A New Outlook On SEO For 2016

As you know, SEO has “changed a lot” to say the least. We as marketers have seen multiple updates every year from Google, Bing, and Yahoo, including 2015’s Mobilegeddon update from Spring 2015. Digital marketers, SEO agencies, and everyone in the web business halted their link-building, page-directing, keyword-obsessing ways and switched them up for long overdue focus on quality, relevant content building.

So what has changed? What do we do now to boost our SEO?

Well, a lot has changed. We’re not going to dive into too much detail about that but to just name a few updates that caused an uproar in the SEO community – Google’s Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird updates. You can read more about it here.

From out last SEO Blog, SEO In A Nutshell, you can see that relevant content is still the best way to boost your SEO and to show up higher than your competitors. No you don’t need to pay for SEM (Search Engine Management), you just need to stay on top of your updates and keep your information relevant.

At Open Design, we strive to exceed all expectations and we only deliver high quality services to our clients. That’s why we want to help clear up some SEO Myths and make sure your company can excel in the ever-changing world of Search Engine Optimization.

Myth 1: SEO is something I can hand off to IT

Just because you need help with SEO and because it requires some technical expertise, doesn’t mean IT can just do the job right. While there are components that require some technical expertise, creating an SEO strategy for yourself through keywords and relevant content will help build a better connection to your audience because it will be from YOU.

Myth 2: I don’t need a mobile optimization strategy

Wrong. In Spring of 2015, Google came out with the algorithm update called Mobilegeddon which expanded Google’s use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking system. This update rewards sites that are mobile-friendly and penalizes those that aren’t fully optimized for responsive viewing. Here’s a statistic for you: websites that are not mobile optimized have an average of 5% decline in organic traffic. Keep your website(s) up-to-date and fully optimized, in all senses.

Myth 3: My images don’t require optimization

This is where your keywords will matter. When major search engine crawl your site for content, they don’t read images unless there’s alt text and a relevant file name. It helps to have your text refer to the image as well to create relevancy in your content. If you want to take it a step further, put a description and caption with every image.

Myth 4: Google will never know if I have bad sites linking to me

Yes, yes they will. Google knows (everything). Just like Santa Clause knows when you’ve been good or bad, or the Tooth Fairy knows when you lost your tooth. Don’t be foolish – especially after the major updates… otherwise you’ll be sent to your room.

Myth 5: Local SEO is a joke

This myth is horribly wrong. Look at the Pigeon algorithm from Google in July of 2014. This update treats local search rankings more like traditional search rankings, taking hundreds of ranking signals into account. It even evaluates distance when determining ranking, based on where you’re searching from.

Myth 6: The more pages I have the better

People who think this probably also think link building and creating more content will help their SEO, but it won’t. What’s important here is the quality of your content. Ever wondered why one-page websites are ranking so high? They have relevant, quality content. You have to understand not everything you publish gets indexed in these search engines (and rightfully so). Also, sometimes pages that get indexed don’t even stay in the index and just because you have pages that are indexed, it doesn’t mean they will drive qualified traffic to your site.

Myth 7: My Homepage needs a lot of content

Just like thinking your keywords need to be an exact match, your homepage doesn’t need a lot of content. Think of it as your company’s introduction to the world. Keep it simple, keep it relevant, and the Search Engine Gods will recognize this. Also for your keywords, be wary. Keyword stuffing, or the act of shoving as many keywords onto a page as possible, is highly frowned upon and is 100% against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Updates are continuously rolling out to recognize this. Like with the Panda update, every year bad content is flagged.

Myth 8: I have to submit my new website to Google

Just like Myth 3, Google knows. Even if you don’t want to submit your site to them, crawlers will eventually find your site.

Myth 9: SEO is all about ranking

What are you ranking for? To be at the top of the search? Studies of click through rates and user behavior have shown that searchers do favor the top search results (particularly the top 3), but it’s also been shown that on subsequent pages, being listed toward the top of the page showed similar trends. Also, because search results now being joined with rich text and snippets, results that appear below the top 3 results are getting even high click through rates. Just because you rank higher doesn’t mean you’ll have more click-throughs and people visiting your site.

Myth 10: Keyword optimization is THE key to SEO

Ever heard of the Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) from Google? It was introduced in February of 2004 and became more and more prominent within search through every update. What this indexing does is it takes the contents of a webpage and the most common words or phrases are combined and identified as keywords of that page. LSO even looks for synonyms that are related to your target keywords. Write your content for your audience the way you want to experience it, you don’t need to repeat the same word 50 times on your homepage just because that’s what you want to rank for, instead stay relevant and stop overusing keywords.

So what are you going to do to optimize your SEO? Are you going to add things in or remove them? Remember it’s all about your audience when it comes to optimizing your SEO, stay relevant and true to your message and Google will reward you. Remember that it’s all about the overall experience for the searcher, from search, to click, to navigating your website, and reading your content. Always KISS (Keep it simple, stupid).