Operating a successful small business online is highly dependent on organic search. A solid inbound marketing strategy is crucial and search engine optimization (SEO) is the ultimate inbound marketing strategy. If you are not ranking in Google, you are going to have a hard time attracting customers. That’s right, you cannot continue to kid yourself anymore, organic search is extremely important. We know that you may not have the budget to hire a professional SEO firm, that is why we made this post to help you guide your focus.
It’s 2016 and many small business owners want to know about the changes that may affect how they do SEO in 2016. How has SEO changed from 2015? How is SEO done in 2016? The good news is that SEO hasn’t changed much from 2015. For a new business owner, this information may prove invaluable. For the experienced SEO professionals, this information may be a no brainer.
Before we begin, it is worth noting that the information on this page does not necessarily mean that Google is using any of these factors to rank websites. We do not speak for Google. Big thanks to Moz for compiling this data through analysis.
We wanted to simplify the process, which was easier said than done. SEO is super complex, so our goal here is to list the biggest actionable steps that small business owners can take in 2016 to improve their rankings in search engine result pages.
Despite what some people will want you to believe, links still matter. Backlinks to your website continue to show the highest correlation with high ranking. The number of pages or websites that link to a domain showed the highest correlation with higher rankings.
Content is Still King
The reason that people come to your website is primarily for information. Your content has to solve the user’s problem or provide a solution to their need. If you don’t have the time to write content, then hire quality content writers to do so for you. Content continues to be king and we do not see this changing in the future.
You might ask, what type of content? Here are 5 examples of top content that you can use to drive traffic to your website.
- Infographics – Infographics (visually appealing presentations of information) get shared the most and viewed the most out of any other content type. This should not come as a surprise since a review by BuzzSumo revealed that images are among the most shared content elements.
- Video – Video is super engaging and can go viral in minutes. A video can communicate messages clearly. A good video can drive qualified traffic to your website. Adding video to your content makes your content more shareable.
- Meme – Memes are funny, likable, viral and easy to make. You have seen memes before, like this one.
- Guides – Guides are long form content that is informational and very detailed. They help users understand a certain subject without having to look at different pieces of content. Our guide to writing content for websites is a good example of this.
- Lists – Lists are great, especially when applied to blog content. Take this content, for example, we included a mini list within it. The above-listed types of content is a mini list within a blog post. Lists are great and people love them because they are straight to the point.
On-page Keyword Use Still Matters
There is a lower correlation between on-page keyword use and higher rankings. This may signify Google’s move to Semantic Search, meaning that Google is actively trying to understand web pages without relying too much on keywords. However on-page keyword use is still moderately associated with higher rankings.
Mobile Usability (mobile friendly websites)
Since Google now gets more searches on mobile, it is important that your business has a mobile friendly website. Responsive web design has been seriously over looked by many business owners. Till this day, we continue to see websites that have terrible mobile usability.
Take the two images below as an example. The image on the left has information that you can’t see on mobile unless you scroll to the right. The image on the right has all the information visible without needing to scroll, thus it is mobile friendly.
Your Inbound Marketing Strategy
Your inbound marketing strategy should incorporate all of the above. You should be actively building links to your website. When building links, you need to focus on niche specific and quality links. Don’t build backlinks from websites that may make your website look spammy and untrusted.
When you write content, you want to make sure that it helps the user solve a problem. User experience is the most important part of great content. However, don’t stop at good, go for excellent content.
It is important that you mention your keywords in your web page. Include your keywords in at least one of your headings, preferably the H1. Finally, don’t neglect mobile, call your web designer for help with responsive web design.