St. Louis SEO, St. Louis Website Design

SEO Essential Factors

**Update it’s not 2016 anymore. So are the 2017 SEO essential factors much different from 2016? We will answer that in a future blog post.

It’s 2016! The good news is that a lot of the things you are already doing will continue to work for you in 2016. As we all know, you need good backlinks, great on-page optimization, and good content, which have been the most important things in the past years to rank higher in search rankings. Once you get all of this done correctly and start to get a steady stream of traffic to your site, it’s very important to continue these things as SEO is an ongoing process. And once you quit, you will see your results start to drop and your site will be taken over by someone else. DO you know these key SEO Essential Factors?

The most important parts of SEO as a general rule are great content and good links, we can’t say it enough times, you need GOOD links. Of course, creating great content and good links sounds a lot easier than it is. Don’t forget that Google ranking uses at least 200 ranking factors and some of them carry more weight than the others. Google is always adding factors to this list, usually without telling anyone. When Google does put out a blog post or a press release talking about the new ranking factors, it’s usually vague and has to be deciphered by the experts. Remember nobody outside of Google actually knows what all the 200 ranking factors are.

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SEO Basics

SEO Done Right

Image courtesy of Fantasita at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The good news is that the SEO basics from years past still have not changed. We still need to do keyword research based on your site and industry. Keyword research goes hand in hand with competitive analysis, which is basically spying on your competition to see what they are doing–keyword wise and linking wise. On-page SEO is still as important as it has ever been. Making sure you have a sitemap and you are connected to all of the tracking software (Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools and any other software you might buy privately such as MOZ) is essential. Not only do you need to be connected to these tools, but you need to follow their “insights” or recommendations, like when you have a problem on webmaster tools that needs immediate attention. As stated above, writing good content that is at least 300 words, but some say Google would rather have over 1,000 words so you can show Google that you are an expert in your field. This means that your 1,000 words actually need to mean something and can’t just be you filling up space with words. These are the some of the SEO basics that absolutely need to be done if you even want a chance to rank in Google or any of the other search engines.

2016 SEO Essential Factors

Backlinks

Generating relevant and powerful quality backlinks to your website is also essential, but not always as easy to do. If you have a good content marketing strategy in place, it will help you get natural backlinks. Natural backlinks are always better to get, as Google loves natural. But, don’t forget it’s also important that you are constantly seeking new ways to get people to link to you, or even finding ways that you can build links that link to yourself. There are ways to do this, but again they are not always easy. A couple of things you can do are industry interviews, recommend your content to industry influencers through Twitter, email or even phone calls. (You will usually be ignored for phone calls.) If you are lucky enough to be able to write or get a write-up for a major publication, that is a great way to get a powerful backlink. One last way to get powerful backlinks is through public relations (PR). PR is a very broad term, but even releasing press releases about your company can help you gain new backlinks.

In addition to these options, you can always do other unorthodox methods, such as donate to a charity or sponsor a scholarship at a local college to get a great “.edu” backlink.

Use Content Marketing as a Strategy

Using your top keywords, develop a content strategy. This means when you create any content (videos, blog posts, white papers, and infographics), you are giving users something to link to. On top of that, the content itself is likely to rank in the search engines. For example, if you develop an infographic accompanied by a blog post titled, “2016 SEO Essential Factors,” you have the possibility of ranking for the keywords in your title and in the body of the post. Your infographic also has an even better shot of ranking in Google images if it uses a good Alt Tag and is shareable. This will be even easier if your content is shared a lot on social media and if you have high-quality backlinks, such as the ones discussed above.

Having all of these things will result in a higher domain authority or a higher link page score. And having a higher domain authority means that Google trusts your website. This ends up leading to better rankings, and the more content you post shows Google that your website is active and they will take notice. Sending Google fresh content signals is a great way to get better rankings for your entire website, and not just the new content pieces.

Create an Influencer

This is important because an influencer is someone who people listen to online and offline. If you are able to create an influencer who constantly puts out good content, you will have more people linking to your website, more people sharing your blog posts and your content will be trusted. Trust is believed to be one of the search factors that Google relies on heavily. You can even have several influencers that are fluent in their subject matter and these people can be in charge of all content creation.

Make Sure Your Site Has Schema Markup

Schema markup is a code that can be found on Schema.org and is considered semantic vocabulary. This is a code that you put on your website in order to help the search engines return more informative results to the users. Using this you can tell Google which picture on your site is a logo, where your videos are, the type of organization you are, where your reviews are located and the exact location you are located, plus much more. If a page is talking about a book, the schema code can tell Google that the particular page or paragraph on your page is talking about the book and not a TV show, movie or something else unrelated. Google is starting to rely more and more on schema markup as it’s an easy way for them to crawl your site and properly index it.

Local SEO is Becoming Even More Important

The idea that local SEO is going away can be forgotten as the trend is only going to get stronger over the years. With SEO it’s your responsibility to inform Google where you are located and what it is that your company offers. This is so your chances of showing up on the correct pages in front of a relevant audience, increase. Your local pages that are used in Google maps, especially on mobile searches will include your business name, address, phone number and more.

Google released the “Pigeon” update last year and local SEO has only risen in prominence, which is forcing businesses to focus SEO efforts on a local level. You need to ensure that you have location-specific keywords and always personalize your content based on the location of your target audience. This will help you stay ahead of the local SEO trends in the future.

In the end, 2016 has many important SEO factors, but these are some of the most important items that you will need to focus on this year. Remember to be sure you are adding fresh, relevant and high-quality content as often as possible so you can generate natural backlinks. Also, don’t forget that you need to do the basic SEO items discussed in the beginning of this article and not just the items with headers. Hopefully, these SEO tips can help you with local search and with the search engines

This article was brought to you by James, our in-house SEO, and Digital Strategists. If you have any SEO questions or want to get started with an SEO plan for your business, you can reach James at 314-849-6969 ext. 108 or jmcminn@matchboxdesigngroup.com.