5 Things That Really Matter for SEO in 2016

Anyone who has ever typed “SEO” or “search engine optimization” into a search engine can easily tell you about the overwhelming amount of information, tips, recommendations and how-to’s that you’ll find.

That is not to mention the fact that search engine algorithms are constantly being updated, and what was true just weeks ago may now be outdated.

As 2016 is now well under way, there are a few things all SEO content writers and strategists should definitely be focusing on for this year’s SEO strategy.

1. Site Speed

Did you know that 40% of consumers will bounce off of a site that takes longer than 3 seconds to load? Site speed has been an official ranking signal for Google since 2010, and it shows.

seo tips
Image source: Reliablesoft

Most websites that enjoy top Google SERP rankings have a page load speed of less than 2 seconds.

If your concerned about your site’s loading speed, you can check your site and get helpful suggestions for improvement by using Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

2. In-Depth, Comprehensive Topical Content

Google’s Hummingbird Algorithm update entirely changed the way Google search engines look at content. Where it used to determine the topic of content by keywords alone, it can now understand the topic.

Now, when we type in a question such as, “Who played in Spiderman 3”, Google understands that we are looking for actors in the movie Spiderman 3 and provides us with an answer.

Need more convincing? Check out what the SEO experts at Moz have to say on the topic.

3. Long-Form Content

Gone are the days when 200-300 words of content constituted a good length. Now, the average Google first page result has approximately 1,890 words.

Numerous studies now show that pages with long-form content tend to rank significantly better than others.

There could be many reasons behind this: it generates more social media shares, it’s a preference of Google’s, it boosts topical relevancy or it just shows that site owners prefer to publish excellent content.

Image source: serpIQ
Image source: serpIQ

Whatever the reason, Google search results rank long-form content higher than short-form content.

Crowd Content writers are often utilized for their ability to write in-depth, search engine optimized, comprehensive articles that Google loves.

4. Bounce Rates

While you may not have thought about it before, other than to sigh over the amount of lost traffic, bounce rates may be having a major impact on your website ranking.

When your visitors are bouncing off of your website like kids on a pogo stick, Google seems to take this as a clear message that people do not like your content or it is not relevant for the keyword searched for.

While Google has denied that bounce rate is a determining factor in website rankings in the past, recent studies show a strong correlation.

seo tips from the pros
Image source: Quicksprout

5. Backlinks

While you may have heard that backlinks are no longer important, this is simply not true. The truth is that they are still VERY important, however, they are being measured a bit differently than they have been in the past.

In a recent study performed by Backlinko, they found that not only was there a strong correlation between backlinks and page rank, but also between unique referring domains.

In other words, it’s better to have backlinks from a wide variety of domains, instead of just a few.

Image source: Backlinko
Image source: Backlinko

“In fact, the number of unique referring domains was the strongest correlation in our entire study.”

– Brian Dean, Backlinko

In addition, the same study also found that a site’s link authority is strongly correlated to higher rankings. You can improve your site’s link authority using the Moz Open Site Explorer.

Regardless of your 2016 SEO strategy, these 5 things could ultimately be the difference between success and failure for your website.

The ultimate takeaway from the constantly updated algorithms of Google and other search engines is that quality is the ultimate driving factor.

Please use the comments section below to let me know if you have any other tips and tricks or general remarks on the topic.

Posted in SEO
Lola Decker

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Lola Decker first discovered her love of written language as a young child. Throughout the years her thirst for knowledge has led her to obtain an Associates degree in Early Childhood Development and Education, and her current pursuits of becoming a content marketing expert.

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