Our phone has been ringing off the hook with new clients whose Google ranking has drastically dropped over the last year. Everyone wants to rank on the front page of Google but not everyone understands what this involves in a competitive industry.

WHAT DOES SEO IN 2016 INVOLVE?

The landscape of SEO is ever changing, search engines are ever evolving. A few years ago you could outsource your SEO to India, they would buy you some backlinks, add some keywords to your site and with little effort on your behalf you would generally get some decent results for your dollar.

Things have changed. Search Engine Optimisation now requires a lot more effort. Search engines have gotten smarter and they are looking at much, much more than just your keywords and how many backlinks you have.

Keywords and backlinks still matter, but they need to be super high quality.

KEYWORDS

You need to participate in keyword research. What are people typing into Google to get to your site? Are they typing ‘digital marketing’ or ‘best digital marketer in Adelaide’. More and more users are typing in longer search terms and if you know what they are you can include them in titles of articles to give your customers the exact information you are looking for. You can find your long tail keywords using Google Search Console (free) or Moz (paid).

Creating content with your keywords in mind is crucial. What does your target market want? Find out and write about it. Content is the best way to drive potential customers/clients to your website.
Ranking on Google starts with your business name. First you want to make sure you are ranking for your own business name, then you want to keep growing the keywords you are ranking for. for example with my site (which is relatively new and I am still diligently working on my own SEO) I started with my business name ‘Amy Who Digital’, I wanted to make sure if people heard about me they could easily find me with a simple search of my business name.

SEO is a very competitive search term so I will be continually producing content around SEO to drive people to my site. While I am not ranking for ‘SEO in Adelaide’ I need to make sure people find me through social media. Social media networks are search engines too.

BACKLINKS

Forget about buying links. Seriously just don’t do it. Bad links will actually damage your SEO and you run the gauntlet of being delisted or penalised by Google altogether.
You want to be linked from high quality, high traffic sites. The higher the quality, and the more traffic a site receives the more your backlink will be worth.
Business directories still offer a decent boost to your SEO, but make sure you stick to the best ones. There is a great list here: The 20 Best Australian Business Directories for Local SEO.

TECHNICAL SEO

Still super important  but not nearly as hard as it used to be. Check out our free on page SEO auditor here. Tools and plugins like Yoast and Screaming Frog can let you fix up your own technical SEO or at least identify what you need your developer to do.

Your page needs to load quickly, encourage people to spend a few minutes clicking around and encourage return visitors. Make sure you developer knows about SEO friendly redirects and how to make sure your new site ticks all the SEO boxes straight out of the box. A lot of my clients come to me with their brand new website and want me to get it ranking, and 9 times out of 10 I will need to make changes to their site. Most of the time I have to add some text to their home page. If you don’t have your keyword on your homepage how will Google know where to rank you? Be clear, be obvious. If you sell furniture in Adelaide, tell us on your homepage.

A lot of our clients come to us with their brand new website and want us to get it ranking, and 9 times out of 10 we will need to make changes to their site. Most of the time we have to add some text to their home page. If you don’t have your keyword on your homepage how will Google know where to rank you? Be clear, be obvious. If you sell furniture in Adelaide, tell us on your homepage.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media has never been so important, not only does social media allow you to easily share your content and services to your target market it also sends positive signals to Search Engines that your website is legitimate and worth serving up on their SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
The amount of traffic, as well as their behaviour to your page, can affect your SEO. For example, if you share a link and 100 people follow the link to your website but 99 of them spend under a minute on your page Google will see this as a negative. They will assume that your website isn’t worth serving up if users don’t spend even a minute on your site. Check your bounce rate in Google Analytics.

Social media sites are search engines, users will stay on Facebook to search for services or request word of mouth recommendations from their networks. Users will also tag a page rather than share your web address. It’s just easier.

SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING

We’ve discussed why Search Engine Marketing is important before. Check out our article 5 Ways to Use Paid Advertising to Drive Organic Traffic.

The bottom line is Search Engine Marketing allows you to rank for keywords you aren’t organically ranking for, drives traffic to your site which helps your SEO (as long as they are not bouncing), helps you reach your target market while you build your organic SEO.

SEO in 2016 involves a holistic digital marketing strategy (anyone sick of that buzz marketing term yet?). You need a great website that loads quickly, keeps people interested, great content, social media channels that drive traffic, use your online advertising spend wisely (Facebook Ads, Adwords, Display Network etc), develop relationships with bloggers and influencers and include these relationships in your content strategy.

Get ranking in 2016.

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