Great 3T Methodology | SEO Tips, Tricks and Trends in 2016Shahraz Khan
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is the term used to describe a set of processes that aim in optimizing a website for search engines. SEO is important not only for getting high quality visitors but it is also a way to increase the credibility of a website and to expand brand awareness.
Search engines are using complex algorithms to determine which pages to include in their index and the order they show these pages in the search results. SEO is the way to ‘speak’ to search engines in a language they can understand and provide them with more details about a website.
SEO has two major components, On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO.
What is On-Page SEO?
In search engine optimization, On-Page optimization refers to factors that have an effect on your Web site or Web page listing in natural search results. These factors are controlled by you or by coding on your page. Examples of on-page optimization include actual HTML code, Meta tags, keyword placement and keyword density.
What is Off-Page SEO?
Off-Page SEO refers to techniques that can be used to improve the position of a web site in the search engine results page (SERPs). Many people associate Off-Page SEO with link building but it is not only that. In general, Off-Page SEO has to do with promotion methods – beyond website design –for the purpose of ranking a website higher in the search results.
Strategy of On-Page SEO
Your page titles are one of the most important SEO factors on your site. Each of your pages & posts should have its own unique title, which includes the main keywords for that page.
For example, you could write a blog post about a new chocolate cake recipe that you have tried. It is therefore vitally important that you include ‘Chocolate Cake Recipe’ within your post title, perhaps “Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe” or “Chocolate Cake Recipe for kids”, etc.
This way, whenever someone searches for Chocolate Cake Recipes in a search engine, your post has a better chance of showing up because you have included those keywords.
Many people forget to include Meta descriptions for their pages. These descriptions are an important place to include relevant keywords for your content, as these are used within the search results when your page is listed.
For instance, if we continue to use the ‘Chocolate Cake Recipe’ example, then a good Meta description for that page would include those keywords and related ones. So, “This easy chocolate cake recipe is possibly the most delicious, mouthwatering, chocolaty cake ever made.” would be a great Meta description to use, as it is relatively short, whilst containing a number of specific keywords.
For each of your pages, you can include a set of keywords in the form of Meta tags. These should be all the relevant keywords of your content, which you will have researched previously.
I use a WordPress plug-in on my sites called ‘All In One SEO Pack’. This allows me to enter all of my Meta tag keywords, Meta description and page title at the bottom of each of my posts before publishing. This simply inserts all of the information into your page HTML format for you, making your life a little easier.
Including search engine friendly URLs for each of your pages is highly recommended, as these bring better crawling. Shorter URLs seem to perform better in search engine results, however that is not the only factor.
URLs that include targeted keywords, also perform better. The location of these keywords can also be a major influence. For example site.com/keyword would perform better than site.com/365/738/subfolder/keyword etc.
As you can see for this page, the URL is http://onlineincometeacher.com/traffic/on-page-seo-techniques/ I have included the keywords that are relevant for this post.
5.Body Tags (H1, H2, H3, H4, etc.)
When writing your articles, you should break up your content into smaller sections & paragraphs to make it easier for people to read. These sections can be given heading, which is where H1, H2, H3, H4, etc. tags are used.
Generally H1 tags are reserved for your main page title, with subsequent headings (just like the ones I have used throughout this post) being issued H2, H3, etc. Search engines use these to determine what is important within your content. This is why keyword rich headlines are more useful than generic ones. Make sure you write keyword rich headings in the order of priority in H1, H2 and H3 title tags. They are used by many crawlers to differentiate important content.
Including relevant keywords throughout your content is very important, as it helps search engines work out what your content is about. However, try not to excessively repeat and overuse keywords just for search engine robots. This can lead to your site being banned from search engines.
To avoid this, try to keep your keyword density to roughly 2-5%. If you find this hard, get out a thesaurus and broaden your writing vocabulary. This way, you are still writing about the same thing, without risk of being banned.
Using images within your content is a great way to make your site more visually appealing and break up boring chunks of text. You can utilize these images to help improve your site SEO.
All your uploaded images have titles, so treat them just the same as your page titles. Including relevant keywords can help people find your site when searching on Google Images.
You can also include Alt Text and Descriptions for your images, making them even more useful with SEO.
People often think that the only links that count are those from other websites. While these links are important, these are not the only important links!
Placing links to your other website pages, is a great way of improving your site and used properly, internal links can be a useful weapon in your SEO arsenal. Not only does it make it much easier for your visitors to navigate around your site and find all of your content, but it also ensures that your site gets properly crawled allowing the search engines to find all of your pages. It also helps to build the relevancy of a page to relevant keywords and phrases, whilst also helping to increase the Google PageRank of your pages.
There are a number of different methods that you can use to improve your internal linking structure. The main being; content links and permanent navigation links.
For bloggers, content links are very useful when used properly. These are links that are placed within your article posts, which redirect people to other relevant pages on your site. For example, this post is focused on increasing traffic to your site, so readers may also find a post on ‘How to Drive Traffic to Your Blog ‘useful. Perhaps other people are just starting out blogging and want to learn more.
Strategy of Off-Page
As we all know, the Search Engine Optimization field is booming day to day with new inventions and innovations. People may not know that much of what they have learned yesterday will be out of date by tomorrow. Unless one updates his knowledge by reading SEO news/articles, there is no doubt he’ll lag back in the SEO race.
Being an SEO Professional, I hereby suggest some the factors that deal with off-page SEO. I found this forum to be the best suited place for sharing. Below is a list of some things most people may be familiar with, but I have also added a few advanced things that you may not know. Try these Advanced Off-Page SEO Strategies to market your website, get ranked in search engines, and to build online reputation (branding) for your company/website so that you can survive in this competitive SEO world.
Note: These things have to be done after the completion of on-page SEO. Before doing these things you must be aware of your competitors who can able build a negative reputation against your company/website.
1. Community Creation in Social Networking Sites
Also known as online reputation management, this is the first and foremost step with which you have to initiate your process. Try to become a member of the most popular social networking sites like Orkut, Myspace, Facebook, Linked In, Academy, etc., and create a profile of your own. By doing this you can extend your network online, get connect with your friends, share things with each other, and promote your company/website to build an online reputation. This is most likely the same as Web 2.0 (Participatory Web), which means you have to show your active participation on a regular basis.
This is one of the most powerful ways to promote your company/website online. Write a blog of your own for your company/website and include lots of unique content. Be precise in what you’re trying to convey for the users in your blog entry and promote your blog in blog directories and blog search engines. You can also promote your blog/website by posting comments in other service-related blogs which allow links in the comments section that are crawl able by the search engines (these blogs are commonly identified as Do-Follow Blogs). If you’re not very good at writing content for blog posts, hire a guest blogger for your blog and ask him/her to write precise and unique content so that your blog can gain more credit from a search engine point of view.
3. Forum Postings
Create a forum/online discussion board of your own and start a discussion or share topics with your friends. You can also post/reply to a thread in other service-related pre-existing forums that allow links in your signature which can be crawled by the search engines (aka “Do-Follow Forums”).
4. Search Engine Submission
Submit your website to the most popular search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, AltaVista, Alexa, Alltheweb, Lycos, Excite, etc., to get listed for free.
5. Directory Submission
Many people may say that directory submission is dead. As far as I’m concerned it is still alive. It is purely based on how effectively we are selecting those directories and how efficiently we are choosing the category for submission. Of course, I agree that it gives quite delayed results, but it is worth doing it. Submit your websites to the topmost quality directories like DMOZ, Yahoo Directory, ZoomInfo, One Mission, Pegasus, etc. Nowadays many web directories may offer paid listings but don’t go for it.
6. Social Bookmarking
Social Bookmarking is yet another powerful way of promoting your website, but nowadays most people are spamming social bookmarking sites without knowing how to use them. Since content in these websites update frequently, search engines like these types of sites and often visit them (this is commonly termed as Tagsonomy & Folksonomy in Web 2.0). Do some social bookmarking in popular bookmarking sites like Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Propeller, etc. You should be very careful while doing this and you must properly handle the tags which are very essential to broadcast your news on a wide area network. This may increase your website traffic based on how effectively you have participated.
7. Link Exchange
Exchange links with service-related websites (this is commonly termed as Thematic Link Exchange) that can help increase your link popularity, which is a major factor of Google’s PageRank algorithm. Beware of Black-Hats while doing exchanges.
8. Link Baiting
Suppose you have copied/published another website’s news or content in your blog/website. Don’t forget to place their website link as a reference. Do it for others and, if your content is trustworthy, let others do it for you. This is another way to increase your link popularity.
Link to internal pages within your site wherever necessary (this is commonly termed Internal Linking). This increases your internal link popularity, which is another major factor of Google Page Rank algorithm. The best known example of successful internal linking is Wikipedia. Also try to get a content link from websites/blogs that are related to your site theme. Try getting a link from within their site content using a targeted keyword as anchor text (much like Wikipedia does). We know that this strategy can often be hard to implement, but these types of links have more weight from a search engine point of view.
10. Photo Sharing
Publish/share your website product pictures and make them public. Let your friends see them and comment on them too, which will help drive traffic towards your website. Do this in major photo sharing websites like Flickr, Picasa, Photo Bucket, Picli, etc.
11. Video Promotions
Like with photo sharing, you can publish/share your product videos, expert opinions, and reviews of your product and make them public in YouTube, Metacafe, Dailymotion, etc.
12. Business Reviews
Write reviews about others businesses or ask your friends/clients to write a review of your business in major business review sites like RateitAll, Shvoong, Kaboodle, Stylefeeder, etc.
13. Local Listings & Yellow Pages
Instead of going global and facing huge competition, make your website local so that search engines can easily view your website and fetch the content. This will help you to reach a targeted audience. Submit your website to Google Local, Maps, Yahoo Local, Yellow Pages, Superpages, Hotfrog, etc.
14. Article Submission
Write articles of your own and submit them to popular article sites like Ezine, Go Articles, Now Public, Buzzle, etc. This will help you to attain some deep links for your website (though it’s usually a slower process).
15. Press Release Promotion
If you are a business/service provider then go for PR submission in popular PR websites like 1888pressrelease, Open PR, PR Leap, etc. This will help you to publish your site in Google News.
16. Classifieds Submission
Do some classifieds submissions to advertise your products for free. Try Craigslist and other major classifieds sites like Kugli, Myspace, iMadespace, Vivastreet, Olx, etc.
17. Social Shopping Network
If you own an e-commerce website, this is a good strategy for advertising and easily branding your products for free. Submit your products to Google Product Search, Yahoo Online Shopping, MSN Online Shopping, and other major social shopping network sites like Kaboodle, Style Feeder, Wists, Five Limes, Buzz Shout, Ohmybuzz, etc.
Participate in Answers by asking and answering relevant questions and placing a link to your website in the source section if necessary. If you don’t spam, this is another great way to increase your link popularity (Yahoo Answers, Cha-Cha, Answer Bag, etc.)
19. Document Sharing
Share your website documents like business documents, information brochures, and slides in Google Docs, Slide Share, etc. This will help you brand your website.
20. CSS, W3C & RSS Directories Submission
If you have a web design site or offer services related to web design, submit your website to CSS and W3C website directories which may drive traffic towards your website. Also submit your website to RSS feed directories which, again, will help you attain more traffic.
21. Widget / Gadget Development
Develop some interactive and innovative widget/gadget applications (such as an online poll or game widgets) for your website and publish them on your blog/website or in other popular social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace. Let your friends and others vote/play/use the widget/application, which will help you increase your branding and website visits.
22. PPC Ad Campaign
When none of the above strategies work for you, go for a PPC ad campaign with your targeted keywords. Remember that you have to pay to drive more traffic towards your website through PPC.
Top Powerful SEO Tips, tricks and Trends to Improve your SEO Strategies 2016
Now discuss some powerful SEO tips and tricks to improve 2016 SEO strategies. We all know that the New Year will bring to the fore a whole new set of changes in the way businesses market their products and services, marketers try to improve their ranking with search engine optimization (SEO), the way people surf the web and a lot more.
According to hubspot.com, in the U.S. alone, an average of 12 billion web searches are conducted each month. SEO will gain importance more than anything else as it helps you drive quality traffic, get visibility, boost your brand and lend your business the credibility it needs to succeed. After all, what is the point of creating so much content and graphics if it is not visible to the audience when they run search query.
In 2015 also, marketers realized the value of SEO, aligning their content for customers’ needs and mobile optimization for better results. After all, 50% of all mobile searches are conducted in the hope of finding local results, and 61% of those searches result in a purchase, according to searchenginewatch.com.
Searchengineland.com suggests SEO is the process of driving traffic from the ‘organic’, and ‘paid’ sources to win the rat race of ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs). Though search engine rankings keep on changing from time to time (it’s normal), make sure that you have built your site in the right way and regularly posting quality content to drive a steady stream of traffic to your pages. An article in Quicksprout.com states that the average content length for a web page that ranks in the top 10 results for any keyword on Google has at least 2,000 words.
Wondering what SEO trends which SEO trends will turn out to be the major hits of 2016? Don’t worry. Here, we bring to you an exclusive exposé on the hottest SEO trends and developments that are set to rock the world in the year ahead. Have a look!
Social Content Will Gain Prominence
In the coming times, content from social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will gain more importance on the SERPs. Already, 76% marketers use Social Media to support and boost SEO, cites an article published at Impactbnd.com. In 2016, marketers will do everything possible to make their Facebook posts or tweets rank higher on the SERPs.
Isn’t that amazing?! We predict that more social media content will be indexed on Google and other popular search engines such as Bing and Yahoo. This will in turn blur the lines between ‘web’ and ‘social media’ in terms of SEO strategies. So, be prepared to find, collect and use your valuable social content for optimizing your page for maximum visibility. For brand names, social media profiles are amongst the top results in search listings. For instance, if you search “Designhill” on Google, the company’s Facebook page, Twitter profile and the LinkedIn page appear as the top listings. See for yourself!
getwebservicesonline.com/blog states that links to content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and other social networks help the search engine crawlers understand what websites are credible and should be ranked for what keyword phrases.
Videos Will Still Rule
We all know that videos are a great way of keeping audience engaged and entertained. But do you know that by using enough videos, you can improve the ranking of your page on the SERPs. A report by Marketing Land states that videos make for 62% of all Google searches universally. Moreover, Google has started giving attention to blended results/searches. So, why not grab this opportunity to appear on the first page of search results by including an engaging video in your content? According to Quicksprout.com, videos get 50 times better organic page ranks in Google as against plain, static text results. Also, video searches garner 41% higher click-through rate as compared to plain, static text content, according to Relesoo.com.
Many marketers chose to drive their modern marketing engine with the fuel of Video SEO in 2015. And we predict that more marketers and businesses will embrace the trend of videos in the coming year too. Take a glance at what a blended search result looks like for the search query “Get Web Services Online”.
Now, the only way to appear in the search engine pages like this is by uploading your videos on You Tube or through video SEO. It is important that Google is able to find your video content, successfully index it and display your video content when specific keywords are entered as search terms.
Mobile Optimization Will Remain Important
Is your business website mobile-friendly? Your audience is no longer in one place. People use all sorts of devices such as tablets, smartphones, laptops, phone watches to browse web. Keeping this in mind, plenty of brands went mobile-friendly in 2015. And we anticipate that more brands will take up this trend in the upcoming year. Mobile optimization will become the norm, rather than exception. So, it’s high time you changed the way you conceptualize and create SEO strategies for mobile searches.
Neilpatel.com states that the total number of searches on mobile devices has seen a 43% increase year-over-year. Also, Google’s algorithm update this year ensured that mobile-friendly websites get a search ranking boost on mobile searches. As more and more people use mobile to surf the Internet, Google decided to make it easier to find relevant, mobile-optimized websites. So, it now uses mobile-friendliness as a factor in ranking search results. If you’re still not convinced, here are just 5 stats that will make you go mobile-friendly in 2016.
- 4 out of 5 consumers use smartphones to shop. (Source: Convinceandconvert.com)
- 70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour. (Source: Socialmediatoday.com)
- Over 1.2 billion people access the web from their mobile devices. (Source: Mobify.com)
- Global mobile traffic now accounts for 15% of all Internet traffic. (Source: Newtarget.com)
- 95% smartphone users have searched for local info. (Source: Adwords.blogspot.com )
Therefore, make sure that mobile optimization finds a prominent place in your SEO strategies for the upcoming year to stay ahead of your competitors. Make sure that everything on your site, from colors to fonts and from content to logo design, is mobile optimized.
Voice Search Will Compete With Text Search
These days, people who are on the go use voice search simply because it is more convenient and safer, especially when someone is driving or multi-tasking. It is becoming a huge part of mobile usage as it has taken away the pain of typing keywords to run a search query. Almost all mobile devices have a voice search functions. The popularity of voice searches has been spurred by Microsoft, Google, and Apple launching their own versions of advanced voice-responsive assistants – Cortana, Google Now and Siri.
Even ‘Domino’s Pizza’ has a ‘voice-ordering feature. However, make sure that your content is easily searchable through voice searches by using long-tail keywords, which are more likely to be spoken than conventional keywords. Google Study finds voice search mostly used to ask for directions. For teens, doing a voice search while watching TV (59%) and while with friends (57%) are the highest use cases, according to marketingland.com. Whereas for adults, voice searching is done the most while watching TV (36%), followed by when with friends (24%) and while cooking (23%).
Content Aggregation will get Bigger & Better
According to Digitalcurrent.com, Knowledge Graph, wiki, local, maps, social media, news, images and videos make for 85% of Google search results. These stats indicates that now people look for sources that provide all relevant information for a particular subject or topic that at one place.
A blog published at imediaconnection.com explains that content aggregation is a practical way of finding, collating, amassing, consolidating, presenting, sharing, and displaying content around pre-specified set of criteria to appeal target audience. If you too are planning to do so, make sure that you collect and curate content from different, high-authority sources and display it at one place for your users to see to build your authority.
A great example of content curation is using the humble newsletter, Next Draft by Dave Pell, who has amassed over 160,000 subscribers to his daily email which shares the most interesting stories in business, culture, and tech, an article in Jeff Bullas explained. Another example is Inbound.org which was built by Moz and Hubspot to increase their reach even further.
The Craze of Mobile Apps Will Grow
According to Tech Crunch, mobile apps account for 52% of all time spent on online digital media. Another report available on the Internet reveals that users spend 89% mobile time using apps. This is the reason for more and more businesses planning to explore the advantage of mobile apps.
As discussed above, use of mobile for web search is on an all-time rise and apps just make the work easier. Just few more years and mobile apps are sure to overpower desktop and mobile websites. An article in searchenginejournal.com states that 85% of people prefer native mobile apps to websites. Feature your brand prominently in the app name and make sure you have proper links to apps for better search rankings Also, you must ensure that app optimization tops your list of SEO optimization. There are several brands that are benefiting from prominent mobile app visibility in Google’s organic search results. Have a look at what happens when you search eBay in Google. The app page URL presents a powerful opportunity to “occupy” the first page of Google SERPs.
Local SEO Will Be More Competitive
This trend is only going stronger over the years. According to Entrepreneur.com, local SEO is likely to gain solid grounds in the coming days. As a marketer, you have to let Google know where you are located and what you are offering so that your chances of showing up on pages, especially in front of the relevant audience, increase. It is must to have your local pages which will include the name of your business, address etc. with Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Since Google came out with its “Pigeon” update, local SEO has gained significant prominence forcing businesses and marketers to focus on a local tangent. So, ensure of having location specific keywords and personalize content basis your target audiences’ location to stay ahead in the game in 2016. Check out some stats to know the benefits of ranking in local search results.
Local searches lead 50% of mobile visitors to visit stores within a day. (Source: Searchengineland.com)
More than 60% consumers have used local information in ads. (Source: Business2community.com)
50% mobile searches are conducted in hopes of finding local results. (Source: Business2community.com)
Your listing in the local pages can increase consumer engagement with your business and your ranking. For instance, check out this example of three hospitals. The one that has the highest number of reviews ranks the highest. (Image source: Search Engine Journal)
To conclude, you must brace yourself in expanding your presence on social media, instilling videos of your business in your content so that you get Page 1 ranking in Google. A good ranking ultimately helps you build strong influence and enhance your brand name amongst your audience. So, don’t miss out on any latest update by Google and trends in search rankings to shine out in the crowd. The better SEO strategies you have, the more benefits you will have.
So, concentrate on creating fresh and quality content that you can and promote it across all social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. By just doing this, you will find that your search rankings have improved tremendously. The next step would be to sustain the rank by posting fresh and unique content and videos regularly.
Though trends keep on changing, we expect that these 7 SEO trends are most likely to dominate the scene in 2016. While some of them will become extinct like the dinosaur, some will evolve and outlast the rest. Nevertheless, we’re sure by embracing these trends, you’ll be able to spearhead the market in the New Year.
Intention, Not Keywords, Will Drive Search
The days of searching with exact keywords are long gone. Finding relevant search results is no longer dependent on what you type. From your interactions with websites, search engines can now assess your intention and provide the most relevant results accordingly. Search will become more intuitive from now on, which will save a lot of browsing time and effort.
Focus Will Shift to Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) has been getting more attention for some time as most often huge number of users staying live and online does not reflect in business conversion for the respective site.
Because a majority of users access the web from mobile devices and simply remain online casually without actually using the sites they’ve opened, the huge difference between the traffic volume and conversion will continue.
Naturally, conversion rate optimization will be more useful to get into session data, as well as tracking events and users’ attention spans. Understanding the factors that produce higher conversion rates will help websites formulate suitable SEO plans.
Interactive Content Will Rule
Interactive content is not only a quiz, but all sorts of web contents delivered according to the user response. For example, in a presentation, when a user clicks on a negative opinion about something he is guided to a content page that addresses his questions Interactive content provides an intuitive, unique feel and it can quickly can motivate someone to take action.
More Content = More Effectiveness
SEO these days are merciless to unoriginal contents. But even for short content that only conveys a few pieces of information, it is becoming even more difficult to rank in search results. As the situation stands now, articles that are between 1,200 and 1,500 words long get better rankings. While this trend will continue, another trend would be about multiplicity in presenting content.
For instance, a text-based piece of content supplemented with infographics, images, animation, and video files will have more impact on search engine and traffic. As this trend suggests, longer, more diverse content will be effective.
Digital Assistants Will Change the Way of Thinking about Search Queries
Modern search engines are receiving more and more queries from digital assistants, which are adding a new layer to the complexity of search (think of Siri, Cortana, and Google Now). Spoken language queries tend to be much different than typed queries, meaning a whole new type of long-tail keyword queries – particularly those that mimic spoken dialogue – will emerge. This trend could reward pages that contain colloquial, conversational content.
Did we miss out anything important? Please leave your comments and let us know.
Note: Always keep in mind that you have to be very careful while implementing these strategies. You should not spam or overdo it. Whatever you do, just plan and execute. Otherwise, you can see adverse effects.
Thanks for reading!
About Shahraz Khan — digital marketer and an SEO expert. He has been helping small businesses and startups improve website design and SEO strategy, content marketing and user experience. He writes on a wide spectrum of subjects and is a regular contributor to several top-notch blogs and websites. You can engage with him on Twitter here @arshadshahraz