The 2016 Top SEO Ranking Factors

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The Key SEO Phase to Incorporate

With the change in search engine algorithm looming before us and SEO rules changing to accommodate different phases, it is essential for web pages to comply and adhere to those phases in order to survive the cutthroat SEO industry and the many changes Google will throw upon us.

The key phase that should be incorporated in your SEO strategies is subdivided under the user experience. Taking into account the requirements and needs of a user, the web page must answer those needs and requirements. That means targeting the keywords utilized by search engine user and culling a family of keywords connected to the main keyword. This SEO strategy is new and phases out the old method of keyword building. The new algorithm promises an SEO campaign that puts user experience and interaction at the top of its priority. In order for the site to fully enjoy good traffic, it must have content that the users are really looking for, regardless of the specific keyword used during the search. Once Google indexes your site and puts it on the SERPs, you’ll be able to generate traffic that will eventually lead to conversions. This optimizes the buying and selling game online as users are more likely to find what they are looking for and sellers are more likely to reach their targeted market.

Anticipating the Real-Time Penguin Update

Penguin is Google’s algorithm introduced back in 2012 as a means to combat the aggressive link building tactics, also known as black hat SEO, which was very rampant during that time. The algorithm penalizes websites that employ aggressive link building methods. But while this was effective in filtering out bad websites from the good ones, there is a problem with how it works. Penguin takes a long time to bring back site statistics back once the website has already cleaned up its act. Websites that have been penalized need to wait for months for Google to recognize that they have already changed their ways, causing massive loss of traffic and revenues.

This is why marketers rejoiced when news of Penguin becoming real-time spread. Google promised a change in the Penguin algorithm come early 2016. With Penguin now becoming real-time, penalized websites will get back on track right away once they have cleaned up their act. There are no months of waiting time anymore as Penguin updates the rankings right away. The real-time features of Google’s algorithm benefits website owners who have been waiting for a long time to get back on the good side of search engines. However, this also means that getting penalized again is easier for the search engine giant. The change also leads way to faster tracking of websites that disregards the SEO rules they have previously imposed.

User Experience is King

With search engine algorithm changing at a rapid pace, it is not surprising to learn that the old methods of boosting traffic are no longer as effective as they once were. For instance, the keyword building many of us have relied on for so many years in order rank at the top list on search engines has lost its appeal in so many ways. Gone are the days when your articles should be adequately peppered with specific and targeted keywords in order to come up in searches. The changes in algorithm has created better search results where over-all content is more important than the abundance of keywords found in the article.

Search engines have tweaked their algorithm to push user experience to the top of the priority. Search engine algorithm now sees more favourably articles that are rich in content, original and in the author’s own perspective. While the “list” type of articles is still popular, users/readers are more likely to share articles that are rich in the author’s own musings. Articles containing the author’s own opinions and not copied or cited from another source spark more interest. Search engines also no longer singularly rank keyword-driven articles but analyze the content as a whole so articles that sound more natural, personal and engaging can now enjoy better traffic. This creates a better user experience – with the articles ranking high in searches bringing more insight to the users.

Changes in Keyword Building You Need to Know Right Now

Unless you are new to SEO, you probably know that keywords play a vital role in how your page shows up in searches. With search engines using keywords as a basis to pull up information and produce search results, including them in your content is paramount. But with the many changes Google’s algorithm has undergone over the years, one might be wondering if keywords are still relevant. The answer is yes. Keywords are not yet dead and it’s not going to die any time soon. However, Google’s algorithm has changed the way keywords are used in searches.

Gone are the days when “shoes” will only produce results containing the word “shoes”. With the new algorithm,”shoes” branches out to other synonymous terms like “kicks”, “loafers” or “heels”. Everything related to the primary keyword typed in the search box is culled to produce the best results. This gives website marketers a chance to target a family of keywords and incorporate them in the website for a better chance of ranking higher in SERPs. This change also removes the limitations to the way writers phrase their words when coming up with content. There is no longer a need to incorporate keywords where they will sound awkward with the intention of targeting searches. The intelligence that the search engines boast of is capable of understanding the meaning behind searches and queries and pulling up information relevant and related to the keyword.

Use the Double-Algorithm Theory to Your Advantage

There have been speculations that Google has deployed double algorithm. The second one, dubbed as “phantom algorithm” is believed to be an algorithm that focuses on user experience. Although Google is yet to comment whether the existence of a second algorithm is true, many independent experiments cement it. The second user-oriented algorithm supposedly works in improving the experience of the user when doing queries in search engines. Even without Google acknowledging its existence, experts still suggest forming a juxtaposition of user-oriented and Google-oriented SEO strategies to boost traffic.

When employing the double-algorithm theory in your marketing methods, remember that there are four factors you need to consider. First is the rate of clicks. It is a testament to how interesting your content is if the clickthrough rate is high. If it isn’t, a change in your content tactics might be needed, as low clickthrough generally means you are not piquing the attention of your readers. Second, determining the length of time a reader spends on your page is indicative of your content’s quality. This leads us to the third factor: coming up with rich and quality content. It isn’t enough that you’re citing quotes from professionals here and there. It is also important to put your own voice and add your own sentiments to the article to engage the reader. Last, the content’s social feasibility is a sure sign that it is going to do well on SERPs. Content that is being shared on social media tends to outrank pages that have numerous back links.

Go Mobile or Go Home

Perhaps one of the most important SEO changes levied upon internet marketers is mobile integration. That’s not surprising considering how our current populace has a hand-held device virtually strapped on them all the time for immediate and more convenient use. With users relying on these small gadgets for search rather than waiting to go home and use their desktop or laptop, search engines changed algorithms to make sure that websites and businesses all cater to the mobile needs of the users. That means making their websites mobile-friendly – switching to optimized for mobile pages and ensuring a responsive mobile experience.

Optimized and mobile-responsive pages have been around for quite some time now so you might be wondering how and why this is new. The new method of mobile responsiveness and optimization focuses more on simpler and cleaner mobile designs. For instance, an e-commerce website can boost sales significantly by enlarging photos and presenting only a few of the products rather than cramming everything in one page. This product-focused mobile design is more pleasing to users, especially when they can immediately see popular items, enter coupon codes with ease and spot promotional banners on the same page. A whopping 186% of sales increase can be experienced by businesses through mobile usage alone. And when businesses tap into search engine business features like Maps and Google +, a 72% increase in store visitors can be gained in one day. Mobile optimization benefits local businesses like restaurants, service providers, hotels and cafes to a stellar degree that it should be utilized to the fullest. Adding quality videos or images of products and teaming it up with comprehensive description all contribute to better user mobile experience.

The New and Improved Real Time Panda and Why It Is Important

The much-anticipated real-time Panda update that Google has been dangling upon us is set to arrive sometime this early 2016 according to the search engine giant. Many website owners have been waiting for this big algorithm update as it promises numerous benefits when it comes to generating traffic and increasing site statistics.

When Google introduced Panda a few years ago as a response to the black hat SEO practices that were rampant back then, many websites suffered great setbacks with the search engine giant penalizing them for aggressive back linking. Harmful links can easily take down a site. But even when the website has already cleaned up its act and removed all the harmful links, it would take some time before the website gets back on track, no thanks to Panda’s strict algorithm syntax. The algorithm takes time to update the websites that have already gone the straight route, which causes many website owners to abandon ship and start again. The new real time Panda update quickly resolves that problem. When a website gets penalized for harmful links and acts on it right away, it shouldn’t take time to get statistics right back. This also means it’s easier for Panda to point out websites with harmful or potentially harmful links.

Google’s Multimedia Game is Changing Soon

There is promise of better multimedia recognition in the near future of SEO. With search engines like Google harnessing their voice recognition programs, it shouldn’t be too long before we see an improvement in how voice searches are done. The intelligence behind voice recognition is only going to get better as search engines find a way to improve natural language processing. That means you can do voice searches using natural language instead of keyword-driven ones. Searching via your own voice will become as if you are talking to a real person.

It is also expected that pretty soon, we’ll be seeing an improvement in image and video searches. Although image and video searches are already playing a vital role in search engines, they’re just bound to get better as website owners are expecting sharper images and faster-loading videos to come into play. How exactly does this impact users? Obviously, it’s going to make user experience better and more convenient. With sharper images and fast-loading videos, satisfying users enough so they would want to click on the link is a win-win situation. It also benefits the site owners, who will eventually enjoy an increase in traffic. With these benefits being dangled in front of us, most of us are chomping at the bit, waiting for multimedia recognition improvement to happen.

Rich Answers – Boon or Bane?

Rich answers refer to the curated and compacted answers to a corresponding search that are usually found at the top of page one on SERPs. It’s the gist of its article source. Google searches its knowledge vault and looks for the most accurate and the best possible answer to the search keyword and puts it at the top where the user can easily read it. A study conducted by Stone Temple Consulting found that there’s been a 38% increase of rich answers in the first half of 2015 alone.

This is good news to websites containing lengthy content with long tail keywords properly incorporated in the page. Long tail keywords play an important role in the indexing of search engines. If you want your website to become a part of Google’s rich answers feature, you should look for relevant long tail keywords, preferably those in question format, and then provide the answers in the content. You can still get the clicks you are after if you provide additional information. Users will want to click on the link and get more information if you dangle something informative that they’ll want to know more of. On the other hand, rich answers might affect websites that provide non-proprietary information such as websites related to currency conversion or weather reports, as the rich answers already provides them with the information they are looking for.

User Intention is Critical in Future SEO Strategies

If there’s one thing you can say about Google’s current algorithm, it’s that it caters to users more. Google has developed an algorithm that can determine user intention or the needs and requirements behind the keyword being used on the search. This means that using a specific keyword alone is not enough to satisfy the user and Google’s algorithm. There has to be a group of keywords incorporated healthily in the website in order to meet user expectations and needs and Google’s algorithm rules.

With the current algorithm running the search engines, there is a more notable increase in user interaction. The search engines are checking out your website’s post-click activities and using those to rank your pages. That goes without saying that if a page is being visited but users are not staying long enough in the page, they are generally unsatisfied with what they are reading. To meet user intention and engage user interaction, there has to be a change in content development. Content no longer has to be keyword-focused alone. Keywords, particularly the long-tail ones or the ones that answer queries, should be incorporated naturally in the article. Content can be veered in a direction where it does not exactly use the keywords but has content related to what the user is looking for. It’s always a good idea to put yourself in the shoes of the users to know how exactly you are going to integrate user intention in your marketing strategies.

Don’t Lag Behind, Page Loading Speed is Crucial

In a world of fast food and bullet trains, speed is a determining and contributing factor to almost everything. That includes website optimization. If your website still is loading at a snail’s pace, you’re losing these three important things: 1. Rank, 2. Crawl Budget and 3. Visitors.

First, you are bound to lose out to your competitors if your site loads slowly because speed is a typical ranking factor. It is known that the page that loads faster enjoys higher rank than similar pages that load slower. How does this happen? It’s ultimately because of number 2. Crawl Budget. Search engine giants like Google gives every website a crawl budget. This is the time the search engine will spend crawling the different pages of your website. Once that time is used up, the search engine bots will leave. This is a great disadvantage to your site and can affect your rank significantly because when the bot leaves, there would be no time to crawl the important pages that should be ranking high in searches. Last, users will not want to stick around pages that take forever to load. There’s an abundance of web searches so if they get bored waiting for your page to load, they’ll just hop to the next available page. Several studies show that a significant 40% of site visitors leave when the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load. In fact, even a second of loading delay can make you lose site visitors (and conversion rate!) by as much as 7%! So is website loading speed really important in boosting rank? The answer is a resounding yes!

Will Voice Search Outperform Traditional Search Methods?

SEO trends promise a more increased usage of voice search. While voice search programs like Siri for Apple or Google Now have been around for quite some time, their full potential hasn’t been explored both by users and website owners. But that’s going to change soon as voice search tweaks are employed. Quick and basic Who, What, Where, Why and How questions are now easily catered to by voice searches without even touching your phone or tapping in keywords. This aims to cut down search time, which improves user experience.

While Google hasn’t yet confirmed how superior voice searches really are over the traditional type or tap searches, it is clear that it’s going to have a major part in future SEO practices. It is particularly beneficial for local businesses, whose searchability and marketability on the internet mostly relies on the Who, What, Where, Why and How queries. In order for local businesses to benefit from voice searches, a thorough upgrade on website applications is heavily suggested. Since Google has included app indexing, having a corresponding application for your website now helps immensely. Local businesses must include complete details of the products and services being offered and have the business’ location listed to provide answers for quick voice queries. Additionally, long tail keywords have been proven effective when it comes to targeting voice searches. Incorporating long tail keywords in content can help drive your pages to the top of voice searches.

How Keyword Usage Has Changed Over the Years

Google search has just become more intelligent. In the past, searches are very keyword-specific. The SERPs will only show results that correspond to the keyword you typed. So if you are searching for “treatment for psoriasis”, the SERPs will only show you the pages containing that exact same keyword. But with the artificial intelligence and the complex new Google algorithm, search results have become more discerning. Now, if you’re searching for “treatment for psoriasis”, the SERPs will show you everything related to the treatment and cure of psoriasis, regardless of the search word used. Keywords have definitely morphed into collections, which will come as good news to writers as this will make writing sound more natural and not keyword-targeted.

It also does not just end with keywords. Google’s artificial intelligence and algorithm understands queries and fishes out related information that can answer those queries even without the exact same keyword in the article. With this new and improved Google search, it is now better to look for a collection of keywords rather than just one or two to include in your content. Create pages with content that also relates to the targeted keywords so your website has a broader and more search-engine friendly range. Gone are the days when you need to stuff your content with keywords, even those that sound awkward or the commonly misspelled keywords just to get up there on page one of the search ranks. All you need is to target a collection of keywords and provide rich content in order to get the site statistics you are after.

How Page Tagging Antes Up Your SEO Game

In the previous year, there have been several changes that altered the SEO game as we know it. One of them was mobile usage. Reports say 2015 was the year of the mobile device when it comes to online search usage. That meant more people used their phones to search for information rather than their laptops or their desktops. This has prompted search engine giants to require websites to have a mobile version. Not complying with this could mean being penalized.

There are a lot of advantages to having a mobile-optimized website and one of them is generating more traffic. More traffic leads to better conversions so it’s definitely something you would not pass up. Besides, you don’t want your website to be penalized by Google, especially not when the Panda update isn’t here yet. For those dreading the task of optimizing their websites for mobile, one of the things that can make it easier for you is page tagging. Using a uniform structure in page tags will make sure your website will load correctly on different devices. Unlike before where page tags are usually avoided, this can be a great feature especially when the content presented is of the lengthy kind. Page tags aid in the structuring of particularly long pages.

Why You Should Change Your Content-Making Strategies Right Now

It looks like Google is anteing up how it analyzes content. Many websites have suffered a grave setback in the past year due to what seems like a secret algorithm update from the search engine giant, penalizing those websites with thin and redundant content. That said, those how-to articles may no longer be generating as much traffic as it once did due to the algorithm update.

The anticipated change in the Google Panda algorithm also puts many websites in peril as it focuses more on articles that are more likely to give users a better reading experience rather than the same old content taken from various other sources and pieced together to come up with a comparatively original content. Content containing long tail keywords are also expected to pick up traffic come the new Google update. With the SERPs focusing more on rich answers, search engines are now focusing on long articles containing rich information to extract the answers they will provide for the query long tail keywords. In addition to brushing up your website’s content, cleaning it up is also essential. Getting rid of pages that lead to 404 errors can significantly put you on the good side of Google algorithms. Errors, difficulty in loading pages and advertisement fluff tend to get your website penalized.

The Changes You Should Expect in Search Engine Results Page (SERPs)

We have seen massive improvements in the Search Engine Results Page over the past few years and that isn’t going to slow down in the next couple of months. In fact, there’s promise of making SERPS more interactive and more knowledgeable, thereby making users more capable of finding answers only on page one even without clicking links and being directed to a website. The snippets of answers users can get from page one are culled from the websites Google has in its knowledge vault. Think of page one as a carefully curated version of all the websites you can see on the first page so if you’re looking for quick and easy answers, this interactive and knowledgeable feature definitely works for you.

This change in page one interface makes Google such a key player in making our lives more convenient. With the stellar changes the search engine giant is making on its algorithm and the artificial intelligence they have been integrating, we’re going to see better and more accurate results on the search engine pages even without clicking on the links. Paid searches can also benefit largely from this new feature as their links will shine on page one. Businesses who have partnered with Google can take advantage of this feature by tweaking products and services details to make it easier for Google to pull the information up during searches and present that information in a succinct manner on the search page.

Dark Traffic and Its Critical Effects

The term “dark traffic” pertains to the “unknown” traffic your website is generating. If you use Google Analytics to keep track of the origins of your website visitors, you should be able to tell where they are coming from. Knowing the source of your visitors and which pages they are visiting helps website owners to come up with effective SEO and internet marketing strategies to further increase the number of people visiting the site. However, because of dark traffic, it might be difficult for website owners to pinpoint the exact source of the traffic, which might affect the way you market your products or services online.

It’s safe to say that a large percentage of dark traffic comes from social media platforms and messaging applications. The links disseminated in these platforms and are clicked by users might not be easily detected by your Google Analytics. This might make it difficult for website owners to determine whether or not their social media and messaging application marketing strategies are really working. What website owners can do is to determine the pages generating the most direct traffic. Focus on this site statistics and filter out the unknown traffic to determine the best internet marketing strategies that can get you more direct traffic.

Google Introduces More On Its SERPs

To keep their status as a search engine giant, Google has been making changes to their SERP interface. You might have noticed more elements being added to page one and that includes local business details, rich answer snippets and paid advertisements, to name a few. This attempt of Google to improve user experience is both a good and bad thing for website owners. It is good news to websites whose content are informative, lengthy and rich as Google favours those websites to get rich snippets to include in their SERPs. But as a whole, websites might experience a bit of traffic loss as the various SERPs information offerings tend to veer organic traffic away from your links and into other things such as paid advertisements.

How do you deal with this new change? First, if you can’t beat them, join them. For instance, rich snippets are gaining quite a momentum in searches and garnering favourable response from users. Jump into the bandwagon and create rich content where Google can extract the snippets from. Using long tail keywords focusing on answering user queries can help your pages get indexed. Second, local businesses can take advantage of this new and improved SERP by using Maps. Products and services should also include detailed description as a quick way of introducing them to potential visitors on Google search results.

The Slow But Steady Rise of Interactive Content

In the past years, quality content is the be-all, end-all of SEO. Content is enjoying and still enjoys a lofty place when it comes to SEO rules. And by the looks of it, it’s not going to take a back seat any time soon. However, another form of content is rising – the interactive content. This type of content engages readers and encourages them to participate. It’s usually in the form of quizzes and puzzles that lure readers into spending more time in a content page.

This year, interactive content is expected to become more established. Thanks to the widespread use of mobile and applications, it is now easier for content producers to engage readers through interactive articles. One way to boost traffic, especially if you are a novice site competing with bigger and more established websites is through the incorporation of interactive content. This is a marketing strategy that can help your website rise above the already saturated content industry. With many internet marketers planning to increase their content production in the next months, interactive content could be the solution websites are looking for to break the humdrum. While it is not the quality content that might put you in the good graces of Google’s algorithm, interactive content does well on social media platforms. Quizzes are more likely to be shared on social media pages like Facebook and allow websites to enjoy higher rate of click through.

Avoiding Link Penalties and Cleaning Up Your Website

Links are essential to a website’s health as search engines use it to rank your site in searches. But as much as links are helpful in boosting ranking, they can also be a bane to your site’s existence. Harmful links can get you penalized by Google and can cause traffic to dwindle. Every website owner must take a painstaking effort in monitoring links to ensure that they do no harm to the website.

Aggressive link clean-up is important in order to restore traffic once your site has been penalized. This has been made easier and more convenient by special tools like SEO Spyglass, a link auditing tool that allows users to manage, create, disavow harmful links, export them and report them to Google. With tools like this, it’s much easier to monitor not just the harmful links but the potentially bad ones so you can foresee and prevent any future penalties from Google. These tools also allow website owners to get rid of low quality links that pull statistics down. Link clean-up is a huge undertaking, for sure, but it is doable. Don’t despair if your website has been penalized by Google because of harmful links. If you do a thorough clean-up, you should be able to get your website back without resorting to changing to a new domain and starting again from scratch.

Google Leads the SEO Game

The key player in the SEO game will always be Google. The search engine giant can and will wield its power when it deems that change is necessary. Even if you have just complied with all the SEO rules set in the past, don’t sit back and relax because things can change drastically as Google introduces more features in their ever-changing algorithm. Even if you have an established website that is generating a lot of traffic and has garnered a good reputation from your readers, if Google thinks it has too much content leaning more towards pleasing advertisers rather than the readers, your traffic could tank without notice. Always be at the edge of your seat and keep an eye on algorithm updates.

If there’s one thing you can do right now that can put you in the good graces of Google, it’s ensuring that your website has all the things that cater to good user experience. Nearly all the changes Google is making in their algorithm, whether the interface of their SERPS or the content they are pulling up, it’s mostly to answer the needs of their users. While most of these algorithm features are still experimental and some still on the verge of being implemented, it’s better to start employing these user-oriented strategies on your site in order to avoid being penalized.

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