2016 SEO Trends and Tips

It is hard to believe that 2016 is just around the corner. As we embark on a new year many business owners will be looking to get a leg up on their competition in terms of Internet marketing and SEO. I have already received several emails from lawyers and mortgage brokers looking for advice on ranking higher on the front page of Google search. The front page of Google search is very valuable real estate so any business that can increase their rankings will benefit by getting more clients, patients and/or business. Let’s look into what will likely happen in 2016 in the SEO world.

One of the top trends we will see in 2016 is Google continuing to “hit” or “penalize” websites that do not create their own content. Unfortunately, there are a number of similar articles floating around the web for each specific industry. These articles simply have a city or date changed in the title with the rest of the article being identically the same. You can quickly find these articles by Googling one of the sentences in the article in quotes. Google will tell you how many pages have been published online with this exact content. If that number is more than one the content is not unique.

This leads me to SEO tip #1 – Unique Content is Necessary. It is my professional opinion that part of the Google algorithm includes uniqueness of content and how many pages on a respective website rank #1 in Google search. If you own a website with 20 different pages and not a single page ranks on the first five pages of Google search why would Google deem your website as a powerful resource on the Internet? Even if a search phrase is only searched a dozen times a month, it is still wise to dominate that search phrase at #1 rather than ranking #20 for a phrase that is searched 10,000 times.

Time and again I see that ranking #1 is extremely important. We have all read the studies that 50%, or more, of searchers are clicking the first link. In a recent study I found that number to be closer to 80%. If four out of five people are clicking the first search result it stands to reason that business owners should desire to rank #1 for as many keyword phrases as possible. This SEO strategy has worked tremendously for my website and the website of several of my legal, medical and financial clients.

Another trend we will likely see in 2016 is the importance of a clean link portfolio with variety. No longer is it the case that websites should have hundreds of links for one keyword phrase. This simply does not make sense. How would over 50% of the websites linking to you know to link to you for the phrase “Atlanta real estate agent”. Instead, they would likely link to your name, your company name, variations of your services, click here and full sentences.

SEO Tip #2 is have a wide variety of anchor text links to your website. Comments on other blog posts or websites should be for your name, not the keyword phrase you want to rank for. The phrase “click here” should be part of your link portfolio. Some links will be entire sentences. This is natural. Google algorithms recognize what is natural and what is over optimization. If you continue to over optimize for Houston car accident lawyer you are going to find your search traffic declines. You may find that your search traffic disappears if you get hit the Google Penguin algorithm.

The trend that could catch some people by surprise is the Google crawlability trend. Over the last three years a number of potential clients have contacted me to assist them with their search rankings. These clients have had anything from a 1999 Microsoft Frontpage website to a 2011 Justia legal website. I sometimes find these websites are not easily crawled by the Google spiders. Some will not have new pages or posts crawled, indexed and ranked in Google search for months. Imagine the number of clients you are missing out on if your articles are not showing up in Google search for 60 to 90 days.

I have also found that the longer it takes Google to crawl the website the more unlikely it is that those particular articles or resources will rank on the front page of Google search. With this in mind SEO Tip #3 is use a WordPress theme that Google can easily crawl.

I think we have established that WordPress is, by far and away, the platform in which to build a website. Now we must make certain the theme is easily crawled by Google. You can quickly determine this by publishing a new page or post on your website and searching Google with site:[yourdomain.com] to see how quickly Google is crawling your site. If you check back in a week and your blog posts are still not getting crawled something needs to be changed.