for the rest. Instead of creating a mobile strategy that meets visitors’ needs, it produces a mobile strategy that fails for significant segments of the audience.
2016 SEO Tip #34: Build a List Of Improvements For Your Website
Adam Thompson, Director & Part Owner of 10x Digital, recommends building a list of future improvements for your website:
In 2016, SEOs needs to focus on delivering the best value and experience to the user. Traditional SEO metrics such as backlinks and keyword optimization are still important, but they are part of a bigger picture where Google is getting better and better at ranking the best content for the user.
Start 2016 by taking a competitive look at your website and build a list of ways you can make it better. From faster page load speeds to more in-depth content and custom educational graphics, push hard to make your website better than your competitors’ websites.
Don’t rely on Google’s Keyword Planner to provide you with a comprehensive list of keywords. Google’s too frequently hide relevant keywords (often longtail or informational keywords) that have search volume.
2016 SEO Tip #35: Post Long-Form Content Consistently
Erika Montgomery, Founder & CEO of Three Girls Media, urges SEOs to focus on writing longer content regularly:
One of the best things you can do to beef up SEO is to post long-form content on a super consistent basis – down to the same day of the week and same time of the day. Search engines like Google are giving preference to long-form content that’s at least 1,500 – 2,000 words and include other SEO hallmarks like images, hyperlinks and keywords.
BuzzSumo is an excellent resource if you’re looking to find frequently shared topics to help with content creation. The more shareable the content the better it should perform in regards to SEO.
2016 SEO Tip #36: Focus On Brand Awareness
William Lau, the Senior SEO Specialist at DealNews, recommends focusing on expanding your brand’s outreach and recognition:
For 2016, business owners and companies need to focus on building brand awareness and authority. Link building is still the #1 factor in ranking in search engines.
By building trust in the form of content and public relations, you will earn more quality links that can enhance your SEO game, on top of becoming a trusted business/company that can convert prospects into customers and clients.
2016 SEO Tip #37: Be Consistent
Daniel Orseno, an E-Commerce Manager at PartyCheap, urges SEOs to be consistent in their doings:
While there are many aspects of SEO that will continue to be important in 2016, my biggest SEO tip can be boiled down to one word: consistency. Anyone following the trends and best practices in the industry knows about the importance of producing quality content and generating quality backlinks, but what they might forget or not realize is the importance of consistency.
Companies must be consistently posting that quality content, consistently generating the links, consistently reviewing the results of their efforts, and, most importantly, consistently making improvements. With this consistency, companies will be in a much better position to dominate the rankings.
2016 SEO Tip #38: Content Is King
I know right – how original? But it’s the damn truth guys. And Owen Larkin, the Managing Director at SnowPak.com, knows that:
Focus on content first and SEO second to win the search rankings game. Optimizations and SEO tactics are helpful, but content drives search. You can hire people for technical details, but you need to create the best content in your area of focus to get ahead with Google.
Think of content as the engine that makes your search marketing jet fly and of SEO tactics as the nuts and bolts that hold the plane together. SEO is important, but you will only fly as fast as your engines let you.
2016 SEO Tip #39: Create Proper Business Listings
Ron Perry, the Founder of egniteBIZ, said that every business needs to be found on the Internet in the easiest manner:
The best tip I can suggest for companies who want to improve their SEO in 2016, other than working with SEO specialists, is to create proper business listings in both local and national business directories like Yelp, FourSquare, and Superpages.
These free listings offer businesses a tremendous edge when trying to rank above other local competitors. Creating these profiles not only gives customers additional ways to find a business, but also increases link popularity and, in turn, a company’s domain authority (which is critical for organic rankings, as well as high placement on search engine maps).
Having high ranking sites such as Yelp and others linking to a company’s domain can really make a difference in putting them above their competitors.
2016 SEO Tip #40: Keep Visitors In Mind
James Sacci, Owner of ProWeb Innovations, said not to forget about your website visitors when you are writing:
Think of the user that is visiting your website when developing content. Why are they coming there? Try to answer their question, or solve the problem that your product and/or service provide.
You’ll even notice an Answer Box on the top of the search engine results page now. Try to get there with a link to your website. Make your content more compelling than any of your competitiors’. This can help ensure visitors stay on your website longer, and hopefully reach the goals you set.
2016 SEO Tip #41: Start a Company Blog
Kristen Duever, Owner of Kristen Duever Writing Services, said that content is an absolute must for any business:
Part of good SEO is regularly having fresh, relevant and engaging content. A blog on your website is a great way to provide value to your readers while establishing yourself as an expert. If you don’t have the time or writing chops to write your blog yourself, then outsourcing your blog to a skilled SEO content writer is a good option.
2016 SEO Tip #42: Focus On App Store Optimization
Brian Stumbaugh, the Digital Marketing Manager of Barefoot Solutions, urges you to focus on apps:
My top SEO tip for 2016 is to focus on app store optimization. With mobile accounting for more than half of all digital ad spend in 2015, it’s clear that there’s a high demand to reach customers on their mobile devices and that’s only going to grow in 2016.
2016 SEO Tip #43: Become THE Resource Online
Peter Boyd from PaperStreet Web Design, said that it’s all about content in 2016:
For our law firms we are producing Law Hub websites that target a specific practice area and become THE resource on line. This requires an investment in articles that will actually be read, shared, and become the authoritative resource for a practice area.
Your website should be engaging, informative and be a citable source of information.
2016 SEO Tip #44: Mix Digital PR & SEO
Max Cron, the Creative Strategy Director of Online Optimism, said that you need to mix it up:
SEO is constantly changing and with this kind of industry landscape comes new techniques. Mixing digital PR and SEO is a very successful technique for Online Optimism. Utilizing news stations’ need for new stories and their high internet authority work together to produce a great result for SEO campaigns, especially if they are local news outlets.
One high authority website can have better results than many other link building efforts. Target a company with a high authority and create content that they would be interested in sharing.
2016 SEO Tip #45: Optimize For Relevant Content
Lisa Chu, the Owner of Black N Bianco Kids Clothing, recommends focusing on high quality content:
My best SEO tip for 2016 is to optimize for relevant rich content in your industry. By writing relevant and high quality content that answers questions your target audience may have, you will indicate to Google that your site is providing value to its users.
Once your articles start showing up in the search query you will start gaining organic traffic. This organic traffic is very valuable because it will help further assist in your SEO. People who share your content through links will help establish to Google that you are an industry leader.
Google’s search engine is so refined that obtaining natural links through content will have numerous benefits in 2016.
2016 SEO Tip #46: The Big Two
Alex DiSebastian from PaperStreet Web Design, said you should combine these two things to maximize your SEO efforts:
Two points: First, 2016 is about making your website an educational, resource hub of content geared to your user and prospective clients. You should be providing advice and giving information. Done well, users will then engage the website, and convert as a client.
Second, gone are the days of straight simple link building. Acquiring power to your website through external websites that contribute to your reputation, presence, and authority is what ranks.
It’s about involvement, interaction, and engagement: focused, unique, natural backlink opportunities, local citations and reviews, direct link building, and cleaning up backlinks are some approaches.
2016 SEO Tip #47: Be Wary Of Inconsistencies
Victor Clarke, the Marketing Quarterback of Clarke Inc, said that you should be extremely careful not to create any inconsistencies in your online presence:
The more you get yourself out there online, the more likely potential clients or customers are to find you. However, there is also a bigger danger of inconsistent business listings which can confuse the search engines and affect your SEO.
This may not seem like a big deal, but in a survey of SEO experts and small business owners, inconsistencies in listings emerged as a major concern. It may be worthwhile to hire an expert to clean up your local listings.
Bear in mind that even the smallest of inconsistencies in citations and NAP can affect your SEO.
2016 SEO Tip #48: Would You Read Your Own Content?
Marilyn Paige, Vice President of Marketing at Fig Advertising & Marketing, shared with us, as she put it, a “startling, earthshaking, stealth SEO tip for 2016”:
Make content that is worth reading. Too many people are writing for a Googlebot, instead of real people. You’ve got to be in it for the long game, not the short term keyword list. Invest in real content and it will pay SEO dividends for years to come.
2016 SEO Tip #49: Change Your Link Building Mindset
Ricky Singh, CEP at AIRR Media, said that you need to change your mental attitude towards link building:
You want to change your mindset about building backlinks in 2016 for the purpose of building exposure to your brand. An example would be getting a backlink from an influential blogger in your industry.
This will have a lot of positive results for your website. This tactic will send referral web traffic to your website, build your brand reputation within the industry, and most importantly improve your position in the SERPs for your competitive terms.
2016 SEO Tip #50: Forget Keywords, Think Relevancy
Deborah Sweeney, CEO at My Corporation, urges SEOs to focus on content, and more specifically, its relevancy:
The best 2016 SEO tip our company focuses on is making sure that our content is the best possible content on the Internet for the words we care about. We have been focused on great infographics with topics that relate to entrepreneurship, starting a business, small business ownership and the such.
This has proven to be quite successful for us. it’s not about the keywords, but being more relevant and providing what customers are looking for when they come to our site. It’s more about delivering what people actually want to see that will give you an SEO rankings boost.
2016 SEO Tip #51: Think About Content Solutions
David James, the Founder of Business Growth Digital Marketing, said that content solutions are the thing for SEO in 2016:
Content solutions are the most important factor for succeeding in SEO in 2016. Compelling content drives traffic, brand awareness, links, and exposure. It incentivises people to buy into your brand and to build your business’ profile.
SEOs have been chasing links for a long time rather than seeking to build a brand through content initiatives. There are some quick wins, but SEO rankings should occur over the long-term. The success off the back of it will snowball as well.
2016 SEO Tip #52: Utilize Citation & Link Building
Ameet Khabra, a Search Engine Marketing Specialist at AmeetKhabra.com, swears by citations and link building:
Citation and link building is king. I am finding that citation and link building is showing me the best results in terms of movement in search engine rankings. I use Whitespark to build citations, but am creating the links manually.
2016 SEO Tip #53: Think About Scholarships
Yep, Gene Caballero, the Co-Founder of GreenPal, hinted using scholarships as one of the best ways to do SEO in 2016:
Scholarships are one of the best ways to help with SERPs. Most universities have DA of over 70 and 80. Those backlinks are worth thousands and a shcolarship may run you $500 or $1,000. You can tailor your scholarship towards any field of study and knowing that you are giving to a worthy cause is very gratifying.
2016 SEO Tip #54: Get Local & Mobile
Melissa Fach, the President of SEOAware, said that local and mobile SEO will be more vital than ever in 2016:
Local and mobile, we have known for a long time you have to compete in these two spaces. In 2016, they are more important than ever. For most, the ground work is done in regards to websites and local optimization strategies, however, you have to know how you rank compare to others.
I track local and mobile rankings with AuthorityLabs. They track desktop and mobile rankings via country, city and/or ZIP code and send the report to me. So my tip, make sure you can be found via mobile, track those rankings and determine which convert. Work to keep the converting keywords high in the SERPs.
2016 SEO Tip #55: Google Wants a Next Level Quality Of Content
Adarsh Thampy, the Co-Founder of LeadFerry, said that if you want to rank on top, you need to take your content efforts to a whole other level:
Links are still as important in 2016 as they were last year. What’s probably changed is the quality of content Google wants to rank on top. More in-depth and editorial style content on less authority sites seems to be ranking over shallow content on mega authority websites.
Securing your site through HTTPS also seems to help boost your rankings. Google is getting better at understanding the context of the query. This means that Google is profiling your content and understanding the topical relevancy of the content and related pages.
This makes getting thematic links and writing related content all the more important.
2016 SEO Tip #56: Make Your Backlinks Count
David Mercer, Founder of SME Pals, recommends that you focus on the “side effects” of backlinks as opposed to just focusing on getting them:
It was recently shown by Backlink’s Brian Dean that backlinks remain the single most important factor in determining the ranking of a page. However, Google has placed more emphasis on quality backlinks, which means that, for SEO purposes, building relationships with niche influencers in order to get referrals, mentions, and backlinks from their sites is arguably the best way to improve your SEO in 2016.
2016 SEO Tip #57: Ask Your Would-Be Clients
Crowdsourced content (a.k.a. roundups), where you ask multiple people to contribute a comment to a post. It’s been a little overdone in the SEO industry itself (e.g. 153 SEO Experts Give Their Best SEO Tip), but outside of that I’ve barely seen it used at all.
The key is to ask your would-be clients/customers, not your industry peers. So when I did it for a recruitment agency, we asked potential clients (i.e. local employers), not other recruiters.
Many tweeted about it and/or linked to it from their blogs/sites – and one contributor even became a client, simply because we asked.
2016 SEO Tip #58: The Year Of The User
Nick Clark, an SEO Consultant at Wildshark, said that companies must be aware of the fact that this is the year of the user:
Search engines are constantly evolving, learning how we search and think. Lately, popular search engines such as Google have begun to put a much larger emphasis on addressing needs of the user.
We’ve seen over the past couple of years that in-depth quality content, that comes in a variety of mediums, performs extremely well in search engine results pages (SERPs). Answering your audience’s needs in a manner that is easy to digest and useful is crucial to retaining their attention. 2016 SEO is the year of the user, put them first and search engines second.
2016 SEO Tip #59: Don’t Stop At 500 Words
Martin Harrison, the Co-Founder of Copify, said that you need to write some words, then write some more, and then add some more in the end:
My top SEO tip for 2016 is long-form content (1,000+ words) on pages. We are seeing that Google is increasingly favoring longer content in its results, so it pays to invest in more content on your pages to increase your chances of ranking.
2016 SEO Tip #60: Who, What, Where & How?
Stuart Cole, Head of Online Marketing at Juicy SEO, said that you should be using content that actually answers questions:
Who, what, where, and how? Did you know that nearly 70% of all searches start with one of these words? Create content to answer the question people want to know about in your industry and Google will reward the best pages with higher rankings.
2016 SEO Tip #61: Focus On Machine Learning
Chris Penn, Vice President of Marketing Technology at SHIFT Communications, said that you need to focus on machine learning in 2016:
Marketers must focus their SEO efforts on machine learning. They must learn how machines see the words we write in relation to each other – that’s what Google does. Machine learning algorithms like Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) identify words that cluster together.
Once marketers know what words naturally associate together, they can refine SEO and content marketing efforts. Machine learning can identify clustered, closely related topics to help hone SEO, and that’s a best SEO tip for 2016.
2016 SEO Tip #62: Optimize The Title Tags
Geoff Sharper, Founder of Sharper Impressions Painting Company, said that the smallest things can have the biggest impact on your site:
Optimize the title tags on every page of your site. This seems simple but it has made such a big impact on our site. Your homepage should consist of your primary keyword. The interior pages should consist of more product or service information. This is a quick change that can make a big difference.
2016 SEO Tip #63: Create Video Content
Christian Denmon, the Co-Founder of Denmon & Denmon, recommended focusing on video content:
Create video content. Google owns YouTube and how to videos have a strong likelihood of ranking well organically if you optimize them with the proper keywords. Video marketing isn’t nearly as competitive so this is a great opportunity if you are looking to enhance your SEO.
2016 SEO Tip #64: Put An Emphasis On Your Internal Pages
Todd Damon, the President of This is Woodworking, said that you shouldn’t forget about your inner pages:
Put emphasis onto all of your interior pages. Since we are an e-commerce shop, we have thousands of pages. It is our interior pages that drive the majority of our traffic. Without a strategy to properly optimize the on-site components of the interior pages, we wouldn’t have had nearly as much SEO success.
2016 SEO Tip #65: Contribute Content To Niche Relevant Websites
Dr. Chris Mabry from Ability Chiropractic, urges you to not be afraid to contribute content in your industry:
Contribute article content on industry related websites. If you are a doctor, look for a medical journal to share your expertise. If you are a real estate agent see if Zillow’s blog accepts guest bloggers.
Contributing content on authoritative sites can help generate more referral traffic and also get valuable backlinks pointing to your site.
2016 SEO Tip #66: Write One Of These Styles Of Content
Romano Groenewoud, an SEO specialist at SEOgeek, said that it’s all about content, but the right kind:
Quality content is still one of the major pillars of good optimization. There are certain types of content that will continue to stay fresh and apply to almost any industry:
- Lists – Writing a “4 Ways To Start The Day Right” should hold true for almost anyone. Take a look at your industry and find some cornerstones to write on.
- How-to tutorials – If you’re writing about dog grooming and you thing about “How To Groom a Shepherd”, this will almost indefinitely stay the same. Your Industry has topics as well.
- Definitions or guides – you could create an entire series in almost any niche with this idea.
Even with a boring industry such as retirement, you could discuss different IRA products – they’re not going to change much. Well-written, informative, and unique content will continue to drive traffic for search. It always has, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
2016 SEO Tip #67: Research, Write, And Link
Steve Taormino, President & CEO of CC&A, said that the good old research, write, and link strategy is to be applied in 2016:
To stay relevant in SEO rankings in 2016, companies should focus their efforts on page content that matches keywords, frequent posts, and off-site linking. Companies should research industry-relevant keywords and reinforce them in quality content.
Search engines still seek out the newest content – for this reason alone, companies that publish more reap the benefits of improved SEO. Off-site linking includes linking back to your website when posting on an outside digital channel, linking to popular brands within your industry on your company site, and getting others to link to your site through their content.
2016 SEO Tip #68: Generate Google+ Reviews
Wendi Henderhan, Founder of Henderhan Law Offices, said that you should focus on generating G+ reviews:
Even though a lot of people don’t use G+ for social media, this page populates towards the very top when people type in your business name or even a search term related to your business.
Positive reviews from actual clients can increase your click-through rates organically to your site and help you close more business.
2016 SEO Tip #69: Use a Hyper-Local Approach
Adam Capps, the Commercial Department Manager at UB Commercial, recommends that you keep your focus on a smaller target area:
Focus on a specific local market where your business is located and hone in on that area from an SEO perspective. Don’t try and go after your entire state, you’ll have more success with a hyper-local strategy.
2016 SEO Tip #70: Add Bonuses To Your Content
Keno Hellmann, the CEO of Selbststaendigkite.de, said that you need to give your readers bonuses if you want to stand out:
My #1 SEO tip for 2016 is to create unique and engaging content your readers and customers will love. Give them a bonus like PDF files, videos, photos and other content apart from just text which helps them use your product/service in unknown ways.
Rich media will invite people to spend more time on your website and Google will gild that for you in higher rankings. Great tool which will help your rankings are Market Samurai, Sistrix, and Ahrefs.
2016 SEO Tip #71: Focus On Conversion
Vicky Llerena, CEO of Social Vibes Media, urges you to “focus on conversion, not technical jargon”:
Most people think that keyword stuffing is the best SEO practice for rankings, when in fact Google penalizes against that. Let’s say for example you are an interior design company and you want to rank high for “interior design in Jersey City”.
You begin to intentionally write content that includes the words “interior design Jersey City” throughout your website. Perhaps this might help, but are users really searching for this term?
What conversions might they have around this topic? Perhaps they are searching for “how do I remodel my living room for the Spring?” or “what are the best bedroom colors for the Winter?”.
Understanding the conversions will help you build valuable content, SEO friendly content, and attractive content that will draw visitors to your site.
2016 SEO Tip #72: Create Content That Solves Problems
Tarun Gehani, the SEO Lead Strategist at Pure Visibility, said that you need to focus on content that actually solves some problems:
My best SEO tip for 2016 that will help people reach the top positions in the SERPs is to create high-value content that actually solves your users’ problems. Shift your focus away from targeting specific keywords and instead create unique, high-value content surrounding keyword groupings.
This shift will enable you to concentrate on satisfying the user’s intent behind his or her search, rather than the actual words themselves and trying to please the search engines.
After all, the search engines’ goal and yours as a website owner is the same: give the users exactly what they are looking for.
If you understand why they search (in addition to what they are searching for) you will be in a much better position to present your offers in ways that instantly connect with your audience.
You want to be able to serve them better – your website should be a resource to them – they’ll find the info they need, presented in an attractive and effective way (good design aesthetics, fast page load speed, etc.) and as long as the content actually solves their problem/answers their question/addresses their concerns, hesitations, setbacks… you’ll be much more likely to close the deal (or convert a visitor into a lead).
Also a good point to keep in mind is to consider the user’s environment as well. Someone searching on the smartphone from the front seat of a car has a completely different environment (and need) than someone doing research from their desktop at work.
2016 SEO Tip #73: Build An Effective PR Strategy With Influential Companies
Ajay Prasad, President of GMR Transcription, recommended businesses to build relationships with other companies:
You may already know that one of the best and most common ways to maximize your SEO is by developing original and relevant content on your website, as well as providing the same content to relevant websites that can link back to you.
Building effective PR with companies and website owners that can link back to your site is my number one tip for improving your outreach, strengthening your connecetions, and building your SEO.
2016 SEO Tip #74: Don’t Forget About User Experience
Joey Baird, the Director of Digital Marketing at Sparxoo, said that you need not forget about user experience as an SEO factor:
In 2016, search engines will continue to evolve and get better at understanding user and search intent. As a result, it is important to ensure you optimize your website from a user experience perspective as well as through historical search optimization practices like keyword optimization, inbound link building and content marketing.
2016 SEO Tip #75: Don’t Ever Stop Monitoring Google’s Algorithm
Laura Cryst, a Digital Marketing Specialist at Frontier Business Edge, said that you always need to be aware of the whole picture that Google requests websites to have in order to rank them at the top of their SERPs:
Google SEO will always demand attention due to multiple factors. This is because the ever-changing algorithm requires constant monitoring. Google’s mission is to present the most useful, relevant answer to a combination of things.
Some among others are location, device, search query, query history, and device actions. The best SEO strategy will define solutions to a clear user intent on each page. Providing a definitive, original answer or action in response to the Google search query will win over users and prevent a high bounce rate.
Instead of bounce, the user may continue to participate on-site to continue research or drive action by buying a product, opting-in to email campaigns, or sharing site content with others.
Combine with shareable content and a social media strategy, a company or site can quickly rank for common searches that lead to on-site volume and, given the right funnel, conversions.
2016 SEO Tip #76: Focus On Quality
Kari Daffron, the Content & PR Manager at One Click, urges SEOs to focus on quality as opposed to quantity:
My best SEO tip for 2016 would be to focus on quality. Quality content is continuing to climb to the top (as seen with the most recent Google algorithm update). The goal of quality content should move towards fully understanding searcher intent and focus on creating high quality content to contribute positively to user-based ranking factors, including time on site.
2016 SEO Tip #77: The Key Is Quality Content
Sam McIntire, the Founder of Deskbright, said that there is one ultimate key to the heart of SEO in 2016 and it is content:
The key to SEO is quality content. In the early days of search engines, webmasters could boost their search engine results page ranks by keyword stuffing and using greyhat technical optimization techniques to fool search engines.
These days, web scraping algorithms from Google and other search engines are sophisticated enough to recognize and prioritize quality content. As a webmaster, that means you should create articles that add value to the Internet rather than re-hashing old content.
Make sure your article are grammatically sound and write using natural language. In other words – write for your users, not for search engines.
2016 SEO Tip #78: Join The Mobile Revolution
Nitish Kumar, an SEO Consultant at WiseCalvin, urges webmasters to get on the mobile friendly wagon:
Mobilegeddon, the Google update which affected millions of sites was the talk of the town in 2016. I can’t stress enough to make your site mobile friendly, at least now, to avoid losing rankings, visitors, and opportunities.
Ignore Google’s mobile standards at your own peril. Google is clearly making an effort to get mobile friendly results to the top and committed to providing a frictionless experience to mobile users. We, as whitehat SEOs should support them.
According to Google guidelines, a page is eligible for the mobile friendly label if it meets the following criteria as detected by Googlebot:
- Avoid software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash.
- Uses text that is readable without having to zoom in.
- Size content to the screen, so that users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom in.
- Place the links apart from each other, far enough, so that the correct one can be easily tapped.
2016 SEO Tip #79: Leverage Analytics
Tony Ferreira, the Lead Digital Analytics Consultant at iCiDIGITAL, said that all SEOs need to use analytics if they ever want to reach those top positions:
Reaching your desired location in the SERPs requires many disciplines all working collectively together. The #1 factor in helping you determine which disciplines are providing the most value is analytics.
Analytics combines your SEO and SEM activities into a single platform to easily develop insight and make data-driven decisions. Focusing on a better understanding of analytics gives a company the ability to find opportunities to optimize the experience users get when coming to their site, ultimately improving SERP scores.
2016 SEO Tip #80: Put Yourself In The Search Engine’s Shoes
Pat Fischer, a SEM Specialist at OuterBox, gave us a more in-depth SEO tip for 2016 – step into someone else’s shoes and in that case, the search engine’s shoes:
When it comes to search engine optimization, there is no single best tip or secret technique that will make your site magically rank well for all of your desired keywords. That being said, if I had to pick my best tip, it would be to put yourself in the search engine’s shoes to gather a holistic perspective to optimizing your site for search.
Remember, every search engine has a vested interest in providing the most credible, relevant, informative and interesting websites for any given search query so that searchers find what they need and continue to use their search service in the future.
Google’s robust algorithm is comprised of hundreds of different ranking signals. These signals include things like the quantity, quality and relevancy of external links on the web that point to your site, the usability of your website, the uniqueness, freshness and quality of your content, plus many other factors.
At the end of the day, this algorithm is engineered to favor websites and webpages that are relevant to the search query, provide the most value to the potential searcher and favor the user experience.
If you forget anything you’ve ever heard or know about SEO and concentrate simply on creating a website that engages and informs your target audience, you are already well on your way to a website that can perform well in organic search.
While anyone with the time and motivation to develop these skills can learn on their own, in most cases, hiring an SEO agency to at least handle the more technical aspects of your SEO campaign is more feasible and efficient, and cost-effective.
If I am being forced to supply a more conventional SEO tip, it would be to analyze the backlinks profile of your competition. At OutherBox we use a tool called Ahrefs which provides invaluable data about every link coming to a given website or webpage.
Using this tool, you can see where all of your potential competitors’ links come from and you can then reach out to the same or similar websites to try and acquire the same links.
The tool also provides insight into the perceived impact each link has on SEO, allowing you to prioritize your link building outreach based on what will presumably have the most significant impact.
So there you have it guys. As I told you, the word “content” came up a lot, and I mean, a lot throughout these 80 SEO tips for 2016. And what does that tell you? I think you know already.
As I said in the beginning of this article, SEO is and has always been extremely simple, but it’s only when people start looking for shortcuts that it gets complicated. I mean, you have content and you have links. That’s it (for the most part).
Easy as one-two, not even three. I’m sure that you have noticed a few contradictions in the SEO tips, provided you actually read all of them, and that’s because each website and each situation is unique. So keeping all these recommendations in mind, you must not ever forget about personal preference and contextuality. Best of luck with your SEO projects in 2016!