Your brand’s most valuable tool is its website. Your website is what people will read when they are researching your company and what you do. It is what they will turn to when they want to get in touch with you. It’s what will entice new traffic to buy and existing customers and clients to stick around. And, because of the way the Web works in the second decade of the new millennium, all of that is dependent upon Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
SEO is key to how people find your website now. Many new website developers and builders believe that SEO is just about keywords. The truth is that there is a lot more to SEO than simply using a few choice words or phrases a few times in your content and tags. Here are some of the best things you can do to ensure your website’s SEO is on the right track for your audience in 2016.
More and more companies are finding themselves the victims of hackers and data thieves. It is vitally important that you make sure you protect the people who visit your site and submit information through your site, etc. While your Web hosting provider will likely offer some security on their end, it is also vitally important that you protect your work with your own servers.
According to Firewall Technical, a company that provides IT support in Ottawa, “A server acts not only as a space for business documents, but it can also control how documents are retrieved. In addition, servers protect the entire network. For this reason, it is critical that your server is operating smoothly.” Make sure that your local and cloud servers are as secure as possible. The last thing you want is someone stealing customer information from your own databases!
Search engines will even put up scary messages warning users that if they follow a link to a web site that has been hacked (and the search engine catches the hack). That will drop your search visitors to almost zero and they will be scared to come back even if you fix your server. No amount of SEO mastery will help you rebuild after a data breach that endangers your customers’ private information!
According to a Moz report done last year, domain level linking is the most important component of SEO success. Domain level linking is a link that points to the whole site instead of a specific page or piece of content within that site.
A few years ago, this was easy enough to achieve. Businesses would hire content writers to churn out dozens of pieces of slap-dashed content and wallpaper the Internet with them (you remember E-zines, right?) to build up their inbound link percentage. Starting around 2013, however, Google and the other search engines got hip to this gaming of their system and started reworking their algorithms. It was a move similar to what they did when keyword stuffing started to dilute their search results.
Today the links that point to your site need to be relevant and from quality sites. Setting up link wheels is a punishable offense and publishing the same piece of content in multiple places is no longer allowed (in fact, it can get your site delisted entirely). This means that you need to be proactive about giving interviews and guest posting on relevant and high-ranking sites both within and outside of your niche.
A great way to help this along is to sign up for services such as Help a Reporter Out. You can sign up as a “source” and then respond to the queries that fall within your expertise. If the reporter asking for help/information chooses your response, you might score an interview or a quote–both of which come with links back to your site. You can also sign up for contributor accounts on sites like The Huffington Post.
We’ve talked a lot about how keywords aren’t as important as links and security. This doesn’t mean, however, that your keywords are irrelevant in the 2016 SEO game. Keywords and phrases are still important. They are still often the deciding factor in how your site is listed within a searcher’s results. The difference is that now the keywords you choose matter more than ever.
The keywords you choose must flow naturally within your content. This means that when doing your research, you want to focus on keywords that flow naturally instead of just words strung together haphazardly. You also need to be aware of how often you use them. While there is no definitive ideal percentage, you typically want to limit your keywords to one to two percent of the content.
Security, links and keywords are the most important parts of your SEO campaign. Make sure you get these right and the rest should fall into place!
Related: Keeping Up with SEO Changes