If you are involved with marketing your business, or marketing is part of your job description, there's a very great chance you'll be considering investing in SEO services. As with many digital marketing categories, SEO rules and tactics are continually changing, and keeping up with the latest tools and trends is a lot easier said than done.
Today we want to talk about what the experts are considering to be contributing factors to effective SEO services in 2016. To do this, we've scoured the web to gain insight from some of the leaders and influencers in SEO. Here’s what we found:
1. Invest in a healthy, fast, mobile-friendly website.
Google incorporates page speed into its ranking algorithms. We all know users have no patience for slow loading websites, and "slow" today is only a few seconds! Don’t lose visitors on a technical issue that can be addressed by a developer or adept marketing team. According to this article by Mobiforge, https requests, image sizes, paper weight and perceived page performance can all impact web performance. PMG’s web developer recommends running a speed and health test to identify technical areas for improvement that can be implemented by your webmaster, or a skilled third party.
Mobile usage has been dominating desktop since 2014, so if you haven’t already optimized your site for mobile, what are you waiting for? “Additionally, Google rewards mobile-optimized sites with a mobile-friendly label, increasing the chances that mobile visitors will click on a search result,” says Ruadhán O'Donoghue of Mobiforge. To help you assess your website, Google conveniently offers a mobile-friendly test here. Moreover, this article by O’Donoghue elaborates on the details of this test and what they mean for your marketing strategy.
2. Capture your message on video.
If you haven’t started experimenting with video, the time is now! Video continues to consume so much of the time users spend online. Cisco predicts global video traffic will be 82% of all consumer Internet traffic by 2020, up from 70% in 2015. And according to Josh Ritchie’s video article on Business 2 Community, 40% of consumers would rather watch video instead of reading the same information.
What's more, videos are a great way for consumers to get to know your brand. PMG recently created a series of videos for our client Greater Boston Urology from content originating at a symposium. The videos add value to the user by providing specific medical information, and in addition, they allow the user/potential patient to get to know the doctor and practice from a distance. Win-win for all!
3. Create unique images.
Most marketers are realizing that standard stock images are no longer cutting it in 2016. In fact, the AMA listed unique images as one of their primary SEO rules for 2016. Luckily, there are easy tools out there to create such unique images. One of our favorites is Canva—in part, because most of the tool is completely free. My colleague recently wrote and filmed a tutorial on how to use Canva beyond social media images. Check it out for ideas!
We want to use unique images not only because they tend to be more interesting and attention grabbing, and therefore more likely to be clicked, but they can also be easily tagged and then indexed on the search engines. In image search, your image is attached to the website page on which the image lives, adding to the likelihood of your blog or web page being visited. Yeah, more traffic!
In order for this to happen, you need to rename the file of your image with a unique name, one that matches what you are writing about. I named my image for this blog post "Effective SEO Services in 2016."
4. Clean up broken links.
Broken links that are no longer valid can be such a drag, quite literally, on your website. Think about how you react to landing on a web page with a broken link. It's a little annoying, right? You can easily lose a visitor by sending them to a broken page. Don’t stand for it. Take control! According to a webinar on link building strategies from Vertical Measure, fixing these links are definitely worth your time. By using a tool like this Online Broken Link Checker, you can speedily identify and fix your link problems.
5. Focus on user experience.
If the user is happy, the search engines are happy. That’s the bottom line. So please them every step of the way. Make your web pages shine. Be useful, be sincere, be thoughtful, be amazing! Google and other search engines are becoming "smarter" every day, and they're able to interpret how strong your site's UX is based on the ways the user is engaging with your content. When building new pages, ask yourself: what do I really want to do with this page? Or what do I really want the user to do on this page? What should they gain from the content? And if you have the opportunity, have several sets of fresh eyes examine the page and use it themselves to see if you've accomplished your UX goals.
Need more help with search engine optimization? Feel free to comment on this post or contact us for help! You can also check out this post for more helpful advice: What Every Marketer Needs to Know About Off-Page SEO.